Cooler than Cool- Visiting the Hotel de Glace, Ice Hotel in Quebec

Quebec’s Hotel de Glace, or Ice Hotel, is located just 10 minutes from Quebec City and is the only hotel in North America to be made of ice and snow. Over the past 16 years, the Ice Hotel has welcomed over one million visitors with nearly 50,000 braving a frosty overnight stay. Each year the hotel is newly constructed with over 500 tons of ice and 30,000 tons of man-made snow. Once temperatures are cold enough (usually when the thermometer dips below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for a week straight) it takes crews  about 6 weeks of working 24/7 to fully construct the hotel from the ground up. Most years the hotel is open from early January through the end of March, but exact dates vary year to year based on the weather.

Visiting the Hotel de Glace, Ice Hotel in Quebec is a must for any winter trip to Quebec. www.casualtravelist.com

 

Not only is the Ice Hotel completely rebuilt anew every year, the hotel is completely redesigned with a different layout and theme with no two designs alike. The theme for 2016? Rivers, in every iteration. From frozen glacial streams to mysterious underground rivers, the 44 rooms and suites of this year’s Ice Hotel takes visitors on a frozen exploration of the world’s waters.

Visiting the Hotel de Glace, Ice Hotel in Quebec www.casualtravelist.comVisiting the Hotel de Glace, Ice Hotel in Quebec www.casualtravelist.comVisiting the Hotel de Glace, Ice Hotel in Quebec www.casualtravelist.com

The common spaces are filled with frosty whimsy that enchants the young and young at heart. My visit started with with a spin down the hotel’s ice slide. Listening to the giggles of glee from those that zoomed down the slide before me, I was surprised to find myself inching slowly down the slide. Glacially slow. Turns out jeans(even with base layer underneath) are not the best apparel for the ice slide, make sure you’ve got some good snow pants on if you want some speed with your slide.There is also a gorgeous ice chapel on site for couples looking to tie the knot in polar style.

Visiting the Hotel de Glace, Ice Hotel in Quebec www.casualtravelist.com

A highlight of any visit to the Hotel de Glace is a visit to the Ice Bar, where drinks are served are served in glasses made from (what else?) ice. I recommend getting a cocktail with Neige Ice Cider, a Quebecois specialty liqueur, though the Accident de Ski-doo (featuring spruce beer and topped with a spruce sprig) is a fun choice as well.

Drinks from the Ice Bar at the Hotel de Glace, Ice Hotel in Quebec www.casualtravelist.comDrinks from the Ice Bar at the Hotel de Glace, Ice Hotel in Quebec www.casualtravelist.com

Each room is individually designed, with some larger suites even coming with their own fireplace (for ambiance only, as a too warm room could be disastrous). While the bed platforms are constructed of ice, they are topped with a wooden platform, comfortable mattress with a cozy sleeping bag delivered to the room just before bedtime.My time in Quebec was short so I didn’t get a chance to spend the night here, but I would totally give it a shot on my next winter time visit to Quebec.

One of the rooms at the Hotel de Glace, Ice Hotel in Quebec www.casualtravelist.comOne of the rooms at the Hotel de Glace, Ice Hotel in Quebec www.casualtravelist.com

So how does one actually sleep in an ice hotel, you may ask?

-First, overnight guests are only permitted in their rooms from 9pm to 9am. Prior to that guests are taken through an informational training session for their frosty overnight stay and can take part in activities or warm up in a sauna or hot tub.

-Guests are advised to dress in layers; starting with a moisture wicking base layer, a warm middle layer such as flannel or fleece and topped a good winter coat/snow pants with hats, gloves and scarves as inside temperatures will constantly be around 25 degrees Fahrenheit.

-There are no en suite bathrooms. Plumbing and subarctic temperatures usually don’t do well together, so for logistic purposes bathrooms are located in a separate heated building on site.

-When its time for bed you wiggle your way into a warm liner and mummy-style sleeping bag (everything is covered but your face) with an additional blanket on top (boots are left at the side of your bed for any middle of the night bathroom trips). Turn off the lights and settle in the complete darkness and stillness for what many guests say is the best sleep they’ve ever had.

Visiting the Hotel de Glace, Ice Hotel in Quebec. www.casualtravelist.com

 

 

Good to know

The Hotel de Glace is open daily for tours. You can choose from a wide range of tours from self guided to a behind-the-scenes guided tour. Prices start at $16 CAD for adults, $14  for teens(13-17) and $8 for children(6-12). Children 5 and under are free.

Overnight packages start at $399.50 CAD per person and include a room at Four Points Sheraton Quebec to store your luggage and to shower.

Enjoying a drink from the Ice Bar at the Hotel de Glace, Ice Hotel in Quebec www.casualtravelist.com

 

Would you spend a night in an Ice Hotel? Let me know in the comments!

 

My visit to the Hotel de Glace was graciously provided by Quebec City Tourism, but as always all opinions remain my own.

 

55 Comments on “Cooler than Cool- Visiting the Hotel de Glace, Ice Hotel in Quebec

  1. Wow! Amazing and really very nice hotel!
    It is the perfect gateway to fell the cold….. Great and want to travel here in my next trip list….

    • Steve now demands that all of his cocktails be served in glasses made from ice.

  2. These hotels are incredible and the ice sculptures are mind blowing. There’s one in Sweden I’ve visited – very expensive mind.

  3. This is amazing. I’d love to go for a tour. The price tag’s too rich for my blood for overnight but how awesome would it be to sit and have those ice cocktails!

  4. I’ve always wanted to stay in the Ice Hotel. It’s out of my price range, so I’m glad to see it’s open for tours at a reasonable price.

  5. Very interesting – I’d be willing to spend at least one night just to experience it. It certainly looks really beautiful and different. Just not a fan of the cold 😉

  6. I’ve always been curious about ice hotels. I looked into one in Norway, but I think the tour is more my speed. I’ve been to ice bars before and those are fun but VERY chilly. I can’t imagine spending an entire night!

  7. I can’t think of anything cooler (see what I did there?) than spending a night in an Ice Hotel. It is certainly something I hope to do one day.
    I had no idea how much preparation there is before you get to your room to sleep.

  8. What a great atmosphere but my ass already starts freezing off by looking at the pictures 😉
    Would definitely love to stay over in an ice hotel when I ever have the chance. Bucket list worthy.

  9. Sounds wonderful. I wasn’t sure how one could sleep in those chilly conditions but it sounds like all’s well thought out. Beautiful pictures too.

  10. My sister was trying to convince me to go here this winter! I read some reviews that said it was too cold to get a good night’s sleep though, but I’d still definitely be willing to try it. Looks amazing! Can’t even believe the detail they put into a place that only lasts a few months. I’m obsessed with this idea!!

  11. How amazing is this place?! I am not sure I would sleep here (I always need to pee during the night hahaha), but would love to do the tour. Looks absolutely stunning.

  12. Pingback: The Travel Tester Favourite Blogs February 2016

Leave a Reply to Cindy Collins Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge