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Celebrating its 17th season this year, Hotel de Glace in Quebec City will be newly located at Valcartier Vacation Village. This year’s theme offers Northern Perspectives, a celebration of polar life from the pole star to the Arctic wildlife and features a fun (and unique!) stay in both rooms and suites. Think you can beat the cold and spend an entire night at Hotel de Glace in 20 degree temps? Read on for Traveling Mom founder Kim Orlando’s tips for braving this icy respite.
Hotel de Glace – Quebec’s Ice Hotel : Not cold enough?
Tour or sleep in a hotel made of ice, fashioned after the original Ice Hotel in Sweden. The building is made of 15,000 tons of snow and ice, offers 44 rooms & suites – most of which have themed sculpted walls. I slept in the treehouse room (the ice walls were sculpted into knotty branches and leaves) but my favorite was the beehive room with honeycomb walls and a huge bee overhead.
There is a bar with maple whiskey and hopping music, ice blocks if you are in the mood for DIY carving, a wedding chapel if you are in the mood for nuptials and a bathroom – but it’s in the warm house. It’s hard not to want to spend a lot of time in the bathroom!
I first heard about the Ice Hotel from Adventure TravelingMom, Fran Capo. I thought she was crazy to want to sleep in a room that was 20 degrees on a warm night. There is a process to sleeping at the Hotel de Glace. You have to take the orientation class where you learn the importance of choosing the right clothing to sleep in, being dry and how to operate your sleeping bag. Supposedly, if you do it right, you will wind up being too warm (some people sleep naked because they are so hot).
I wish I had tried the sleeping bag while in the class but I thought I could handle pulling the cords once I was in the bag. I wound up not closing my bag tightly enough so a lot of my body heat escaped throughout the night. I did not freeze but I was not toasty warm either.
Once you complete Sleeping Bag 101, you are given a towel and robe for your Jacuzzi dip and sauna. The night we stayed it was too cold for the Jacuzzi to stay at a constant 104 – it was more like 94 degrees – which was not cold but definitely not hot.
Visiting the sauna is important because it dries your skin. You need to be completely dry before getting in the sleeping bag.
But there is no warm route from the hot tub to the sauna. You gotta run.
I thought I’d be smart and use Uggs instead of flip flops – surfers use them after being in the water so I thought I would impress someone.
Bad move. The interior fur got wet and FROZE!
HELLO! Had to bring them into the sauna to thaw.
You can bail any time you want – just ask Linda. There is a 24 hour shuttle that will take you back to your room at the nearby Sheraton Four Points for a toasty good night’s rest. I stuck it out and slept about 4 hours total but it was worth it to sleep in a work of art.
Winter Carnaval in Quebec City
More to Explore
Grab a drink at The Ice Bar (it comes in a glass made of ice, naturally) and find out more about this one-of-a-kind hotel. Fellow Traveling Moms have experienced Hotel de Glace as well. Read on for Sarah Pittard, Solo Traveling Mom’s Frozen adventures with her daughter. Terri Marshall, Globetrotting TravelingGrandmom, met a snowman at Carnaval de Quebec. Christine Tibbetts is our Cultural Heritage TMOM and she describes this unique and icy work of art.
What’s new for 2017?
This year’s artistic director of the Hotel de Glace, Pierre l’Heureaux, the theme of Northern Perspectives offers a fun way to explore different avenues, saying, “This year, we’re taking a look at the circumpolar world from both an entertaining and a cultural perspective. This will be an exciting opportunity for visitors to discover different cultures and civilizations, to meet important figures and to take a thrilling trip to the polar ice pack.”
Grand Opening Night for Hotel de Glace is on January 20th and will surely delight guests with fireworks, live performances and entertainment.
The Ice Bar will host two very cool party nights at the Hotel de Glace on February 17th and March 10th. Dancing, a DJ, entertainment and special cocktails make these events a hot ticket (which can be purchased at the door on the day of the event).