Hotel de Glace’s Frigorific Lodging Outside Quebec City
Every year, for less than three months, a wonder of frozen water brings visitors from around the world into a mesmerizing world of sleeted chandeliers, indoor polar slide, ornate frozen furniture, and refrigerated artistry.
In just a matter of weeks this engineered spectacle is re-designed and re-constructed each winter season from hundreds of tons of ice and tens of thousands of pounds of packed snow.
No two years are alike as several dozen uniquely themed rooms and suites, glacial nightclub, a majestic wedding chapel, and an unforgettable lodging experience are created for brave adventure seekers looking to be awed for a day visit or for an overnight stay.
From the moment they enter this aesthetic spectacle, guests are taken into another realm of beauty and tranquility as light plays a visual extravaganza on the eye with colors, textures, and lighting.
For those brave enough to take the class and prepare adequately, sleeping in the Hotel de Glace is successful only with the help of arctic rated sleeping bags, and meticulously planned pre-sleeping organization. If sleeping in a room where cell phones freeze, cameras malfunction, and even boots and sweaters must be protected, sounds doable, get ready to slumber, or not, on top of a mattress placed on a block of ice as a bed foundation.
Upon arrival, and before entering the ice hotel, guests warm up in the new, separate, and heated Entrance Pavilion to purchase tickets. There the North Face hosts a boutique which promises your last chance at cold weather gear before entry. Having entered, guests can access the Celsius Pavilion where soups, sandwiches, light fare, and beverages can be enjoyed in the new light snack area. Locker rooms are offered as most overnight guests do take the preparation course seriously which teaches them to raise their core body temperature before bed by indulging in the spas and sauna in a methodical manner, right before turning in. Most personal items are left in the lockers or back at the Sheraton as they would freeze in the rooms.
The Hotel de Glace partners with the Four Points by Sheraton Quebec about a mile away. Check-ins take place through the Sheraton, where typical hotel amenities, and warmth are only a 2-3 minute complimentary shuttle away and a warm and cozy room is waiting, just in case. As locals say, “There is no shame in not making it through the night.”
Overnighters at the ice hotel enjoy an ice cocktail in the Ice Bar, complete sleeping equipment, access to the hot tubs and sauna area, a hot wake-up beverage, and breakfast.
Some suites at the Hotel de Glace even boast fireplaces that are strictly for ambiance and eye appeal, since they are specially designed to not emit heat.
In order for the arctic sleeping bags to function correctly one must wear the correct synthetic fibers and socks and have clean, dry, and unworn clothes separately reserved just for sleeping, as moisture is the enemy.
A beautiful wedding chapel of ice is also enjoyed by dozens of couples each year, many of whom dogsled in for their big day. It seems rather unlikely, however, that many honeymoon babies are conceived overnight in the hotel. There are no doors on the rooms but rather a drape that hangs over each door jam.
With the fact that even escaping one’s single mummy bag to use a bathroom hundreds of feet away, is a major feat and requires completing the entire preparation protocol again, it seems for most that, “It ain’t happenin’,” on the wedding night.
One amazing attribute is the extreme insulation and acoustic property of the ice structure. Even with the blaring music from the disco, the suites and rooms are supremely quiet and serenely peaceful at night. So quiet in fact, that some guests comment on the eerie stillness, even with no doors on the rooms.
A day or early evening visit and tour may be more enjoyable for most. The crystalline ice sculptures and intricately designed walls, indoor ice slide, bars, and discotheque are an unforgettable sight to see and experience. In fact, over a half million visitors have experienced this wonder just since 2001.