Holiday Hôtel de Glace

Hôtel de Glace, Québec City

Thursday, February 12, 2015carly

This past week Matt and I took an extended weekend and headed to beautiful Quebec City. Neither of us had been in over 10 years, so the whole experience felt excitingly new. The ultimate purpose of our trip was to visit Quebec's most breath-taking winter attraction; the Ice Hotel.

I had bought a one-night stay for Matt and I at the Hôtel de Glace, Québec City as part of his birthday / Christmas present so we had been dreaming of this adventure since December and it certainly did not disappoint! The Ice Hotel is a beautiful structure, built strictly from snow and ice. Like any ice sculpture, the craftsmanship that goes into building the hotel is astounding and it's truly a piece of art!

Ice Hotel, Quebec City

Upon check-in we took part in a guided tour of the hotel. The tours are open to everyone throughout the day, even if you are not a guest of the hotel, and they alternate every half hour between English- and French-speaking tours. After the tour you're also free to wander around the hotel and explore the rest of the rooms, enjoy the two ice slides, go snowshoeing, get a cocktail at the ice bar and enjoy a warm hot chocolate or caribou (a traditional Quebecois drink made up of warm wine, vodka and either whisky or brandy) and some delicious maple toffee from the sugar shack!

The tour took us through the hotel, showing us the main lobby and entryway, the bar, the 'indoor' ice slide, the chapel, and a few of the bedrooms. We learned that this was the 15th anniversary of the hotel and so the theme they chose for this year's ice carvings was 'Space-Time'. The carvings throughout the rooms take you on a journey through time, from the past into the future, each room with it's own story to tell.

Hôtel de Glace, Québec City

Entryway at the Ice Hotel, Quebec City

 Fireplace at the Ice Hotel, Quebec CityChandelier made of ice and milk at the Ice Hotel, Quebec City

For overnight guests, it's mandatory to sit in on an informational presentation that teaches you the proper way to get in and out of your nordic sleeping bag, where to put your belongings to keep them dry and how to enjoy your night without freezing your bum off! The sleeping bag is good for -29°C weather, however no matter the temperature outside, the internal temperature of the hotel always stays around -5°C to -6°C. That being said, the night we were there was one of the coldest nights of the year at -32°C so by 9:30pm there was only Matt and I and three other couples who were willing to brave the cold.

We enjoyed the ice slide, tried our hand at carving our own snow sculptures, enjoyed some drinks out of ice glasses at the beautiful ice bar (the prize for the best named cocktail goes to... the 'ski-do accident' which comes complete with a pine branch!) and then took some time to get warmed up in the hot tubs and sauna before venturing off to our ice room for bed.

Matt and I carving snow sculptures at the Ice Hotel, Quebec City

Arctic Spa at the Ice Hotel, Quebec City

Arctic Spa at the Ice Hotel, Quebec City

Matt and I at the bar at the Ice Hotel, Quebec City

In all honesty, I loved the experience and would do it again in a heartbeat! And I think that's saying a lot considering I'm the type of person who could be wearing three layers in the middle of summer and still be cold. There were people that didn't make it through the night and ended up sleeping on the couches in the indoor pavilion, and that's fine, this obviously isn't an experience that everyone will enjoy. However, if you follow the protocol of warming up in the spa and then drying your body and hair completely before bed, wearing the appropriate clothing and using your sleeping bag as instructed then you'll have a great night's sleep! The only hard part will be getting out of your warm sleeping bag in the morning, but don't worry, you can rush right inside the pavilion and warm up with a shower and yummy hot breakfast!

Dinosaur snow sculpture at the Ice Hotel, Quebec City

Montreal Canadiens hockey room at the Ice Hotel, Quebec City

 Japanese Tea Ceremony room at the Ice Hotel, Quebec CityFireplace in the Japanese Tea Ceremony room at the Ice Hotel, Quebec City

Egyptian room at the Ice Hotel, Quebec City

Gear carvings at the Ice Hotel, Quebec City

Room at the Ice Hotel, Quebec City

Buffalo carving at the Ice Hotel, Quebec City

The Ice Hotel is open from January 3rd until March 22nd, 2015 so if you're interested in checking it out, you still have lots of time. There's also a great Groupon deal that gets you a one night stay for two people in a standard room that includes a free welcome cocktail and free breakfast, so keep your eye out for that!! I also highly recommend upgrading your room from the standard regular room to a theme suite. It does cost a bit extra money but it is absolutely worth it!

Has anyone else ever experienced Quebec's Hôtel de Glace? Or one of the Scandinavian ice hotels? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments. 

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  1. Wow you are brave! But actually... it looks awesome! I absolutely love the carvings (your snow hearts—too cute!) Hearing your review from someone who is cold all the time, like me, makes me a lot more willing to try it! xx


    1. You should totally give this a try at least once in your life Rebecca. It was a very unique experience and honestly, if you wear the appropriate type of clothing to keep your body from sweating, the cold really isn't that bothersome. Plus, the indoor pavilion is open 24 hours if you need to go inside to warm up, and they have free coffee/hot chocolate, so you can't go wrong. Btw, carving hearts out of snow is actually way more difficult than it seems! Lol.

  2. This looks so fun! I would love to go here, but my sad California body would not be able to brave the cold. Nice work haha


    1. Jenna, it for sure might be a shock for someone so use to warmer weather, but I can guarantee you it's totally worth it to tough it out for one night. Once you're in your sleeping bag, you'll feel like you're back home in your bedroom!