The Ice Hotel or Hotel de Glace in Quebec, Canada is built anew each year based on a different theme. When I visited during the 14th edition, the theme was legends and myths. Rooms were decorated with Viking ships, dragons, and other legendary characters.
These themes were made visible thanks to the sculptors who worked alongside the expert construction workers during the creation of the hotel. Building works usually start early December when the temperatures stay below 0°C for an entire week. Each year it takes 50 people working day and night for about six weeks to finish the Ice Hotel.
It’s the only hotel in America that is made entirely out of ice and snow. 500 tons of ice and 30,000 tons of snow, to be precise. For that, the builders don’t use regular snow, but snow from snow blowers as that is more humid and dense than regular snow, which allows it to become icy and ‘tight’ much quicker.
When it’s finished, the Ice Hotel measures 3000 square meters, taking up more space than two Olympic swimming pools.
What fits into this space? Well, let’s have a look.
First, there’s the reception. Luckily the hotel staff doesn’t have to work here. Check-in is done in another (heated) building, where you’ll also find the cafe, changing rooms and the registration for people who want to go walk the snowshoe trail that’s located near the Ice Hotel.
We didn’t go to that building, though, but instead walked on from the icy reception to the ice bar. This room is pretty large and can be used for receptions and parties.
The 44 rooms are divided into suites, which are all uniquely decorated, and regular rooms, which were ‘just’ rooms of ice. These are also smaller.
Some of the suites:
The killer suite:
A regular room:
Those suites are pretty neat, aren’t they? But the most beautiful part of the Ice Hotel still has to come: the chapel. That’s right, you can even get married here!
During the last edition, there was also a room dedicated to the Disney movie “Frozen”, with a slide made out of ice (of course). It wasn’t as slippy as we’d expected though and Siemen and I bought had to push ourselves forward to get to the bottom.
People who stay at the Ice Hotel usually arrive after dinner. They leave their belongings in the lockers in the changing room and make use of the saunas and hot tubs (Oh I hadn’t mentioned that before, had I? There are saunas and hot tubs!) before slipping into the sleeping bags provided by the Ice Hotel. There’s no sleeping in (then again, could you sleep in at sub-zero temperatures?) as they have to be out of their rooms again before 8 am.
There’s also a sugar shack on the terrain, but unfortunately, that wasn’t open when we were there.
Wait a minute!
This entire explanation and all of these photos but there’s something I haven’t talked about yet. What could it be? Let me see… ice… hotel… sleeping… snow… COLD!
So, was it cold at the Ice Hotel? It actually really was. I’m sure the special sleeping bags provided by the hotel keep you warm at night, but when you’re walking around (especially when you’re not wearing gloves so you can take photos with your camera and phone) it’s pretty freezing cold. A large part of that has to do with that the air at the hotel is pretty humid because of all the ice.
However, I asked our guide what happens when someone’s too cold to spend the entire night in their room and she told me that the Ice Hotel used to reserve a couple of rooms at a nearby hotel in case guests wanted to switch beds during the night. Less than 20% of them did, though, and so they dropped that option. Should someone still want to see some heat during the night, they can always go to the locker building.
Address: Rue de la Faune 9300, Quebec City
Getting there: there’s a big free parking lot right in front of the entrance, but we took the 801 bus from the center of Quebec City (check rtcquebec.ca for prices and timetables). It took us about 30-40 minutes to get there.
There are also shuttles going between Place d’Armes in Quebec City and the Ice Hotel, but I wouldn’t recommend taking those. They cost $19,95 (CAD) for a return trip and only leave on certain times of the day.
Entrance fee: $18 from 10 am-6 pm, $14 from 8 pm – midnight (CAD) – These prices are for adults. There are discounts for children, students and others. Check the website for those.
Room prices start at $219 CAD per person. This includes the Nordic sleeping bag, access to the saunas and hot tubs and breakfast in the morning.
Top tip:Dress warm!
Other places to stay in Quebec City
Check Booking.com for an extensive list of options for all budgets and needs.
If you’re looking for an apartment rather than a hotel, I would recommend checking airbnb. Sign up through my link and get a discount on your first stay!
How to get to Quebec
The airport of Quebec welcomes flights from all over the world. Check Skyscanner for an overview of your flight options.
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We received complimentary tickets to visit the Ice Hotel and write about it. I’ll always share my honest opinion on comped experiences like this one.
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