Icy cocktails, crackling fires and fur sheets are on tap at North America’s only ice hotel, the Hotel de Glace. Located in Quebec’s Valcartier Vacation Village, just outside Quebec City, it’s worth an afternoon tour if only to be amazed at what can be created with a $70 million investment by founder Guy Drouin. This chilly winter wonderland has fascinated over a million visitors since 2001. Fire up your camera, you’ll be delighted by what awaits inside the hotel’s 44 rooms and suites, a spa, chapel, bar and of course, a giant ice slide for those moments you want to act like a kid again.
Every year a creative team of designers and architects start from scratch – bringing enchantment to the ice and snow. The Hotel’s 44 rooms and suites are surrounded by ice sculptures, snow vaults, and wow-worthy displays. This year’s theme, Northern Perspectives, features unique imagery of wildlife, mysteries of the North Pole, and the different cultures that find their history in the Arctic. Rooms are all unique, with hand carved displays in the walls, the ceiling, and ice furniture. The designers have an eye for whimsy – if they imagined it, they carved it, including a snowy owl about to land (on you), the open mouth of a whale, a bed inside a teacup, ice sculptures teeming with under sea life and floral arrangements frozen in time. There’s even a room awaiting Santa Claus himself.
In Early December, as soon as the temperature drops below zero for a full week, creation of the Hotel de Glace begins. Over a 6 week period more than 30,000 tons of snow is churned to create the humid and dense ice needed for construction. The floor and the walls of the hotel are 5 feet thick to support the weight of the structure. The temperature inside stays a balmy -23F.
The Hotel de Glace has been the setting for features on the big and small screen, including the promotional site for Disney’s Frozen, History Channel’s Ice Road Truckers, and countless television commercials and music videos. It’s also a popular site for weddings – usually by brides and grooms who spend most of their time in sunnier climates. You, too can spend the night in a Nordic sleeping bag, snuggled up for the night, surrounded by the silent world of the nearly 10 feet of snow around your room – and above you.
If you’re less adventurous, slide in for a cocktail at the hotel’s bar, complete with roaring fireplaces, music, and of course, chilly cocktails served up at a solid ice bar, naturally, in chilled ice glasses. The Hotel de Glace is the perfect place to make you thankful for year round sun in toasty Texas.
To find out more about the Hotel de Glace, visit www.hoteldeglace-canada.com.