This is a great experience to marry up with any visit to The Quebec City Winter Carnival though in my books 1 night is enough. You can always spend a second or third night at The Hotel de Glacé Auberge which is the closest place to eat breakfast or supper as no food is available in the Ice Hotel. But hey you can get alcohol, served in ice glasses so you need to be very careful where you put your tongue The majestic cathedral-like bar is subtly lit with ever changing colours reflecting and bouncing off the carved ice.It feels like being in the midst of the Aurora Borealis! No wonder this is the hip place for the trendies of Quebec City to come out to of an evening – it’s only about 30 minutes from the city. It would be worth the journey. However once these guys clear out, you realise that the only place left to go is to bed – via the hot tub!! There is NOTHING else to do in the Ice hotel – you can’t really read a book or play a board game. You are here for the “experience”. You can go to the Auberge mentioned above but eventually that too closes in the evening!!
Help is at hand for the intrepid but experienced guest – on arrival at the Reception – a deceivingly toasty wood-burning stove-heated log cabin style building – you get a demonstration on how to use the “four seasons” sleeping bags provided. How hard can this be is what you think as you sip a coffee in the relative warmth of “indoors”. Even when you enter the hotel itself usually in the daylight, there are lots of day visitors and a few exhibits to take your mind off the fact that here you are, fully kitted-out in down coats; mittens; hats and scarves etc. We were so overcome with the splendour and the experience that we didn’t actually “twig” that the temperature both outside and inside is the same. You are essentially going to bed outdoors in the middle of a Quebec winter.
Anyhow back to your tutorial – you are also instructed on how to use the outdoor hot tub/sauna prior to belting down the ice corridors into your doorless themed ice room, and gingerly inserting your fully clothed body into said sleeping bag, on the ice bed in order to survive the night in well below freezing temperatures. You need to wear your hat, scarf and mittens and the next morning don’t expect your hot-tub swimming togs to be anything but ice-crispy and standing to attention wherever you happened to drop them the night before! You are then directed to an indoor locker room where you can store all non-essential items/purses etc and then You Are On Your Own……..
Apart from a few similar ice hotels in Scandinavia and China, this is a truly authentic Canadian experience. Re-designed entirely each year and open from 6 February to 25 March, the 2012 design is intended to communicate the art, culture, knowledge and values of the First Nations. When we visited in 2009 all the rooms had ice hockey themed carvings in them. go look at the website for info on this year’s themes and design.
Over and Out