Mittens, hats, scarves, and long underwear play important roles during long, drawn-out, and icy Canadian winters, but as cold as temperatures may be, these items are not usually considered essential in ensuring a good night’s sleep. That is, unless you are planning to spend the night at Hôtel de Glace. If you are, you won’t want to leave your outerwear and long underwear behind.
Constructed entirely of ice and snow, both abundant Canadian natural resources, Hôtel de Glace in Quebec City celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2015 and is open from January 5th to March 22nd. Temperatures inside the rooms and suites hover between -3°C and -5°C – this is an ice hotel, after all – but that doesn’t mean you won’t find plenty of ways to stay warm.
For those who shiver at only the thought of sleeping in sub-zero temperatures, but whose curiosity is piqued at how a hotel built with ice actually looks, Hôtel de Glace offers day and evening passes that allow you to explore its facilities and later return home to your own warm bed. Tours are offered daily, in both French and English, and showcase the hotel’s charming architecture and chapel, extravagant ice sculptures, and the Grand Ice Slide. If you are so inclined, you can wrap up your visit at the Ice Bar and put a bit of colour back in your cheeks with a chilly cocktail.
Glasses are crafted from ice (you will not be out of place wearing your mittens inside this bar) and the drinks have fittingly frosty names like North Pole, Northern Lights, -52 Degrees, and the oh-so Canadian Ski-Doo Accident – a mix of Canada’s own Ungava gin, spruce beer, watermelon liquor, and grenadine.
If you are adventurous enough to spend the night and a cocktail, mulled wine, or hot apple cider have done little to warm your bones, know that the spa and sauna under the stars are open throughout the night and will do wonders to shake off the cold of a Canadian winter during a night spent at Hôtel de Glace.