Each December, a couple of miles from Quebec City, something magical takes shape in the snowy landscape. Every year, the Hotel de Glace is built from scratch entirely out of snow and ice in an incredible feat of engineering. It’s a glittering masterpiece, complete with ice sculptures and carvings, ice beds, an ice bar and even an ice chapel.
A visit to North America’s only ice hotel – which is open from January to April – is a winter wonderland experience that any adventurer should add to their bucket list. It makes the perfect accompaniment to a winter holiday in Quebec. In between strolling the cobbled, historic streets of Old Quebec and husky-sledding through the Laurentian mountains, pay a visit to the Hotel de Glace.
Here are 10 astonishing facts about the Hotel de Glace that are sure to wow you:
1. The hotel uses 500 tons of ice and 30,000 tons of snow
The hotel is rebuilt every year, and needless to say, it’s a massive undertaking. The hotel actually uses manmade snow which is churned to make is denser and more humid. You need a solid snow to build a structure like this!
2. The hotel takes 50 people 6 weeks to build
With 32,000 square feet to cover, it’s not surprising that the hotel takes a long time to create. As well as building the hotel, ice sculptors create stunning carvings and sculptures for the hotel.
3. The temperature inside in between -3°C and 5°C
So considerably warmer than the -25°C temperatures Quebec gets outside in winter! The hotel has firepits inside to keep you warm. If you’re sleeping overnight, you get a real mattress, insulating sheets and heavy duty sleeping bag to keep you warm.
4. There are 45 rooms and suites with different themes
The standard Hotel de Glace rooms are intimate as an igloo, while the largest Premium Deluxe Spa Suite has a fireplace and hot tub! In between you’ll find unique rooms with individual ice carvings and fireplace suites which have a cosy glow.
5. The hotel has everything from an ice restaurant, to an ice bar, to an ice chapel
You can do everything at the hotel, from dine to drink shots out of ice glasses to even get married!
6. There is a Nordic relaxation area
If you’re staying overnight, you’ll have access to the Nordic relaxation area which boasts outdoor spas and saunas. Relax in a hot tub and star gaze or watch snowflakes drifting gently down around you.
7. It’s a favourite film location
As you’d expect from such a dramatic location, there have been plenty of events filmed at the Hotel de Glace. Disney filmed there to launch Frozen. Ice Road Truckers and the Super Bowl filmed adverts there. Even Head & Shoulders have filmed there.
8. The hotel is full of specialist carvings
From the themed rooms to the chapel and bar, there are incredible ice structures and carvings at the hotel. Over its 18-year history, the hotel has training up several artisans who specialise in intricate ice carvings. You might even get to see them creating commissions like company logos in ice!
9. There are tons of activities on site
Beyond the wonders of the ice hotel itself, there are plenty of snowy activities on site. Nestled among the breath-taking scenery of the Jacques-Cartier River and Valley, it’s a winter playground to take advantage of. Jump into a snow tube and take on one of the mighty snow slides, with names like Everest and the Himalayas. Or settle into a cosy sled for an unforgettable dog-sledding experience through the forest.
10. You can learn all the secrets with a behind the scenes tour
A Behind the Scenes tour costs around £27 for an adult and includes a guided tour of the hotel. You’ll learn all the secrets of the construction and maintenance of the Hotel de Glace as well as getting to visit the Ice Workshop. You’ll learn how to make your own glass out of ice and finish with a visit to the Ice Bar, to drink a complimentary cocktail from your ice glass!
To experience the Ice Hotel yourself, book our Quebec Winter Wonderland Holiday and pop over to the Hotel de Glace.