Think snazzy Scandinavian igloo. This novelty hotel is made entirely of ice and snow. It offers a unique experience, with guests sleeping on beds built of ice. Expect to bathe in the outdoor thermal spa.
YOU SHOULD KNOW For obvious reasons, the hotel is only open from January until the end of March. Also, you must buy a package--which makes for a pricey stay.
Each year, the rooms are re-designed by ice sculptors. Seriously! They’re charmingly Spartan, so don’t expect alarm clocks, desks and a Nespresso machine--there are none. The walls are intricately carved and some rooms have fireplaces. While the base of the bed is an ice block, there’s a wooden platform for the mattress.
Listen, up: it's cold as heck in these rooms. The rooms are kept at -5 degrees, so read the guest guide before arrival for tips on how to dress. It’s mandatory reading, to ensure your comfort--and warmth. Attend the so-called “training session” (also mandatory), to learn about how to best enjoy the property. We promise they aren’t trying to sell you anything.
There isn’t a bathroom, per say, in each room, but there’s a luxurious chemical outhouse. Plus, the hotel’s interior courtyard is home to the free Nordic Area, where there are outdoor thermal spas to warm up.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Most packages include a parallel reservation at the neighboring Valcartier Hotel, so that you can have a secondary base to shower just two minutes away.
Is it a Viking dream or the lair of a Bond villain? Dramatic and edgy, the lobby announces this hotel’s intention to impress. Under the snow-vaulted ceiling, learn about the two ice bars, the ice chapel, the ice cafe and more. Get your free guided tour and activity passport for the ice slides.
The pool is of the heated variety, in the inner courtyard. Lots of robes and towels are available. But bring your flip-flops.
If you want a martini for dinner—and who doesn’t—just stay at the Ice Hotel. The ice bar has great cocktails, booze, a DJ and a dance floor. The Valcartier Hotel, the nearby sister property, is where the food happens, including a deluxe buffet breakfast at the Safari restaurant.
Just a 20-minute drive from Quebec City, the hotel is best accessed by car. Parking is free, and you probably won’t leave the site.
Pascal le Boulanger (10-minute drive) is famous for its French pastries (hello, chocolatines!), pizzas, soup, sandwiches and their yummy desserts.
We recommend staying at the Ice Bar, but if you must leave the property, The Microbrasserie Archibald Lac-Beauport (10-minute drive) is a cozy brew pub with a fireplace and lots of flirting.
WHY WE LIKE IT
A magical winter retreat for the bucket list. From the ice wedding chapel to the sexy ice bar, this property is certainly unique--and seriously cold. Every year, the artisans create a new ice palace, with 40-plus rooms and suites that impress guests with their carved walls and vaulted ceilings. While the lack of en suite bathrooms may be a deal-breaker for some guests, it’s all part of the charm. Remember, each reservation at the Ice Hotel is coupled with a room in the Valcartier Hotel, just a two-minute walk away. Also remember, you're staying in an actual ice house.