I remember the announcement when the first ice hotel opened in Sweden. There was much talk about the logistics of a hotel made entirely of snow and ice, and many of us stood by the water cooler wondering if we could ever sleep on an ice bed. Then the Quebec City Ice Hotel was built, and the dream of walking into an ice hotel lobby became a reality.
When I venture to Quebec City for Winter Carnival or just a winter escape, I make sure to plan time for a day tour of the Hotel de Glace. I haven’t mustered up the courage to sleep there yet, but someday I will take the plunge and brace the cold for a snooze on an ice bed.
New Permanent Location at Place Valcartier Village
This year marks the 17th season for the Hotel de Glace, and the ice hotel has a new permanent location amongst the Valcartier Vacation Village. Now visitors will get to experience a visit or stay at the Hotel de Glace while enjoying the amenities of the Valcartier’s winter playground. The village includes 35 snow slides, an indoor waterpark, and a 4-star hotel with 153 suites. There are five restaurants and a spa on site as well.
The Quebec City ice hotel will be open from December 23, 2017, to March 25, 2018, for both day tours and night stays.
It’s the perfect pairing especially for those planning on staying the night in the ice hotel. If it gets too cold, you can just head into your room at the resort to warm up.
Visiting the Ice hotel this year I realize I’m going to have to plan a fun getaway here at the Valcartier Village as well. Maybe when I’m ready to take the plunge on that Ice Hotel sleepover?
Hotel de Glace 2018
Each year Quebec City’s Ice Hotel is rebuilt with a new theme in mind. While the structure of the hotel is similar each year, the glass carvings and furnishings are all sculptured around the theme.
In 2018 the Theme was the Circus. Large flags rose atop the ice hotel structure which was made to look like a circus tent.
The chapel was built as a separate structure and was just a beautiful and quiet room to sit in and escape. The large lobby had a massive ice sculpture which glittered in the light and all around was interesting decorative elements inspired by the circus.
Hotel de Glace 2016
In 2016, my first visit to the ice hotel the theme was Winter Rivers. The snow packed walls were sculpted to look like moving water, and several pieces of ice furniture were laid out to form seating areas.
Some corridors inside the hotel were wider than others with bathroom facilities and a restaurant located outside the primary hotel structure.
Hotel de Glace Ice Bar and Lounges
Each year the ice hotel has two Ice Bar Lounges where you can grab a drink inside an ice glass. Each glass is only used once, and ice glasses are made daily in the ice hotels workshop.
There is an extensive menu of speciality drinks, or you can just ask the bartender to whip you up an Ice Hotel speciality cocktail.
If you are not staying in the ice hotel for the night, you will still enjoy that bucket list moment of experiencing an ice cocktail in the ice bar. The tour also includes a detailed explanation of how the hotel is constructed and a look inside the many rooms.
Quebec City Ice Hotel Rooms
Even the basic rooms inside the ice hotel were pretty dreamy. Coloured lights and impressive carved walls were the perfect backdrops to the massive ice bed covered with a fur blanket.
There are double rooms available at the hotel which sleep four. Some of the rooms are more elaborate than others and include carved walls and ice furniture. This furniture is made of special ice which does not melt to the touch and is completely clear.
As we walked through the hotel, we saw more and more elaborate suites which included some fantastic carvings. My favourite room inside the Quebec City ice hotel was the 2016 polar bear room. The bed was carved out to look like a raft floating on an icy flowing river.
The walls were carved with trees and rocks, and there were two giant polar bears inside the room catching fish on the river bank. The Polar Bear suite was the largest in the hotel and included a personal sauna. Guests at the hotel will notice the rooms do not have doors, just a red curtain for privacy.
You can read more travel reviews on the Quebec Ice Hotel here.
Tips for Sleeping at an Ice Hotel
While I did not sleep at the hotel, I did learn that there is much to consider and learn about staying in one. Upon arrival, each guest must attend a training session which will help you prepare for your night at the hotel. There are some specific safety instructions for how to stay at the hotel which includes:
- Wear dry, light, synthetic clothing.
- Do not plan to wear the same clothing during the day and the night.
- Don’t overdress, heavy clothing and too many layers will cause you to sweat which will turn to humidity and will make you feel cold.
- Plan to spend some time in the sauna to warm up and dry your body before going to bed.
Ice Hotel Packing Checklist
- hat, scarves, gloves, headband/ear gear (2 of each)
- thermal undergarments (2 of each)
- sweatshirt/outer top (2 of each)
- sweatpant/outer pant (2 of each)
- socks, underwear (3-4 of each)
- bathing suit and flip-flops (for sauna)
- winter coat, snow pants
For a detailed view of items in this ice hotel, packing list click here.
Other things to do in Quebec City
Quebec City has so many things to do and see during the winter months. See the following posts for more inspiration when planning your trip.
- Winter Escape at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac
- 10 Things to do on a Dream Winter Escape in Quebec City
- Hilton Quebec City Dream Views and Steps from Everything
- 10 Things to Do at the Quebec Winter Carnival
- Winter Relaxation at Siberia Station Spa Quebec City
- When in Quebec… Visit Chez Ashton for Poutine
- Great Places to Eat in Quebec City
Disclosure: Travel assistance provided by Tourism Quebec on a few media press trips. The opinions in this post are my own. This page may contain affiliate links. Clicking for additional information or to make a purchase may result in a small commission. For more information read our disclaimer.