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A Tour of the Hotel de Glace (Ice Hotel) in Quebec City

When the chance of a tour of the Hôtel du Glace in Quebec City presented itself I jumped at the opportunity.

I’ve heard about the ice hotel for years and I was curious about what it would actually look like. And I wanted to know just how cold it felt inside.

"There are no shortage of tourists checking out the Ice Hotel"

There is no shortage of tourists checking out the Ice Hotel

The Hotel du Glace is far more beautiful than I ever imagined it would be – and far chillier too – though that might be because on the day we visited it was really cold outside. Dressing warmly is crucial to enjoying a tour.

The hotel is a popular place. Over a million visitors have been through the doors since it opened in 2001 and approximately 43,000 people have had the pleasure of sleeping in the hotel.

"The entrance to the bar area in the Hotel du Glace"

The entrance to the bar area in the Hotel de Glace

"The doors to the Ice Hotel are covered in fur"

The doors to the Ice Hotel are covered in fur which you can’t help stroking

Construction of the hotel begins in early December. Temperatures need to stay below zero for at least a week before the building starts. Over the course of six weeks, approximately 50 people get involved in the construction, including 15 sculptors. It is the only ice hotel in America that is entirely made of ice and snow. In total, some 500 tons of ice and 30,000 tons of snow are used to construct 30,000 square feet of buildings. The snow is made onsite with the assistance of snow blowers. The end result is 44 rooms – many with a theme to them (myths and legends from around the world this year), an ice bar and an ice chapel plus a Nordik area with a sauna and hot tubs.

The Bedrooms in the Hotel de Glace

Most of the bedrooms I saw were themed and really if you’re going to spend the night I think it’s worth coughing up the extra money to stay in one of these rooms. If money is no object choose the room with its own private hot tub.

"Incredible detail carved into the ice and snow above one of the beds"

Incredible detail carved into the ice and snow above one of the beds

"a red bedroom in the Hotel du Glace"

"This suite had a fireplace a private hot tub"

This suite had a fireplace and a private hot tub

"Hotel de Glace bedroom"

I couldn’t get over the detail in this room – Photo credit: Renaud Philippe

How about a cocktail out of a glass made of ice?

I don’t usually drink anything but tea in the middle of the afternoon but sometimes you have to make an exception. This was one of those exceptions.

"All manner of colourful cocktails at $8.50 a pop"

All manner of colourful cocktails at $8.50 a pop

"Three o'clock cocktails anyone?"

Three o’clock cocktails anyone?

The sliding is faster on your knees.

"Adults and kids loved trying out the Grand Ice Slide"

Adults and kids loved trying out the Grand Ice Slide

"A touch of whimsy by the slide"

A touch of whimsy by the slide

Do you want to get married in the Hotel de Glace?

Apparently about 28 couples a year tie the knot in this chapel.

"The chapel at the Hotel du Glace"

The chapel at the Hotel du Glace

 Additional Information about the Hotel du Glace

  • Guided tours for adults cost $18, youth and seniors are $16 and kids are $9.
  • Overnight stays start from $219 per person and includes a cocktail, access to the spas and sauna as well as breakfast.
  • The hotel is open every day from 10 am until midnight. You have until March 23rd this year to visit.

If you’re in Quebec City in the winter, its well worth including a tour of the Ice Hotel. It’s not only an interesting experience but a fun one as well. The hotel is only about a 10-15 minute drive from downtown Quebec City.

Would you stay the night in an Ice Hotel?

Disclosure: Quebec City Tourism was kind enough to look after the tour for me but as usual all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Leigh McAdam

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Author Leigh

Avid world traveler. Craves adventure - & the odd wildly epic day. Gardener. Reader. Wine lover. Next big project - a book on 100 Canadian outdoor adventures.

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Join the discussion 45 Comments

  • Sophie says:

    Didn’t know they had ice hotels in Canada, too. But it makes sense. This one looks gorgeous.

    • @Sophie Quebec City is a great location for an ice hotel because they have a super popular Quebec City Carnival every winter and winter is long, snowy & cold. You might as well take advantage of the winter in a climate like that.

  • Dennis Kopp says:

    Leigh, thank you for sharing these great photos! I have always heard of an ice hotel, but I never imagined it of this scale. Having 50 people working on it for 6 weeks really sounds like a serious project, but the result is definitely pretty amazing and especially the themed rooms look simply great. Would I stay there? Probably not because of the price tag, but I would definitely love to visit and experience how cold it actually feels inside… :)

    • @Dennis It’s rather a good employer isn’t it. The quality of the details in the ice carving is unbelievable. The sculptors are super talented. The themed rooms were quite literally stunning – and the plain rooms were just that very plain in comparison. Doing a tour is highly worthwhile.

  • I would love to stay there for a night or two. It would be great to stay in a place where you would not have to worry about your beer getting warm although it might freeze.

  • Mike says:

    Sweet! I’ve seen this on tv so many times but you are the first friend I’ve ever known that actually was there, Leigh! I would so love to tour it but staying there for a night? Ummm, don’t know about that except to say I did ha,ha! Give me some whiskey and that slide and we would be having all sorts of fun (my kid and I)! :)

    • @Mike I have always thought I would like to stay in an Ice Hotel but after a tour- which was highly enjoyable – I am not so sure. Perhaps a few drinks would help change my mind! Phoenix might like it all curled up under the covers.

  • Agness says:

    Wow, I’ve never seen anything like that in my life! A perfect place for a wedding ! <3

  • Franca says:

    That is something unique for sure, I’ve never seen anything like it.

  • I’d love to spend a night in the ice hotel! I can’t believe the carvings…they are fabulous. Imagine planning a new theme each year!

  • Rachel M says:

    Looks like an amazing place. So you mentioned that construction starts in December and those who intend to visit have up to March 23rd, so what happens during the warmer times of the year? Do they build it afresh every year?

    • @Rachel As the weather starts to warm up at the end of March the hotel begins to melt. I believe workers at the end of the season aid in its demise – so yes every year they build a new ice hotel with a new theme.

  • Tanya says:

    This is awesome. Boy, it would be cold though. That art above the bed was amazing!!

  • Jackie Smith says:

    Great post, Leigh! I loved the photos. . .might say they gave me chills. :-) I can’t quite imagine spending the night there or using that hot tub, but perhaps one of those cocktails, especially since it isn’t ‘on the rocks’, but in them!

  • budget jan says:

    How totally weird and wonderful. The chapel is so intricately carved, it is quite beautiful – like a fairytale. :)

  • Hope the hotel has electric blankets on the beds!

  • Lauren | JustinPlusLauren says:

    I’ve always wanted to visit the ice hotel in Quebec – it is on my list of things to see! I would love to stay there! It would be chilly yes, but definitely an experience!

  • Love all these photos! Between you and Lisa posting all these great photos from the Ice Hotel, I feel like I need to make a trip up there next year. I can’t get over how detailed some of those sculptures are. I’m not sure I can get through sleeping here but it would be so “cool” to attend a wedding at that chapel :)

  • I have always, always wanted to spend at least a night at an ice hotel! For some reason I always thought I’d have to travel to the nether regions of Finland for this sort of thing, so nice to see there’s one so close to home! Love that there’s even a little chapel in there!

    • @Jess Although there are lots of Ice Hotels in Europe the one in Quebec City has been built every year for some time now. I don’t think people spend more than a night typically in the hotel – but it would be a very interesting experience.

  • Hi Leigh, this is way too COOL! I can’t believe the creativity of this ice hotel. The carving inside is so impressive! And that church, wow! Looks like a fun winter experience. Keith actually like to stay at an ice hotel one day. I’d love to visit not sure if I can sleep in it, unless I have to bundle up with great layers.

    • @Marisol I really have always thought I would like to sleep in an Ice Hotel but no longer. I can’t recommend the tour highly enough but I think I like the luxury of a warmish room at night with a bathroom just a few steps away.

  • Shing says:

    Wow this ice hotel is particularly impressive! The chapel is huge too! I just got back from Norwegian Lapland and slept in the Igloo Hotel in Alta which was such a fun experience! The thing which surprised me the most is that I actually felt quite cosy inside the igloo… but that may have been something to do with the reindeer skin, two pairs of socks and the two sleeping bags I slept in! :)

    • @Shing I think these ice hotels can be incredibly cozy if you’re prepared to dress for them and I have no doubt you’d sleep well at night. I think my problem was that I got chilled just standing around – though the tour was great. I would definitely make use of the hot tub to warm me up before bed.

  • My daughter and I really want to visit an ice hotel some day. I think she’d definitely head down that slide while I’d make a point of getting something from the Ice Bar even though I don’t usually indulge midday. I don’t think I’d like working there as I’d get much too chilled. How in the world do they keep the ice from melting if there’s hot tub in the room? Do the overnight guests not get to check in until the day tours are over or are occupied rooms merely off limits to tours during a guest’s stay?

    • @Michele An afternoon drink is de rigeur at the Ice Hotel – and it feels rather special drinking out of an ice glass. The ice/snow combo that makes up the hotel is super strong and much denser than normal ice so it takes a long time to melt. The hot tub would be warm inside but insulated so it wouldn’t melt its surroundings.

  • Mette says:

    Thanks a lot for feeding my curiosity about ice hotels. It’s great when someone has the imagination and enterprise to turn harsh conditions into an asset.

  • Nancie says:

    When I was traveling into Quebec City on business this probably wasn’t even thought of. I wonder if my boss would have approved an expense report for a hotel room in an ice hotel? :) The concept is totally awesome. I love that blue room, and I would definitely have an ice cocktail anytime of the day or night :)

  • Mary says:

    Nice Blog!! Thanks for Sharing.

  • Sarah says:

    Was it cold inside? Looks so beautiful! I would love to visit. I’ve never been to Quebec, let alone Quebec city. It’s sad because I’m Canadian. It would be really cold to stay the night in an ice hotel..

  • Charu says:

    I saw pictures from this year and loved the chapel and the Frozen suite. So wonderful you got to go!

  • Ann says:

    Yeah this would be an unforgettable vacation. However as I checked in reservation counter it is very hard to book a room and the hotel is up only one or two months. I think in January and February. The room is also insanely expensive (around 700$) and I don’t think I would be able to sleep in this cold cave so I think I would pass on that. Anyways great article :)

  • Always wanted to peek inside. Thanks for taking me with you.

  • Anna @ Uzbekistan Airways says:

    Thanks for sharing such useful information. God bless you.

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