I’ll take ice with that. Wait, that’s a drink, not a hotel stay! However, yes, you can stay in an ice hotel where your room and almost everything is made of ice! Best of all, although the first ice hotel was opened in 1989 in Sweden, you don’t have to fly across the ocean for the experience. You only have to make your way to Quebec.
The Hôtel de Glace, outside Quebec, is the only ice hotel in North America. Since it melts each December, it’s created anew. The hotel opened for the 2023 season on January 4; it closes in March.
This Year’s Theme — An After-Dark Experience
Each year, designers and builders work hard to develop a different theme for the hotel. The current theme is inspired by nightlife. Explore on your own to see how this vision comes to life in the Grand Hall, the chapel, the family area, and 30 rooms and themed suites. You can expect to see icy nightlife ephemera reflecting Halloween, Greek mythology, astronomy, dreams, dance, the First Nations, and more.
The Hôtel de Glace May Look Familiar
The big studios love to use the Hôtel de Glace as a location for their wintry tales. In 2021, Hallmark’s “Baby, It’s Cold Inside” was filmed at the hotel.
Hallmark’s “Winter Castle” (aptly named), part of its 2019 Winterfest, was also filmed at the hotel. The set was so convincing that many thought the story took place in Sweden.
In 2014, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ research for its Frozen movie took their team to the Hôtel de Glace. The mutual admiration led to Disney’s creation of the hotel’s Frozen Suite, modeled after Anna and Elsa’s bedrooms.
The Icy Experience
Upon arriving, you’ll be served a welcome drink (in an ice glass, of course). The evening brings cocktails in a bar that’s -5 degrees Fahrenheit. Try the ice cider, which is sweet and crisp.
Continuing the ice theme, you can ice skate on a path lit at night or experience the chills and thrills of snow rafting at The Himalaya or The Tornado.
Pro Tip: Take a guided tour of the hotel and its grounds. This tour lets you see the various themed rooms you can’t view after a guest checks in. Tour and ticket information is here.
The Not Icy Experience
Not into winter activities? All guests can access the outdoor “Nordic relaxation area,” offering a sauna and hot tubs.
Stay warm at neighboring Hotel Valcartier’s indoor waterpark. This unique feature in Village Vacances Valcartier sends you to Polynesian beaches. It includes a wave pool, slides (more than 14), an adventure river, and a surf wave. It has a constant temperature of 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius).
Want to be pampered? Visit the Aroma Spa with its eight treatment rooms, indoor-outdoor pool, Finnish sauna, and hot tub.
Want to test your skills? Check out the giant arcade with 50 ways of play!
What If I Can’t Stand The Cold?
So, you try the frosty hotel room and decide it’s not for you. Not to worry, all bookings at the Hôtel de Glace come with a backup plan: a room in the nearby four-star Hôtel Valcartier, where you get the heat you crave and services like the on-site spa’s thermal experience.
Just need a quick warm-up? You can visit an on-site, modern, heated lodge with lockers, changing rooms, restrooms, and a breakfast restaurant. This building is open 24/7, so you can defrost your fingers and toes whenever you need to.
Rates start at $400. You can also get a hotel day pass starting at $25. Prices are here.
See the following articles for more information on winter vacations: