For the past few years, accommodations with an icy finish have become sought-after destinations for winter-loving travelers. For those that truly revel in the cold Canadian climate, a stay at Hôtel de Glace is most likely right up your snowy street. Founded by Jacques Desbois, this unique hotel is made entirely out of ice and snow and is the only ice hotel in North America. Located in the happening resort of Valcartier village, this stunning miniature frosted palace is the place to catch some winter sun.
Jacques Desbois, the founder of the Hôtel de Glace, has always been passionate about winter and the snow. He was even nicknamed Mr. Igloo after establishing La Piste Desbois, an ecotourism company operating in the design of interactive igloo villages. In 1996, he became inspired by an article about the Icehotel in Sweden. Believing that if an ice hotel could be created in Sweden, it could also be done in Québec, so Desbois traveled to Jukkasjärvi to learn more and meet the creators of the majestic white structure.
In 2001, the first Hôtel de Glace was erected at Montmorency Falls. It was then built at Station Touristique Duchesnay for nine years and moved on again to the old site of the Québec Zoo in 2011. In 2016, the Hôtel de Glace joined forces with Valcartier Vacations Village and became a focal point of the resort.
This year, 500 tons of ice and 30,000 tons of snow were used to create the hotel’s dazzling ice sculptures, 45 rooms, and themed suites. In addition to this, for 2018, inspired by the circus, Hôtel de Glace has created an eccentric show full of traditional circus acts, which visitors can see under a giant tent made out of snow and ice.
The hotel offers winter-loving travelers a number of different room options and packages for their visit. The original Hôtel de Glace rooms emanate the intimacy of an igloo. Each themed suite comes with a unique design and vibe and has a sculpture made of ice or snow as well as ambient lighting. Premium suites come with a fireplace, but if you fancy a real splurge, go for the premium deluxe arctic spa suite that has a private spa.
Guests of the hotel can also enjoy a stunning Nordic area with hot tubs and a sauna under the stars, an ice bar, ice chapel, and grand ice slide for people of all ages. Overnight adventurers or visitors who are staying longer can take full advantage of little luxuries during their stay (a welcome cocktail, Nordic equipment for the night, access to spas and the sauna, and breakfast) as well as explore a number of attractions close by in Valcartier village.
The most exciting attraction is a winter playground with more than 35 snow slides; it is open from December to March from 10 AM to 9 PM where both kids and grown-up kids can experience speeding down slides called the Himalayas, the Everest or the Tornado. Visitors also have the option of booking treatments at Valcartier Spa, dog-sledding or checking out some great restaurants. For those craving warmer temperatures, there’s a heated indoor water park with all the trimmings, including a large wave pool, slides, family pool, a multi-activity adventure river, a double surf wave, and places for relaxation.
In Québec, winter temperatures vary from -25°C to 5°C (-13°F to 41°F). To ensure visitors get the most out of their adventure and this unique winter experience, Hôtel de Glace recommends dressing properly and warmly with three layers at the very least. The hotel website offers essential information that will help visitors to prepare for their trip.
In 2018, Hôtel de Glace is open from January 4th until March 25th. If you are looking for a dreamy winter break away from the hustle and bustle of city life, this enchanting ice hotel is a perfect place to stay and experience the ultimate Nordic adventure.