For many years, a marvel of ice and snow has been built just outside Québec City, each year more elaborate and fanciful than the last. It takes 15,000 tons of snow and 500 tons of ice to build it. Weather permitting, the hotel is open from January through April.
And, yes, you can truly spend the night on a block of ice in the hotel, which also features two art galleries and an exhibition area, a chapel (dozens of weddings are performed there each year), plus two hot tubs, the ABSOLUT Ice Bar and a nightclub.
The Ice Hotel is on the grounds of Station touristique Duchesnay, which includes the Auberge Duchesnay, a 48-room property, as well as several lodges and 14 villas, about 30 minutes from Québec City. Guests of both the Auberge and the Ice Hotel wander back and forth between the properties.
Ice Hotel guests dine at the Auberge restaurant and can flee to it if they can’t stand the cold. (Rooms at the lodge are reserved for Ice Hotel guests in case they can’t hack it, but that happens rarely.)
More about the bed, though, which is the first thing on anybody’s mind when they hear about the hotel. While you are really on top of a block of ice, there are a few things in between you and that cold surface: a thick foam mattress covered by a fleece sheet and a wool blanket or soft deer pelt.
Continued on next page