While the design changes slightly each year, the feeling of being in a one-floor igloo-style mansion stays the same. In fact, it’s easy to get a little confused in all the corridors, which look alike with their snow-packed walls. Helpful guides point you in the right direction if you get lost.
During the day, crowds of people come by to visit the hotel, but at night it is peaceful, with just the overnight guests wandering the halls, grinning absurdly at each other in camaraderie. Yes, we are the brave, or foolhardy, souls out for an adventure.
Despite lots of nervous chatter about not being hardy enough to sleep in the frigid cold, my friend and I did make it through the night. Of course, we first toured the hotel, checking out the artwork and the chapel. We sent an e-mail photo of ourselves home (there’s a computer and camera in the bar).
Then we danced around in the nightclub, which was, oddly enough, vacant. Where were all those other guests? Chickened out already, we wondered? We then made our way to the hot tubs. Oh, there they were! When we finally went to bed around midnight, the hotel was quiet and we whispered as we made our way to our room down the snowy hallways.
As for the staffer’s assurance that less is better regarding the sleeping bag? Well, she was right!
If You Go
The Ice Hotel Québec-Canada
Probably one night at the hotel will be novelty enough, so before or after your stay make sure to venture to gorgeous Québec City, North America’s only walled city north of Mexico. The cobblestoned city in the French-speaking province seems like a tiny slice of Europe.
Carnival de Québec
The Québec winter carnival is a joyous way to celebrate the cold. Held January 27-February 12 this year, you can enjoy night parades, a canoe race on the St. Lawrence River, sleigh rides, dog sledding, snow sculptures, ice fishing, snow rafting, a crazy snow bath (people wear their bathing suits!), a children’s village and musical shows by Québécois performers, to name a few activities.
Hilton sur Vieux-Québec
Several area hotels offer Winter Carnival packages, which include accommodations, passes to all activities, a traditional sash and other perks. The Hilton sur Vieux-Québec is ideally situated, right in the thick of things.
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac
Le Château Frontenac, supposedly the most-photographed hotel in the world, is another good option.
For an intimate B&B experience, check out Auberge-St. Antoine, a very unique and special property near the Old Port that was named one of the “World’s Best Places to Stay” by Condé Nast Travelermagazine for the last three years.
Quebec City Tourism