Every year, Quebec City's incredible Hôtel de Glace invites thousands of visitors from across the globe to lodge in a glistening winter wonderland. The global attraction is North America's only hotel made exclusively of snow and ice, with a new design sculpted each year. Those looking to truly experience Canadian winter with igloo-style sleeping may reserve a room inside the hotel made of 500 tons of ice and 30,000 tons of snow. Click through the gallery and prepare to be dazzled.
When Hôtel de Glace‘s Jacques Desbois first read about Sweden’s Ice Hotel back in 1996, he immediately realized, “If they can do it in Sweden, we can do it here in Québec, the snow capital of the world.” Since its inception in 2001, the Hôtel de Glace has welcomed over a million visitors. The 3000 square meter (32,000 square feet) design has the capacity to host 55,000 overnight guests, featuring 44 rooms and themed suites, a “Nordic area” with hot tubs and a sauna beneath the stars, an Ice Bar, Ice Chapel, and even a “Grand Ice Slide” for adventurous patrons of all ages.
Over the course of 6 weeks in December, the new Hôtel de Glace is built from scratch, its concept orchestrated by a winner of a design competition. When temperatures drop to -5°C, the construction is ready to commence. Snow blowers produce over 30,000 tons of snow that is churned over and over until it becomes as hard as ice. If you’re wondering why they can’t use real snow, it’s because the snow is too dry and airy most of the time.
With a 5 foot thick deck serving as a foundation, the snow is then molded around metal of various shapes and sizes. Then 500 tons of massive ice blocks are brought in to create chairs, bar stools, tables, columns, sculptures and ice glasses, filtering beautiful lighting effects.
If you wish to stay at this one-of-a-kind establishment, be sure make use of the Nordic hot tub and sauna and cloth yourself smartly. Although they do provide sleeping bags and comfortable bedding, room temperatures remain between -3°C and -5°C (27°F and 23°F) all night long.