Image © Renaud Philippe
Image © Renaud Philippe

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.

Image © Renaud Philippe
Image © Renaud Philippe

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.

Image © Renaud Philippe
Image © Renaud Philippe

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.

Image © Renaud Philippe
Image © Renaud Philippe

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.

+ Hôtel de Glace