It’s March but the snow keeps coming in New York. So what better time to discuss the Ice Hotel? The one I want to talk specifically about is the Ice Hotel just outside of Quebec City, and it is a must-go-to destination if you find yourself in French Canada over the winter!
The Ice Hotel is open until March 25, so do something spontaneous and visit! For the mid-winter break around President’s Day, we were looking for a close-enough destination that would avoid traveling headaches but was quite different from New York City. After much research, Quebec City checked all the boxes: cultural, different, an hour’s plane ride from Newark. Also, because of the copious amounts of snow that Quebec gets in the winter, hotel prices seemed a bit more affordable during our target time. However, Quebec City is a winter wonderland and has amazing winter activities including the famed Winter Carnival, which was over the weekend before we traveled. So, prices were cheaper compared to had we chosen to travel over Christmas or the Winter Carnival.
Anyway, it was cold – but then again, it’s no biggie if you’re from a cold climate yourself. Also, the right outerwear will keep you snug. We stayed at the gorgeous Chateau Frontenac ( I will blog about that later), and the stay was truly magical. It’s worth splashing out a little extra for a ‘City view’ room, which gets you a lovely view. We got our flights and room package from Expedia.
Before we went, we researched the Ice Hotel or ‘Hotel De Glace‘ online and were determined to visit. Our hotel had a travel desk where we got our shuttle tickets to the Ice Hotel (but you can do that online at this site). There is a stop right outside Chateau Frontenac and the tour started at 12:30 pm. We boarded a comfortable tour bus and then the driver (who doubled up as our guide) kept us informed and entertained as the bus sped on the highway for about 40 minutes to the Valcartier Vacation Village, where the Ice Hotel is currently hosted.
The lowdown on the Ice Hotel
The Ice Hotel is every bit as impressive as it promises to be. We were taken by the scale and intricacy of its design. Stunning ice sculptures were at every turn and corner. There is a wedding chapel opposite it which is beautiful. Right before the official Ice Hotel tour, we were given about an hour to explore on our own and that time whizzed by, mainly at the Ice Bar within! It was mind-blowing!! Drinks were served in beautifully sculpted ice glasses, there were ice tables and benches with mock-animal skin blankets, a mock-fireplace, a dance floor, music – you name it! We celebrated by ordering champagne in ice glasses – check out the images!
With drink in hand, we meandered through many corridors to explore hotel accommodation with uniquely designed rooms, such as those honoring the Lunar New Year or depicting popular fairytales. People actually stay here, and I wouldn’t mind doing that at some point once our daughter is older. Wouldn’t that be a cool experience :)?
If you do go with the same company we did, be sure to spend time at the bar beforehand and explore yourself. The official tour is about 20 mins long and ends about 10 minutes before you need to board your bus, so trying the bar then would feel a little stressed. Some people on our tour didn’t do it at the beginning, but because of the limited time had to skip the bar at the end, and were not pleased.
Did I mention this place has an in-house ice slide? I kid you not – you will be hooked like a kid once you try it, it is SO much fun! I think my daughter tried it ten times, and I, nine!
So there it is – the Ice Hotel in Quebec City is open until March 25th 2018. Have you stayed? Any tips? Perhaps you’ve been to a different Ice Hotel? Share in the Comments section and have a great weekend!