How to Survive a Night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

How to survive a night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

It’s one of those dreamy bucket list items. Check into the Quebec Ice Hotel!

The Quebec Ice Hotel, otherwise known as Hotel de Glace, is a magical world of snow and ice. You can spend the day or stay the night in an ice room of your very own. There’s really nothing like staying overnight at an ice hotel. Hotel de Glace is the only ice hotel in North America, and it’s about 30 minutes outside of Quebec City.

Do you have what it takes to stay the night at the Quebec Ice Hotel? As long as you follow a few directions, just about anyone can stay overnight and have an incredible experience.

How to survive a night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

DO: TAKE A TOUR

Even if you only travel to the Quebec Ice Hotel for the day, you should definitely take a tour of the property. Every year, the hotel is completely redesigned and built from the ground up. After all, it is made of ice and Quebec City gets quite hot in the summer! There is a new theme each year. In 2017, the theme is Northern Perspectives. Discover the enchanting North Pole and Arctic Circle through intricate ice carvings.

The Quebec Ice Hotel is open from the beginning of January until the end of March, depending on the weather conditions. The buildings and hotel rooms are built in stages, adding more and more until the end of January when the construction stage is complete.

Guests have private access to their hotel rooms from 9:00pm to 9:00am. From 10:00am until 8:00pm, the rooms are open for public tours. Along with the hotel rooms, there are several communal areas where you’ll have lots of fun exploring a world made entirely of ice.

How to survive a night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

How to survive a night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

There’s the Grand Hall, a room filled with many ice sculptures. There’s even an ice chandelier! Absolutely everything here is made out of snow and ice. I still can’t quite wrap my mind around that important fact. Every sculpture, structure, doorway, and pillar is made from solid ice.

How to survive the night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

How to survive the night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

How to survive the night at the Quebec Ice Hotel
Looking directly up at the ice chandelier

 

Take a ride down the ice slide. For a speedier ride, be sure to wear your snow pants! Like the entire hotel, the ice slide is redesigned every year and fits in with the overall Nordic theme. The ice slide looks like a Viking ship.

How to survive the night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

How to survive the night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

There’s even a wedding chapel made completely of ice. You can get married at the Hotel de Glace, which would be a truly magical experience.

How to survive the night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

 

How to survive the night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

DO: ATTEND THE INFORMATION SESSION

There’s information on the website, as well as an in-person meeting, about how to prepare to sleep at the ice hotel. Do not skip this session. It’s very important that you know how to dress properly and prepare for the conditions. You’re advised to wear three layers to allow humidity to escape your body while staying protected from the elements. Don’t forget to pack your hat, mittens, scarf, and boots.

Although your bed is made of ice, you sleep on a mattress on top of the ice frame. A pillow and a sleeping bag are delivered to your room when it’s time to settle in for the night.

The room stays between -3°C and -5°C no matter what the weather is like outdoors. The sleeping bags are suited for temperatures between -15°C and -30°C, so you’ll have no trouble staying warm as long as you can follow directions.

Here’s a tour of our room at the Quebec Ice Hotel. There’s an ice bed, an ice table, and a candle. Some rooms are even fancier with their own ice sculptures, a decorative fireplace, and there’s even a room with its own hot tub.

How to survive the night at the Quebec Ice Hotel
The hallway to our room. Each room has a curtain in front of it.

 

How to survive the night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

How to survive the night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

How to survive the night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

DON’T: DRINK TOO MUCH AT THE ICE BAR

Enjoy a drink or two at the ice bar. Trust me on this one – you’re not going to want to drink too much. Once you’re all bundled up in your sleeping bag, you’re not going to want to get up multiple times to use the bathroom! One or two drinks is enough to partake in the fun without overdoing it.

There are actually three ice bars at the Hotel de Glace. Each room has intricate and unique carvings. There’s one working fireplace – don’t worry, it’s installed so the building won’t melt. The other fireplaces you’ll see around the Ice Hotel are purely decorative.

And of course, even the glasses for drinks are made out of ice.

How to survive the night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

How to survive the night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

How to survive the night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

How to survive the night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

How to survive the night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

DO: TRY CARVING A BLOCK OF ICE

For guests staying overnight at the Quebec Ice Hotel, we were able to try our hand at ice carving. Small blocks of ice were placed at tables near one of the ice bars. We used hand tools to chip away at the ice blocks. I wasn’t quite sure what I was trying to make until the ice started to take shape.

Let me tell you, ice carving is a LOT tougher than it looks. As I chipped away at the ice block, frozen shavings were flying all over the place.  I tried to carve an ice heart, and it ended up looking somewhat like a heart by the time I was finished. Justin wasn’t quite sure what he was trying to create. He ended up with a curved piece of ice. We were both pretty proud that we managed to carve anything at all!

This activity was a lot of fun and I highly recommend that you give it a shot.

How to survive a night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

How to survive a night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

How to survive a night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

How to survive a night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

How to survive a night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

How to survive a night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

DO: WARM UP BEFORE YOU SLEEP

All overnight guests have access to the outdoor spas and saunas. Put on your bathing suit and soak in one of the hot tubs. Make sure your body is thoroughly warmed up before you go to sleep. Completely dry yourself off and change into your layers of dry clothing. Don’t go to sleep with wet hair as it might freeze.

The spas and saunas are open all night long so you can go for a dip whenever you’d like.

How to survive a night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

How to survive a night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

How to survive a night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

DON’T: BRING YOUR BELONGINGS INTO THE ICE HOTEL

The Hotel de Glace is open to the public until 9:00pm, and you must vacate your room by 9:00am. You don’t want to bring your electronics into your ice room as the batteries will quickly die from the cold temperatures. Where do you keep your belongings during your stay?

Thankfully, when you stay at the Hotel de Glace, you also get a regular hotel room at the neighbouring Valcartier Hotel. You can store your bags, clothing, and electronics there safely and securely. It’s a regular, comfortable hotel room where you can take a hot shower, use the bathroom, watch TV, and even sleep. Yes, if you decide that you don’t want to sleep for the full night on an ice bed, you can retreat to your Valcartier hotel room.

After you enjoy the hot tub and sauna, go back to your hotel room to dry off completely. Change into your overnight clothing and only bring what you need to the Ice Hotel.

The Valcartier Hotel is part of the exciting Village Vacances Valcartier. There’s an outdoor snow tubing park and an indoor water park. We had a thrilling day at the snow tubing park following our overnight stay at the Ice Hotel. I’ll be writing about that experience very soon. Stay tuned!

How to survive a night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

How to survive a night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

How to survive a night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

HOW WAS OUR OVERNIGHT STAY?

Surprisingly, we weren’t that cold! We bundled up in our layers of clothing, hats, and scarves. Then, we climbed into our sleeping bags and zipped ourselves up tightly. There was only a small opening in the sleeping bag for my face. The sleeping bags retained our body heat really well.

Justin managed to get some sleep. On the other hand, I didn’t sleep much. This had absolutely nothing to do with the cold temperatures or the fact that I was sleeping on a bed of ice. The mattress was quite comfortable. I just like to sleep in very strange positions. I usually put my hands around my pillow behind my head. I like to stretch my legs out in odd ways. As I was completely constrained inside the sleeping bag, I just couldn’t get comfortable. I tossed and turned.

We lost all concept of time. After some hours went by, Justin was awake. I whispered to him, “Do you want to go back to the hotel room?” He replied, “Yes, let’s go.”

We put our boots and winter coats back on and vacated the ice room. It was actually already light outside. As it turned out, it was 7:00am. We stayed the full night in the ice room, surviving a night at the Ice Hotel.

With that said, we went back to the Valcartier hotel room and had a snooze for a couple of hours before we had to check out.

How to survive a night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

WOULD WE RECOMMEND THIS?

Absolutely! We highly recommend staying overnight at the Quebec Ice Hotel. It was an adventure that we’ll remember for the rest of our lives. There’s nothing like sleeping in a room made completely from snow and ice. Drinking at the ice bar, flying down the ice slide, and marveling at the dazzling ice sculptures was such a unique experience. It’s the only Ice Hotel in North America, and it’s worth the trip. Even though I didn’t have a restful sleep, I totally loved the whole experience. I would gladly miss out on a little sleep if it meant having a room of ice to call my very own.

Check this item off your bucket list. Definitely stay at the Hotel de Glace.

Want to see more photos from the Quebec Ice Hotel, the Quebec Winter Carnival, and our entire winter trip to Quebec City? Check out our Quebec travel photo album!

 

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Hotel de Glace 46.944386, -71.476007 How to Survive a Night at the Quebec Ice Hotel (Directions)

 

Hotel de Glace

1860 Boulevard Valcartier

Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier, Quebec, Canada

Official Website

 

How to survive a night at the Quebec Ice Hotel

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Disclaimer: We were guests of the Hotel de Glace and Quebec Tourism. Our opinions, as always, are entirely our own.

Have you ever stayed or visited here? Have you had an interesting or unique hotel experience?

23 Responses

  1. The Adventure Ahead
    | Reply

    I have never heard of this before, but it sounds amazing. I think our kids would absolutely love the idea of sleeping in a room made of ice – although we may want to make it an adults only trip so we could partake in the ice bar ;). Those glasses made of ice are so fun!
    The Adventure Ahead recently posted…Exploring a Galaxy, Far, Far AwayMy Profile

  2. Shere
    | Reply

    It looks great. I’m courius, where is the toilet? 🙂 I always need to go once at night (breastfeeding makes you thirsty and drinking lots of water makes you going to the toilet)
    Shere recently posted…Itinerary and costs for 3 weeks campervan trip in Norway with childrenMy Profile

    • Lauren
      Lauren
      | Reply

      Ha! We wondered that too before we went. Maybe I should re-write the blog post to be a little more clear. There are bathrooms a few steps away in the main building where there are change rooms, etc. There’s also a bathroom in your own “back-up” hotel room. Otherwise, there’s a port-a-potty outside the ice rooms for emergencies.
      Lauren recently posted…Why You Must Experience the Quebec Winter CarnivalMy Profile

  3. Lara Dunning
    | Reply

    I was wondering the same thing Shere was. Where is the bathroom? Is it made of ice too? That’s interesting you also get a regular hotel room with your stay. It’d be fun to learn the stats of how many people stay the full night. I would be up for doing this, but the hubs hates the cold, so he’d definitely choose the room. I really appreciate all the information and details of this post. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Lauren
      Lauren
      | Reply

      LOL. No ice toilets 😉 Justin and I had a joke before we left that there are ice toilets and some poor person has to spend their day carving out new ice toilets for after every time someone went to the bathroom. We are children, apparently 😛 There’s a bathroom really close by in the main building where there are change rooms, etc. There’s also a bathroom back in your own room, which is not far either – about 5 minutes away by the time you walk back, go up the elevator to your room. And then there are back-up port-a-potties for emergencies located just outside the ice rooms.

      It’s great having a back-up regular hotel room just in case you don’t want to stay in the ice room any longer! I feel like most people stay the full night…or at least like us, until 7:00am or so 😉
      Lauren recently posted…Reasons to Fall in Love with Las Alamandas MexicoMy Profile

  4. Magda
    | Reply

    Wow, it looks so great! Must try this in Lapland while admiring Northen Lights 😉 A dream!

  5. Sarah
    | Reply

    What cool post, no pun intended. This is the most comprehensive ice hotel post I’ve read, so really appreciate the information. I hate the cold, but my husband really wants to do this one day so it’s nice to know what to expect.

  6. Sutee
    | Reply

    Wow, three bars! What were the cocktails like? Ice is one of the most important ingredients of a well-made cocktail. They have that covered!

  7. Becky
    | Reply

    Oh my goodness! I would LOVE to stay in the ice hotel! That is definitely an experience one will never forget! Definitely want to try all those things, especially the slide and carving into an ice block.

  8. jill
    | Reply

    This looks amazing! I’ve never been to Quebec in the winter but if I go I’d definitely book a stay here. Wow!

  9. Sheena
    | Reply

    Oh wow, I didn’t know there was an Ice Hotel in Quebec – I think I am due back for a visit 🙂 I’ve been to Snow & Ice festival in Harbin, China and have stayed in a salt hotel in Bolivia but this looks like something else – I love that it has lots of things to do & experience and then you can go back & stay warm in a really comfortable room 🙂

  10. […] experienced the magic of Winter Carnival (Carnaval de Quebec), stayed overnight at the Ice Hotel (Hotel de Glace), went snow tubing at Village Vacances Valcartier, went flying down the Toboggan […]

  11. Michele {Malaysian Meanders}
    | Reply

    I was really questioning whether or not I could ever spend the night in an ice hotel. I’m from Texas and don’t handle cold very well. Knowing that there’s a backup plan of staying in a regular hotel next door has moved this experience into the realm of possibility for me now. I’d love to try my hand at ice carving and would definitely at least be up for being one of the touring public.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted…Spy vs. Spy at the International Spy MuseumMy Profile

  12. The Curious Creature
    | Reply

    Such a great recap friends!! Love the “don’t drink too much” tip #washroomproblems lol. So glad we got to share this trip!!

  13. Doreen Pendgracs
    | Reply

    Thank you for this wonderful post, Lauren. I’ve heard a lot about the Ice Hotel, but had never seen such detailed pics of it. It’s reassuring to know that there is a regular hotel that partners with the Ice Hotel so that guests can enjoy more traditional amenities.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…celebrating Chocolate Mint Day with Mordens’ ChocolateMy Profile

  14. Sandy
    | Reply

    This looks absolutely amazing! Love your photos as it gives a good perspective of what it’s like there. Great tips also! I’ve always wondered how people spend the night there but now it all makes sense. I had no idea it was all part of the Valcartier Hotel! Glad you had such a great time!

  15. Alison
    | Reply

    Bravo to you for surviving the whole night. I’m not sure I could do it, but the hot tub and sauna do make it more tempting!
    Alison recently posted…The 30 Best Travel Experiences of my 30sMy Profile

  16. Rob+Ann @TravelLatte(.net)
    | Reply

    It is very pretty, and the snow and ice carvings are amazing. I’ve always wanted to try it, even though I’m not very artistic. I will be sure I have some idea of what to carve before going, though your heart turned out very nice! Seems like a really fun experience – can’t wait to go see for ourselves!
    Rob+Ann @TravelLatte(.net) recently posted…How Disney World Changed My Travel StyleMy Profile

  17. Arienne
    | Reply

    I had the chance to visit the Hotel de Glace last year and was blown away! I couldn’t believe what they were able to build with just ice and snow. Next time, I’m spending the night 😀

  18. Lydia C. Lee
    | Reply

    That’s so pretty!!

  19. […] And to top it all off, Quebec’s Ice Hotel is on the property of Village Vacances Valcartier. Even if you’re not staying the night at Hotel de Glace, you can take a tour to check out the various rooms and ice sculptures. However, if you are interested in staying the night, you should check out our full review of our Ice Hotel overnight experience. […]

  20. Renate
    | Reply

    Shooting a wedding at this venue is on top of my bucket list! It just so pretty!

  21. […] How to Survive a Night in Quebec’s Ice Hotel […]

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