Destination Hotels: While everyone is sunning in the Caribbean this winter, why not make them all "blue" with envy when you talk about chilling out in Quebec at the Hôtel de Glace? The hotel of ice is a 30,000-square-foot complex made entirely from 500 tons of ice and 15,000 tons of packed snow. This icy-hot inn provides more thrills than chills for guests who adamantly adhere to the three-layer dress code. Annually the hotel hosts a variety of curious and intrigued travelers who range from eclectic explorers to family vacationers. There are 36 rooms and suites of ice that are artistically decorated with sculptures and thematically inspired wall art intricately etched or swirled into the frozen four-foot-thick walls. This may be as close to an encounter of the surrealistic kind as it gets.
While winter temperatures in Quebec historically drop below zero, it is good to know that the inside the Hôtel de Glace (Hotel of Ice) it never falls below 25 degrees Fahrenheit. However, if the thought of sleeping on ice with minimal creatures comforts is too frigid to ponder, there also is a warm comfy side to this destination hotel. Although all the furnishings and the beds are made of ice and snow, there is a wood bed frame, a mattress, a fleece sheet, and a wool blanket in place for bedding. Additionally, a sleeping bag capable of withstanding a temperature as low as -22 Fahrenheit is provided for all guests.
Fear not- for the toilets are porcelain and part of the heated bathroom facilities. Additionally, Nordic-style hot tub spas are there to add even more warmth to the mix. Hot beverages are on hand and three hot meals are served daily at various times by the warm and friendly staff.
Guided activities outside the hotel include an introduction to wilderness survival, archery lessons, and cross-country skiing at night. Dogsled rides and wildlife tours are available at the nearby Duchesnay Resort- which is not made of ice and packed snow. Real lumberjack camps can be visited too. The hotel's staff can arrange snowmobiling and ice-fishing expeditions, and helicopter tours of Quebec City.
The Hôtel de Glace is open from January to April and must be rebuilt each winter due to the fact that it melts in the summer sun. This is the five-star freezer's eighth frothy year. The 2008 season runs from January 4 to April 1.
For LxM James Rothaar