Just ten minutes from central Québec, this is one of the world’s finest ice hotels complete with intricate frozen friezes, giant columned snow halls and even an ice slide. Having been entirely redesigned in 2016, this is its grandest iteration yet. It’s rebuilt seasonally, so expect new wonders each year as artists and engineers compete in the annual Ephemeral Architecture Contest to construct the most extravagant suite. The overall result has gained film credits from National Geographic, the Discovery Channel and Disney.
The hotel’s restaurant, located in the heated main lodge, is ideal for warming back up. It serves a range of homely favourites perfect for a quick dinner while the Café Celsius dishes up hot soups and other lunches in the ice pavilion. If you’re after something a bit more, there are several excellent fine-dining options in the area including the hotel’s sister restaurant, Le Dijon which serves superb French classics. However, be sure to end your night in the ice bar. Here, mixologist cocktails are served in ice glasses; a drink here is an experience in itself. There’s also maple taffy available from the family run and appropriately titled Sugar Shack.
Rooms are as characterful – and as icy – as the hotel itself. There are chiselled ice cabin rooms, reminiscent of igloos and high-ceilinged, themed delights where carved reliefs depict folklore scenes and ice statues guard over your night’s rest. Designer lighting sets ice crystals aglow with eerie blues as statue eyes can be made to turn red. Our favourite themed roomed has a family of polar bears adorning the walls. In all, beds are formed from sheets of ice while mummy sleeping bags and soft rug mattresses ensure that guests are treated to cosy nights. There are even rooms with crackling fireplaces.
Hotel de Glace is far from a one trick pony. While you can take it easy in the outdoor spas and sauna of the relaxation area, there’s plenty to keep you busy. Nearby, there are snowshoe trails, cross-country skiing circuits, hiking paths and dogsledding experiences. Children are also well catered for with events that include mini climbing walls, inflatables and even a snow fort war. Check ahead for availability. Daily guided tours bring you behind the scenes of the hotel’s construction as you learn how artists work with their unique material.