The Ice Hotel Quebec City

Ice Hotel Quebec CityJust fifteen minutes outside of downtown Quebec is four million dollars worth of ephemeral architecture. And it has the lifespan only twice that of a lightning bug. After only about four months, the Hotel de Glace, which translates to the Ice Hotel, is opened and then melted.


Hotel de Glace


A few years prior to our visit to Quebec City, Marissa and I had traveled up to Tremblant and news of the ice hotel filled her with fantasies of Narnia. Even though my wife insists on raising the heat each night to obscene numbers, she wanted to sleep in this frosted hotel. But, Tremblant was about four hours from the Ice Hotel and we put off our visit.


But this time, her dream was finally realized. And by realized I don’t mean we spent the night, she just realized that it was a more beautiful place to explore during the day and then depart for warmer accommodations.


Ice Hotel Quebec City


Ice Hotel Quebec City


“Has anyone ever stayed here with a baby?” Marissa asked as we pushed our stroller into the cavernous hallway of the hotel.


“The youngest guest was a six-month-old,” said the employee touring us around.


Our daughter Harper sat in her stroller either too cold to express herself or perplexed by the swarms of people and the camera flashes reflecting off the ice.


Ice Hotel Quebec City Hotel de Glace


We entered the rooms, which had nothing more than a curtain over the threshold and a slab of ice in place of a mattress. I could picture the Trip Advisor write-ups: It was a bit cold and even though the mattresses were new, it was hard like a rock.


Ice Hotel Quebec City


Some of the rooms had fireplaces, most had elegant carvings chiseled into the wall. But the real attraction was the bar, where the decorations and action was heightened. Antiquated technology had been sculpted in the form of payphone booths, though it looked more like history had been cryogenically frozen. Even plants were sealed in the translucent brickwork. Everyone seemed to clutch a recyclable ice glass, which was a single drill hole in a cold rectangle. The drill hole had just enough room to hold a chilled shot.


Ice Hotel Quebec City


Kids and adults went down the ice slide and a bride who had married in the chapel, with icy pews covered in animal skins, walked the property with her husband like an attraction for the tourists. It was an ice hotel, certainly, but even with crystal building blocks, it was unclear what Hotel de Glace even was. It had more visitors during the day than the night. It was a tourist trap and a work of art, incredible architecture and miserably cold. It was perennial and momentary.


Ice Hotel Quebec City Hotel de Glace

Posted on by Noah Lederman in Canada & The Caribbean, Somewhere

3 Responses to The Ice Hotel Quebec City

  1. Sam


  2. Holly Hopscotch

    I have always wanted to stay in an ice hotel, even though I had my eye on the one in Finland. Being an American, it seems this one is a much closer option. Your line about Tripadvisor is great, you know despite the name, people probably moan that it is “too cold and drafty”.
    Holly Hopscotch recently posted…Santorini Greece PanoramaMy Profile

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