• A One-Night Stay for Two in a Double Bed Room with Nordic Sleeping Bags
• Breakfast for Two
• Access to the Nordic Spa
• Two Welcome Cocktails
All Gratuities Pop-up hotels may be quite trendy in the travel industry right now, but Hôtel de Glace (pronounced oh-tel de glass), which opened in 2001, has a head start and a unique concept: It's North America's first ice hotel.
The structure is a little different each year, but is made from 15,000 tons of snow and 500 tons of ice in a process that lasts a month, leading to the January opening (this year's season is from January 5 to March 24, 2013). Situated just ten minutes from downtown Quebec City, no detail is spared when it comes to icy architecture and décor—archways and columns are carved into the four-feet-thick walls, and intricate frozen sculptures and friezes (no pun intended) are illuminated by colored lights.
Oh, and there's a frozen slide! Upon arrival, take a seat on one of the frozen chairs at the ice bar, where hot chocolate, vodka, Quebec cider drinks, and other warm elixirs are on the menu.
"How many chances do you get to sleep in a hotel built completely of ice?" asks Frommer's. "On a bed of ice, near a chandelier made of ice, after dancing in a disco made of ice, ice, ice?"
While it may seem counterintuitive to pack a bathing suit when you're advised to dress in three specific layers of clothing to protect you against the elements, you'll want to save some space among the scarves and wool socks so you can take advantage of the Nordic Relaxation Area, which features hot tubs and saunas under the stars.
Never slept in an igloo before? No big deal. The staff here is anything but icy, and in addition to a pre-trip prep guide, the concierge gives plenty of heat-efficient tips upon arrival. Snuggled up inside an Arctic sleeping bag atop a mattress, it'll seem crazy that the bed frame is actually made of ice.
In the morning, a hot breakfast (and of course, a warm drink) await in the Celsius Pavillion. And a host of outdoor activities—like cross-country skiing, dog sledding, and snowmobiling—abound. If you need to heat up, head indoors: Quebec City's cobbled streets boast delicious restaurants and museums, historic churches, spas, and theaters worth checking out. Not just for the offbeat adventure traveler, a night at the Hôtel de Glace is totally bucket-list worthy.
PAID AND PROMOTIONAL VALUES EXPIRES ON March 17, 2013
Hôtel de Glace
North America's First Ice Hotel
- from C$334