Canada’s Ice Hotel is playful and awe inspiring in equal measure—a genuine escape to a winter wonderland. Half an hour’s drive west of Quebec, the hotel is in the French-speaking province—hence Hotel de Glace— and open for just three months a year, from January to the start of April. Given the way global warming is going, it is fair to say that your best bet is to be wary of the last couple of weeks of March.
The appearance of the hotel itself is immensely impressive, though its novelty chilliness might get to the more sensitive visitor. Thankfully, if your toes are not quite toasty enough, you can always decamp to the nearby Auberge Duchesny hotel. A visit here is not just about the hotel either. The surrounding area is a playground for those who like snow: dogsledding, snowmobiling, skiing, skating, and massages are all on offer, too. The hotel has been featured in National Geographic, on MTV, and in a number of glossy photo shoots, confirming that it is both an adventurous and fashionable choice.
The hotel is rebuilt every December to different specifications by a team of twenty builders using stainless steel molds. You can expect to see 4-foot-thick (1.2-m) walls and 2-foot-thick (0.6-m) ceilings—all the better to keep the cold out, apparently. Pelts cover ice chairs and ice beds, which are supplied with sleeping bags; rooms are carved with ice sculptures and filled with candles, and there is even a special ice chapel available for weddings.
In the Ice Bar, you can ask for shots in the rocks rather than on them—the glasses are made out of ice themselves—then you can dance the night away on the polished ice dance floor. Our fantasy playlist features Vanilla Ice, Ice-T, and Ice Cube, along with a whole host of chill-out classics.