Hotel de Glace
Are you the type of person who joins the herd conforms to the norm, or someone who enjoys traveling off the beaten path for a unique experience? In the midst of winter, days are short and temperature of -30C and beyond certainly comes as no surprise. The bleak prospect of both pictures put together can be depressing, and sometimes overwhelming. Most people opt to bundle up to keep warm and refrain from long exposure in the brutally cold weather.
Looking at a glass half-full and not half-empty, I believe there are lots of exciting activities out there to be explored in the cold! Miles and I decided on a winter getaway to the winter fairyland—Hotel de Glace (Ice Hotel) in Quebec. As ironic as it may sound, we spent a night in the sub-zero weather! Started in 2001, the ice hotel attracts thousands of visitors from all around the world each year in the freezing cold winter months between January and March to witness this magical world made of pure snow ice! Having used 15,000 tons of snow and 500 tons of ice, Ice Hotel sculptors put in extensive hours of hard work to wow visitors with their remarkable, one-of-a-kind craftsmanship that displays different themes designs each year. This year, the theme is myths and legends from around the world.
Doorways are made from moulds and hauled to the site for assembly. The making of ice blocks is a science. Air is drawn out of moving distilled water in the process of freezing, to ensure water freezes at the same time (as opposed to freezing from outside to inside like household ice cubes). This ingenious idea attributes to crystal-clear characteristic of the ice blocks.
As we ventured into the ice world, we were left speechless and immensely drawn to the picturesque view of the winter wonderland. We were mesmerized by the breathtaking masterpieces and gaped at the variety of intricate designs. Glancing at every nook cranny with the subtle fear of missing the opportunity to scrutinize every single piece of artwork, murmurs of astonishment arose from visitors as we visited from room to room. Every room was so carefully crafted and had its own special way to capture our attention.
600-lb scintillating chandelier is the highlight in the Great Hall. It is supported by a hidden wooden tripod (only non-ice/non-snow item at hotel) from the ceiling.
Ice glass is individually crafted. About 30,000 glasses were made during the 3-month hotel operation. Just in case youre wondering, they dont stick to your lips! Fireplaces can also be found at the hotel. Just before you rush over, please realize that theyre designed not to warm up the place (or its going to be a big meltdown)! In other words, its kind of pointless. However, psychologically, youll be surprise that it helps to warm your heart.
What a fantastic place to get married in the middle of winterthe ice chapel! Even the pews were crafted with ice. Deer/sheep skins were laid to give extra warmth.
The base of ice hotel consists of 4-ft snow, and 2-ft snow for the ceiling. Regardless of outside temperature, the thick snow walls of hotel keep interior temperature between -5 and -3 C. There are 44 rooms this year, 17 of which with unique themes that cater to adventurers of all ages who embrace the challenge to spend the night there. Electrical wire cable in the hotel are connected underground, buried under the snow and have a total length of 60km. All the lights in a room is controlled by a simple on/off switch by the bed railing. Very intriguing design!
Sculpture artwork inspired by the Disney movie Frozen.
The best part of the ice hotel, icy giant slide for all ages!
Nothing beats taking a soak in the hot tub under the stars in -20C weather!
After a hot shower, we retired to bed with a set of dry and clean clothing. Warm socks gloves/mittens were equally important. We were pleased with our spacious, tropical-themed suite ornamented with ocean waves, sailboat, palm trees, flamingo, beach chair, as well as a treasure chest and clam shell with a boombox beside the ice-structured bed.
With a fleece lining inside the arctic sleeping bag, it was surprisingly comfortable. The snow walls were so well insulated that it was pitch silent as we hit the sack. Other than a brief moment of chill through the night that I wished Ive had a second layer of clothing on, we both had a good night sleep.
Waking up in the cozy sleeping bag when the morning rolled around, I could see my breath in the cold air the moment I exhaled. It was a little challenging to don winter coat that was deemed a little stiff (partially frozen) from sitting in the cold room overnight. We were then served a hearty buffet breakfast at the heated building. I was a little reluctant to leave at the end of our trip. It was an eventful trip I was so glad we did it!