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Reviewed 6 March 2012

How to build an ice hotel from scratch? Begin with 15,000 tons of snow and 500 tons of ice. Just 10 minutes from Quebec’s city centre, the Ice Hotel is like sleeping in a child’s dream. Each room features elaborate carvings and furniture sculpted from ice in the style of Dr. Seuss meets Edward Scissorhands.

After prowling around all 36 rooms (guests and the public are allowed to have a sneak peek during the day), choosing the premium suite with the fireplace was a brilliant move. The cheapest rooms are generic and budget-looking with no wall carvings or mood lighting. They look like amateur attempts at igloo building. Like ice hostels. For the extra dollars (really, how many times are you going to sleep in an ice hotel anyway?) go big. If you want to go even bigger, there’s a premium deluxe theme suite with its own private hot tub. Now that’s red carpet. Bigger yet? Get married in the Ice Hotel’s wedding chapel–you’ll be guaranteed to have cold feet for sure.

The famed Ice Bar (one of two bars in the hotel) serves up Caribou (mulled red wine or port with whiskey and maple syrup) in a square glass fancily chiselled out of ice. This winter, the cavernous bar was transformed into a frozen underwater sanctuary with life-size whales, sharks and beady-eyed fish lurking overhead. The biodiversity theme stretched into the suites with elaborate feathers and frogs etched deep into the ice walls. Ambient uplighting and ice chandeliers added unexpected warmth to the frigid frontier. As though you were walking through the middle of fallen aurora borealis.

I thought we might perish in the night due to hypothermia, but, staying submerged in the “Nordic Relaxation Area” of steaming outdoor hot tubs and a sauna that looked like a giant whiskey barrel was a savvy survival tactic. The Celsius Pavilion also offered a warmer clime to regain feeling in numb feet, and to cradle wine without mitts by the fire.

And yes, the bed is made of ice! Buried in furs and hides and thermal sleeping bags with a real fire at the foot of your bed, you’ll barely take notice. Maybe, in the morning, when snow is gently falling inside the room through the small fireplace flue opening, you will remember that you’re sleeping in an igloo.

For the anxious: When you book a night at the Hotel de Glace, you also have full access to a room at the Sheraton Four Points (a 10 minute shuttle from the Ice Hotel). Guests check in at the Sheraton first as access to your room at the Ice Hotel isn’t an option until 9pm (after you have taken the strict and comical orientation of How to Survive the Night and More Importantly, How to Get Into Your Sleeping Bag). One New York couple opted to take the 24-hour shuttle back to the Sheraton, finding the -3 temperatures a bit too disturbing. Others simply crashed out on the couches in the Celsius. Cheaters.

*The Sheraton is rather remote, so you will be forced into eating at the semi-posh hotel resto, Le Dijon, unless you order in from the slim selection of pizza & chicken wing joints or taxi into “town.” The French Onion soup is warming but not enough. And the scallops come in a shot glass with a blade of grass. Not really, but, close.

You can also place delivery orders from the Ice Hotel, and the Celsius Pavilion has a snack bar leaning more towards sugary fare and the likes of hot cocoa. Better yet, pack your own snacks and booze. And Hot Shots for your boots. And Fireball whiskey.

The 2012 theme is Northern Quebec and First Nations North. Open January 6th—March 25th, 2012.

Cha-ching: Room rates begin at $200/person including use of sleeping bag, welcome cocktail and breakfast at Le Dijon, hotel room at Sheraton and basic room. Themed rooms with fireplace: $700, tax included.

Room Tip: For the additional fee, do book a theme room with fireplace over the basic rooms.
  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank jtorti7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 March 2012

We did not stay overnight but we went to visit this hotel. This is just the greatest place to visit. Just beautiful. If you are around you need to go and spend time here, well worth the money to get in to visit. The bar was great, the drinks are served in ice glasses which were very neat. The staff was so friendly. I'm sure even staying overnight must have been a great experience.

Room Tip: Some rooms we saw had fireplaces, those looked very cozy..
  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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3  Thank NADIADON
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 February 2012

My wife and I stayed here and absolutely loved the experience.

If you follow the instructions given you will stay plenty warm. Make sure to bring with you non-cotton underwear (such as a synthetic sports shirt, polar fleece, etc) and of course your bathing suit for the spa. Sitting in a hot spa in the chilling outdoors weather is really fun.

Just a "standard" room will do the trick since once you are all wrapped up in the sleeping bag, you will not see much anyway. The rooms are so quiet (walls are +-4ft thick we were told that the only thing you can hear is your heart beating ... amazing.

We are very glad to have experienced this unique place and highly recommend it to anyone who is a adventurous enough to sleep in an ice hotel. Be sure to check out the chapel ; its amazing!

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Roombaguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 February 2012

Nothing here was overstated. No touristy degradations designed to make money. The design was not infected modern rooms with all the amenities the discerning guest expects. This, in every sense of the words, was an Ice Hotel. The entire building-every wall, every entrance, hallway, room, the chapel, the entire bar, the seats, were out of ice and snow. The rooms themselves had a thin but very comfortable mattress on top of a solid bed of ice with lighting built into the base that you can switch on and off. An information session teaches you how to sleep in the rooms-which include the use of a negative temperature sleeping bag, where to put belongings to prevent freezing, etc. This session is mandatory, even for locals because-as the guide Sophie put it-when sleeping in a hotel of solid ice, you have to forget everything you know about staying in a hotel. The only belongings you really want to bring in the room with you are your boots, snow gear, and whatever you want to sleep in (they recommend synthetics, we used under armor-style thermals) any electronics have to be kept in the bag with you, and the rest, except boots, goes into a waterproof bag. The bathrooms nearest the hotel are essentially heated port-o-johns, so use the ones in the celsius building instead. How was the sleep? Amazing. Seriously. It's expensive yes, but people who didn't think it was worth the money, probably didn't spend the money. It is SO worth it. (note: the address they have listed here is incorrect. It is at the old zoo this year, in Quebec City. Also city bus 801 goes nearly right there and is only 3.00 a ticket, saves a lot vs. the shuttle.)

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank cmekde
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 February 2012

There were 4 couples that stayed in the Ice Hotel - if you do as they instruct, you are warm and in fact, they had to wake us up! It is really beautiful - a great one time experience! There are full locker rooms - which would have been good to know! There was only one bartender, and we kept her hopping. It was snowing in the morning, so beatiful! I think we would go back to visit, but I don't think I would stay again. They did have games and some activities - a scavanger hunt and ice carving - but not much else to do but check out the rooms and hang at the bar - and of course the suana and spas -

Room Tip: pick rooms closer to the warming center!
  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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Thank pghlawyer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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