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The coldest hotel in Canada

Every winter, just outside Quebec, the Hotel de Glace is freshly constructed from ice and snow.

Hotel de Glace, Canada © Luc Rousseau

Have you ever spent the night in sub zero temperatures? Unless you’re a hardened outdoors camping type, probably not. Luckily, you can ditch the tent and grab your bragging rights at the Hotel de Glace, where the temperature never rises above freezing.

Hotel de Glace, Canada ©Renaud Philippe

Freshly built each winter

The Hotel de Glace is perhaps the most unique hotel in Canada. It’s also got one of the shortest seasons, being open for only three months a year. Located just outside Quebec City on the site of Valcartier Vacation Village, the hotel is the first (and only) true ice hotel in North America.

Every winter Hotel de Glace is rebuilt from scratch, before melting away entirely by spring. The design changes each time, with rooms and features added as it grows in popularity as one of Quebec’s premier seasonal attractions. It’s constructed over a period of six weeks, using specially designed moulds and snow machines. Last year over 30,000 tons of snow and 500 tons of ice were used.

You’ll need to be quick to secure a night in this icy lodge; this once-in-a-lifetime experience books out quickly each season. The hotel has 44 rooms and suites, and everything is made of ice, right down to the bed itself. Rooms range in size, but each one is unique with its own ice furniture and intricate ice sculptures carved out by a dedicated team of 15 people during construction. Some rooms even have a fireplace, but it’s strictly for show, not warmth – you wouldn’t want your room melting on top of you as you slept!

Hotel de Glace, Canada ©

Sleep comfortably in sub-zero temperatures

Before you can bunk down for the night you’ll need to attend an official briefing on how to stay warm. Guests are instructed to not wear anything made of natural fibres that could absorb sweat, as well as how to store belongings so nothing ends up frozen solid. Bedding comes in the form of mummy-style sleeping bags so you stay nice and toasty all night (provided you don’t need to visit the bathroom at 3am). If you do need to warm up, you’ll have access to open-air hot tubs and a spa that is, thankfully, fully insulated.

Over 50,000 people also visit the hotel each year just for a tour of the amazing frozen architecture, and to have a drink in the sub-zero Ice Bar. You’ll even get your drink served to you in a glass made entirely of ice. Be warned though – the bar is so cold they need to keep the drinks in a fridge so they don’t freeze solid!

If you fancy a frozen wedding, Hotel de Glace also has a chapel that hosts picture-perfect weddings. You’ll need to book in early though; as you can imagine, it’s a popular place to tie the knot. Forward planning does pay off, because you’re guaranteed to have incredible photos!

Don’t be left out in the cold if your travel plans get abruptly put on ice. Make sure you’re covered by travel insurance from Medibank.

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