Monday, February 8, 2010

Station Touristique Duchesnay: Hôtel de Glace "Ice Hotel"

Hôtel de Glace (Ice Hotel) is one of the "coolest" hotel you will ever sleep in, LITERALLY! A trip to  Québec would not be complete without seeing this impressive hotel made purely of ice. Hotel de Glace is erected fresh and new every year with a new theme and architecture to entice and impress even the most jaded urbanite.

Upon arriving to The Ice Hotel you will be truly impressed! It is massive and beautiful! The question was; would I be able to endure the cold? Afterall, I've never been inside a giant freezer. But, hey how cold could it actually be? Um... yeah.

The Chapel hosts many Winter fairytale weddings every year.

Entering this fabulous life size ice sculpture was an adventure in itself. Clear ice walls that look like crystal, ice chairs,  ice bar, ice cups, ice floor, ice ceiling, ice slide, ice, ice and more ice! An unbelievable spectacle that must be seen in person to be appreciated. So bundle-up because there's no escape, well unless you run next door to the Auberge Duchesnay Hotel to warm-up. But this is an adventure, so wear your long underwear and your warmest water-proof winter pants and jacket and never stand still. MUST GENERATE BODY HEAT!
The Ice Hotel has a small heated building sectioned off to the side which houses the bathrooms and lockers. Outside is also the hot tub area amidst the surrounding beauty of nature. There is a scheduled information session that every overnight guest must attend which explains the sleeping procedure. Everything from what to wear (nude being the best option) to how-to open and get into your sleeping bag. But the night was still young...

The night started with drinks at the Ice Bar, shots of Caribou served in pure ice cups and dancing on the ice dance floor and when tired relaxing in what else, but ice chairs. There was an ice sculpting contest and scavenger hunt too. There is a fireplace but it is purely decorative since no heat is aloud for structural reasons. The hotel must be keeped under freezing temperature at all times. IT IS COLD! But, it is colder outside since wind is not a factor once indoors. So party it up! Roam the halls, check out the decor and remember it's all made of  ICE! And don't lick the walls.

BED TIME. Each room is decorated in themes. Mine was the VOTEX Suite.  There was an ice bed, table and chairs. Florescent lights add a mystic Je ne sais quoi that completes the mood. The ice bed has a wood board to keep you dry. Artic sleeping bags are provided by the Ice Hotel. Once in the sleeping bag, you are border line HOT! Except your face since it is exposed to the cold elements. I dove into my bag, zipped-it all the way up... face and all. Getting any real sleep varies person to person. We didn't get much more than an hour sleep total because we were too hyped-up on adrenaline and too excited. But there was a silence in the halls as if everyone was having the best night sleep of their lives.

A trip to Québec is not complete without visiting Station Touristique Duchesnay in Sainte Catherine de la Jacques Cartier, only a 30 minutes drive from Québec City. Here you will find everything you need for your winter eco-adventure, such as dog sledding, snowing shoeing, cross country skiing and Hôtel de Glace (The Ice Hotel), which without doubt will be one of the "coolest" places you will ever visit.

75, Montée de l’Auberge, Pavillon Ukiuk
Station Touristique Duchesnay
Québec Canada G3N 2Y5
Tel.: 418-875-4522
Toll free: 1-877-505-0423
Fax: 418-875-2833

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