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Staying in North Americas Only Ice Hotel (Hôtel de Glace) in Quebec, Canada - Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting

Ice Hotel (Hôtel de Glace) Blog Cover

Crafted entirely from ice and snow, the Hôtel de Glace in Quebec, Canada stands as a stunning testament to architectural ingenuity and winter enchantment. Each year, starting in early December, more than 50 skilled artisans and sculptors work around the clock for 6 weeks straight to transform 2,400 blocks of ice and 40,000 tons of snow into a breathtaking display of frozen artistry, with intricate ice sculptures, towering ice walls, and beautifully carved suites. And yes, the entire hotel, including its walls, ceilings, and furniture, is made entirely of ice! Once completed, the ice hotel is open from early January to late March when spring weather rolls in. Being a temporary structure, the design and theme of the hotel change each year, offering visitors a unique experience every time they visit. Past themes have included Under the Sea, Viking Adventure, and Fairy Tales. Even if you're not staying overnight, you can take a self-guided tour of the Hôtel de Glace during the day to explore its stunning architecture and artistic features, and even have a drink at the ice bar!

We had the pleasure of staying at the Hôtel de Glace for the first time in 2024 and want to share some of the top things you should know before your stay to ensure that it’s an enjoyable experience!

Be sure to check out our Ice Hotel vlog for a closer look at our experience!

⬇️ Book your Hôtel de Glace experience with GetYourGuide! ⬇️


Now that the basics are covered, let's get into what it's like to stay overnight in the Ice Hotel!

Reservations: Due to its popularity and limited rooms (42 in total), we recommend booking your stay at the Ice Hotel well in advance to ensure that there is availability for your preferred dates. Reservations can be made HERE through our favorite tour/activity provider, GetYourGuide. Also, you should know that when you reserve a room in the Ice Hotel, you receive a room in the Hôtel Valcartier as well. This way you have somewhere to store your luggage, shower, warm up from the cold, and, if worse comes to worst, abandon the ice hotel room and retreat to a warm, cozy bed… Just be sure to notify the front desk if you do decide to abandon your ice room.

Getting to the Ice Hotel: While staying at the Ice Hotel is a popular experience for those visiting Quebec City, the Ice Hotel is actually 20 miles (32km) outside of the city. That said, getting to the ice hotel can be a little pricey, but there are a few options for you to consider depending on your needs. First, is taking a roundtrip shuttle, but this option is only good if you are just taking a day trip and don’t intend to stay the night. For those planning to stay the night at the Ice Hotel, we recommend either Uber or Taxi Coop and compare the price between the two, because sometimes one will be significantly cheaper than the other.

Check-in: Check-in for the Ice Hotel, which takes place at the Hôtel Valcartier front desk, begins at 4pm and is no different than any other hotel check-in. If you do arrive early like we did, it’s worth asking if they have your Hôtel Valcartier room ready. We were allowed to check in 2 hours earlier than planned which was super kind and generous of them. 

Main entrance to the Ice Hotel AKA Hôtel de Glace

Explore the Property: Once you get checked in, we encourage you to visit the Hôtel de Glace and check out your assigned ice room before 8pm. From 8pm to 9pm the ice rooms are prepped for guests and at 9pm guests are allowed to enter their ice room for the night. And while you’re waiting for your ice room to be ready, we suggest taking advantage of the legendary ice bar in the Ice Hotel! They offer a wide selection of delicious cocktails as well as mocktails and other non-alcoholic beverages, all served in ice glasses, and with your ice hotel booking you’ll receive a voucher for a free cocktail for each guest ($12CAD value per person)! At some point, you will need to eat dinner, fortunately, there are a few dining options on site (Villaggio, Resto Safari, & Chalet Sportif) that are attached to the Hôtel Valcartier. Unfortunately, none of them are anything to write home about. That said, the highest rated and most recommended dining option is Villagio, serving Pizza and Pasta. From our experience, the food was adequate and the service was excellent. No complaints here!

Ice Bar and Cocktails in the Ice Hotel (Hôtel de Glace), plus pizza from Villaggio

Nordic Area (Sauna and Hot Tubs): From 9pm to 9am the sauna and hot tubs are open to Ice Hotel guests and offer a relaxing way to warm up and raise your internal body temperature in preparation for the overnight stay in you ice room. We saw a lot of guests not taking advantage of this amenity, but it was honestly one of our favorite parts of the entire experience, so pack a swimsuit and flip-flops, because we highly recommend this part of the experience!

What to Wear: Now that you’re all warmed up, make sure to dry off really well, and it’s time to get dressed for the night! As a good rule of thumb, as with any cold environment, we recommend wearing either wool or synthetic material clothing designed to wick moisture. Avoid wearing any cotton material as it retains moisture which will result in a cold and uncomfortable experience. Here’s a list of items that we recommend for colder climates ➡️Our Winter Essentials ⬅️ It’s very important not to dress too warm when preparing to sleep in the Ice Hotel as that will create sweat which will then transform into humidity and will cause you to be cold. As for what we wore to our ice room, we started with clean, dry socks, a fresh synthetic or Merino wool base layer, winter hat, gloves, and then our outer layers (winter jacket/parka, snow pants, & snow boots). Once we arrived in our ice room, we stripped the outer layer and slept in just the base layer.

Sauna at the Hôtel de Glace Arctic Spa

Bedding: One of the first questions we get asked when we tell people that we stayed in and ice hotel is “Is the bed made of ice too?!” and “How did you stay warm?!”. Well, thankfully, even though the hotel and its furniture are entirely made of ice and snow, guests are provided with a very comfortable bed… Not made of ice! Blocks of ice do make the base of the bed but that base is topped with a solid wood platform and a comfortable mattress. Each guest is also provided with a cozy sleeping bag, an isolating bed sheet (sleeping bag liner), and a pillow which will be waiting on you in your ice room when you arrive. And even though the room temperature stays between 27°F and 23°F (-3°C and -5°C), regardless of the outdoor temperature, the sleeping bags are made to keep you warm in temperatures between 5°F to 22°F (-15°C and -30°C).

Side Note: if you think you need a special sleeping bag (non-standard size), you will need to notify the reservation department by calling the following number: 1 (888) 384-5524. I wasn’t aware that this was an option during our stay and ended up having to sleep in a standard-sized bag when I needed a “long” bag. It wasn’t terrible, but having the correct sized sleeping bag would have made for a more enjoyable experience. So, if you’re anything over 6 feet tall, I recommend requesting a larger sleeping bag.

Settle In: Once you’ve opened your bag containing your bedding, it’s time to get settled in for the night! You’ll want to remove your outer layer (jacket & pants) and place them in the bag that your bedding was in. We’ve also heard that some people sleep on top of those items so that they aren’t as cold when putting them back on in the morning, but we didn’t do that. Also, if you wear glasses, you’ll need to place those in your jacket pocket or somewhere safe. Just don’t put them on the nightstand because they can melt the ice and end up getting stuck! Once you’ve gotten all of your loose articles put away, you hop into your sleeping bag liner, then slide into your sleeping bag and zip up! Well… Maybe not quite yet! You still need to turn the lights off, and that switch can be found on the side of the bed! Now, all that’s left to do is sleep!

Side Note: It is important to note that if you feel hot after 15 minutes or so, you’ll want to remove layers so you don't sweat. And If you want to get up during the night, be sure to fold the sleeping bag in thirds to prevent moisture from seeping in.

Ice Rooms at the Ice Hotel (Hôtel de Glace)

Good Morning: After what was hopefully a long and peaceful night of sleep, an employee will come by your room to wake you up first at 8am, then at 8:15am, and a final wake-up call at 8:30am. All guests must be out of their ice rooms by 9am. Thankfully, you have a nice warm hotel room to go to and check out for that room isn’t until 11am! And did we mention that it also comes with unlimited coffee and hot chocolate? Yes, please!

Farewell: And just like that, your stay at the Ice Hotel has come to an end! If you wish to spend more time exploring and enjoying the property, you’ll continue to have access to the property, including the ice hotel on the day of your check-out. And if you’re looking for something a little more active to do, there’s an indoor waterpark as well as a snow tube park and ice skating trail on site! They do come at an additional cost, but we did both during our visit in 2018 and had SO much fun! Definitely recommend! Book your snow tube park tickets HERE!



We hope that this guide has helped you make the most of your stay at the Ice Hotel, and if it has, we hope you’ll consider following us on Instagram and subscribing to our YouTube Channel for more travel content!

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