Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My Weekend at the Hôtel de Glace

The Ice Hotel, St. Catherine, Québec, Canada
This past weekend I travelled to one of only two Ice Hotels in the world, The Hôtel de Glace. The first one was built in Sweden, and then some folks from Québec decided that they had the perfect climate to build one here in North America. It was cold, but lucky for us it was unseasonably WARM in Canada. We experienced temperatures in the mid to upper 20's, but the locals told us it really should have been about 30 degrees colder this time of year. They all had heard about Florida's cold weather on TV up there in Canada, they all mentioned it when we told them where we were from, "Oh! Florida!"

We had an incredible time appreciating this 37-room hand made snow and ice structure! it's absolutely beautiful. We stayed overnight in room 37, the biggest room, with three beds. We were tucked into thermal sleeping bags and we lay on a foam mattress on top of a piece of plywood, on top of a block of ice! Believe it or not, we were warm.

My husband is a professional photographer and if you have a minute, here is a link to his gallery of incredible photos.


  1. Looks bautiful and you said warm - what was it like to sleep on the ice???

  2. Jennifer, you sleep in a thermal sleeping bag, on a blanket, on a foam mattress, on a piece of plywood, on a block of ice. so you are very separated from the ice. the sleeping bag is quite warm actually! and it's warmer in the hotel than outside. about 32 in the hotel, insulated from all the snow. :)

  3. Wow! This looks amazing Elizabeth,
    I didn't know anything like this existed and it's so hard to imagine when we're in 40 deg Celcius (100+ deg Farenheit!)Lucky you!

  4. There is one in Sweden and one in Canada, only two in the world. quite amazing. Wow Sandi, that's HOT

  5. Wow, thanks for the vacation, Elizabath! I never knew there was a place like this either. I had to turn up the heat while I looked at the photos! Your husband's photography IS awesome, I especially liked the lighting.

  6. Sandy, you are funny. Turn up the heat. LOL My husband is a pro photographer, went to college for it and all, he does do a good job. the lights were LED (no heat) and they changed colors every 10 seconds or so on the ice. very neat.

  7. What an incredible place! LED lighting makes sense; I was wondering about heat and light melting the ice. Did you sleep in your clothes?
    Have you ever made a paper painting from your husband's photos? I think the icicles would make an interesting abstract.
    We once slept in an underground hotel in Goober Peedy in Australia. The rooms were carved into the stone left from tunneling for opals. That was equally strange, like your ice hotel, but underground. People are SO creative.

  8. Jo, tell me more about the underground hotel, where was it? is it still operating? I'm intrigued. No, not sleeping in clothes, we had Under Armor cold gear, basically long johns but not made of cotton, and tight. made of synthetic, which is very important, because it does not absorb moisture from sweat and then make you cold. we wore that with fresh socks that were dry. I have not used photos in collages. might make nice texture, not a fan of photo paper, would have to find some ohter paper to print on.

  9. Coober Peedy is a little mining town in the middle of Australia, a short plane hop from Alice Springs. Most of the mines are dug as big holes in the ground and when they reach a certain depth the go sideways. The homes and the hotel are dug into the side of the hill so the front room is the only one with natural light and not much of it because it's so very hot there. At the hotel they'd put some sort of clear coating on the natural surface to prevent dust. The rooms were furnished normally. Temperatures were cool and comfortable. It was plumbed and electrified by digging little tunnels along the wall or ceiling or floor, laying the wire or pipe and then closed with dirt. Someday you should go. It's not at all beautiful but different... the hotel that is. Australia is a lovely place.
    I meant to use his photos as reference, not as a paper supply.

  10. Jo, now that you mention it my husband did tear an article out of a travel mag on that very place! we thought it was very cool. I'd love to go to Australia someday.

  11. omg!! this is beautiful and what an adventure! i'm going to take your word for it that you stayed warm. it is hard to believe and this is not an experience that i will ever partake in. glad you did and shared it with us!!!

  12. Hi Elizabeth! Here are a couple of links to Cooper Pedy...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coober_Pedy,_South_Australia and the Underground Hotel: http://www.theundergroundmotel.com.au/

    Being a South Australian by birth, I think it's only right that I should promote tourism to Oz!
    If you do a google image search you'll see how desolate it looks; it's been used in lots of movies...

    Don't know how to make these live links... I visited on a school trip many moons ago and have recently thought about doing an outback trip.. the red coloured dirt is amazing!

    Hope you visit one day...

  13. thanks for the links to the underground hotel, I might just have to put that on my list of places to go. SO COOL. Thanks for taking the time to put the links in there for me, I got them in my email and they were live!@


thank you for taking the time to read and comment! :)