Imagine working on something special for over a month and half along with 50 other people, building in some of the coldest temperatures with some of the coldest materials possible, only to tear it all down 3 months later. All of your hard work and long hours put into this project, gone in a matter of minutes. This is the reality of the workers assigned to build Quebec’s famous ice hotel each year.
The ice hotel was a project that started in 2001 and could be found at the base of the Montmorency Falls. Over the years, the hotel has been moved from place to place every season but has now been settled at the Village Valcartier for the past 2 years. This unique accommodation was created by a man named Jacques Dubois, who was one of the rare people who truly enjoyed the winter time despite the cold and harsh temperatures. In 1996, after having read an article about the ice hotel in Sweden, Jacques got the idea to build something similar right here in Quebec. In order to get an idea on how to go about doing this and to meet the people who came up with the idea in the first place, Jacques traveled to the town of Jukkasjärvi in Sweden to learn more about this famous hotel. Fast forward over 20 years and the ice hotel has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Quebec region. Even though it is only open for about three months out of the year, it still manages to attract thousands of visitors every season who are all itching to get a glimpse of this winter palace.
This one of a kind hotel is the only one of it’s kind in all of North America and is built every year using only ice and snow, 30,000 tons of snow and 500 tons of ice, to be exact. Construction on the hotel typically begins in December and takes a team of 50 workers about a month and a half to complete the project. This icy creation then has a lifespan of three months with it opening to the public in January and then being demolished come April when the temperatures start to climb above freezing.
Not only is the ice hotel a great place to visit and to experience, it’s also one of the most unique places to spend the night in the country. Rooms are available to rent out in this famous hotel and come equipped with all of the proper equipment necessary in order to spend a comfortable night under a roof of snow. The hotel houses 44 rooms with smaller rooms made to imitate the feeling of being inside of an igloo as well as larger suites that are themed and are equipped with a fireplace as well as an outdoor spa.
Along with the rooms, the ice hotel also has a slide made entirely of ice, a chapel where you can get married, as well as an ice bar serving cocktails and shots in glasses made of ice. Another unique aspect about this work of art is the fact that since it must be rebuilt every year, the theme and the designs are never the same. This makes it that the ice hotel is a place that could be visited every year without it being repetitive. The theme for 2019 was Hotel Gardens with rooms featuring various different nature designs ranging from birds and insects to palm trees and cacti adorning the walls.
The ice hotel has been a place that I’ve been wanting to visit for quite some time now and now that I’ve finally been I can definitely say that it’s somewhere that is completely worth visiting. While it’s easy to look at a picture and see how nice a place looks, it’s truly something else actually being inside of these rooms and seeing the immense detail and work that is put into this wintry creation.
Though it was often a bit crowded in the main areas and you had to be patient to get some pictures without a bunch of tourists in it, the rooms were all empty when we went around which made it much easier to snap some photos.