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Catriona outside the Ice Hotel.
Catriona outside the Ice Hotel.
Check out the lush room.
Take in some ice-like activities.
There isn't much here that's not made of ice.

Ice Hotel

Thursday, December 5, 2002
Rug up and join Catriona at the world's coolest hotel. But be quick - this place is seasonal!

Each northern hemisphere winter sees the arrival of two ice hotels which later disappear with the spring thaw. Getaway showed you Swedish Lapland's hotel a few years ago, and we decided to check out Canada's five-star answer to that hotel - made entirely of ice.

Ste-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier is a town of 5000 people, just 30 minutes from Quebec City, overlooking the St Lawrence River and Montmorency Falls. It takes 20 workers five weeks to build the oversized igloo, using 11,000 tons of snow and 350 tons of ice to complete their creation. All furniture and decorations are carved from ice.

As you enter the hotel you will be amazed by the size of the Grand Hall, complete with ice candelabra, ice columns, delicately carved ice walls and 5m high ceilings. Fibre optic lighting casts a beautiful glow throughout the hotel.

The hotel has 31 guest rooms, 10 of which are suites with a different theme. There is Romantic, Quebecoise, Victorian, Aquarium and Celluboutique with computer and television. One room, believe it or not, has a working fireplace!

Guests sleep in specially designed, wonderfully warm sleeping bags on ice beds which are topped with deer pelts, taken only from road kill. Temperatures outside can be -30°C, but inside will be a comparatively warm -3°C to -5°C. You are woken in the morning with a hot chocolate.

There is no bathroom in the hotel, but a heated trailer with all amenities is accessible from inside.

The Absolut Ice Bar can accommodate up to 500 people seeking a vodka to warm themselves - sipping of course from glasses made from ice. If a shot of vodka gives you courage, there is a skating rink for you to test your skills on blades, indoors or out. There is a working fireplace in the Ice Bar, but it is mostly for visual effect as the heat goes straight out of the chimney.

Another delicious drink is Inniskillin, a sweet wine described as "liquid gold". It is made from grapes naturally frozen on the vine and handpicked when the temperature drops below 10°C.

A theatre, which seats 40, shows continuous movies, and there are two galleries where you can check out works of art by local talents. One shows the Inuit way of life and the other depicts winter at Montmorency Falls, in relief carvings which form a frieze.

The chapel is perfect for white weddings. It has 12 pews, an altar and registry table, all made from ice of course. Behind the altar is a carved ice star and the light filtering through creates a beautiful backdrop.

The Duchesnay Ecotourist Station, in the same municipality as the Ice Hotel, is an interesting place to visit, and in fact will be the site for next year's hotel.


Ste-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier, Canada


The Ice Hotel rooms start at $240 per night, and include breakfast, dinner and a cocktail. It exists from January 1 to March 31.
Air Canada flies daily to Quebec. Prices start at $2789 from the east coast, $3109 from Adelaide and $3589 from Perth.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.

More information

Ice Hotel, 143 Duchesnay Route, Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier
Tel: 0011 1 418 875 4522, Fax: 0011 1 418 875 2833
Air Canada Reservations: Ph: 1300 655

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