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Quebec City

HOTEL INSIDER: Hôtel de Glace


The only ice hotel in North America, and inspired by the Ice Hotel of Sweden, construction on the Hôtel de Glace begins each December, when the structure is built from scratch in preparation for the season (approximately January to March). The process involves 30 workers and 15 sculptors who use 30,000 tons of man-made snow, which is more humid and dense. Snow is then blown into metal molds of different sizes and shapes, including arches and domes. A wooden wall helps to strengthen each shape; it can take several days for each piece to solidify.

Ice blocks that each weigh about 300 pounds are then brought in to create the furniture, ranging from tables and chairs to the ice bar.

Size Spread across 32,000 square-feet, and built from 30,000 tons of snow and ice blocks
Rooms 44 rooms and themed suites
Price $199 and up per person for an overnight stay. Guided tours are $18.25 adults, $16.25 seniors and students, $9.25 children (ages 6-12), children (up to 5 years) free, $45.75 families
Facilities The hotel can be booked for corporate events and weddings

There’s a Nordic relaxation area with a hot tub and saunas for a soak beneath the stars that is open from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. Though romantic and idyllic, this area serves a practical purpose as well: overnight guests are encouraged to warm their bodies before going to bed.

The Celsius Pavilion contains lockers for storing personal items. There is also a dining area here where breakfast is served from 7 to 9:30 a.m.

An ice bar, ice chapel and a grand ice slide are also part of the premises.

The Hôtel de Glace is affiliated with the Four Points by Sheraton Québec; depending on your hotel package, some guests may have access to the Four Points’s outdoor spa and breakfast.

A special training session is provided for overnight guests with knowledgeable guides. A three-layer technique is recommended, which includes undergarments that allow for humidity to escape your body. A middle layer of wool, flannel or polar fleece to isolate air and control humidity forms the second level of clothing, while the exterior layer includes wind-proof apparel that will still allow you to move around. Plus, hats, scarves, gloves or mittens to cover exposed parts of your body, as well as boots.

Guests are advised to bring a second set of clothing that includes a hat, scarf, gloves or mittens, socks and long underwear.

9500 rue de la Faune, Québec City, Québec, 1-877-505-0423; hoteldeglace-canada.com



HOTEL INSIDER: ALT Hotel – Quebec City


ALT Hotel Quebec City

ALT Hotel Quebec City burst onto the scene with a brazen proposition: no bell hops, no valets, no seasonal price changes, no tiny shampoo bottles. It’s a sleek, modern, à-la-carte alternative to huge chains and dated inns. The so-called “service light” approach means the decadence is in the details. High ceilings, luxurious Egyptian-cotton bedding, in-room Keurig machines and spa-style shower rooms are all standard at the ALT Hotel Quebec City.

See the photographic tour of ALT Hotel Quebec City »


Q&A with Lucy Izon, Canada Cool’s Queen of Travel


Lucy Izon of Canadacool.com (Photo: Kate Pocock)

Lucy Izon knows Canadian travel. She started writing about it in 1978, when she had a youth travel column in the Toronto Star. Now, having banked 35 years and thousands of kilometres, she is one of the most respected travel media figures in the country. Izon has done everything from conduct travel writing contests to write books (Izon’s Backpacker Journal, Canadian Traveller’s Trip Planner) to design staterooms on cruise ships. These days, she devotes herself to informing the world about what makes her country interesting via her popular travel website, Canadacool.com.

We chatted with her to get a taste of the fun advice and facts that have attracted more than 48,000 followers to her Twitter feed.


Google Chooses Three Canadian Sites as World Wonders


Google counts Ottawa

As part of its new World Wonders Project, Google has chosen three Canadian heritage sites to share the spotlight with Versailles, the ancient temples of Kyoto in Japan and Yellowstone National Park in the U.S. as some of the top heritage sites around the globe worth seeing—virtually, at least. (more…)

6 Must-See Quebec City Museums


Maison Chevalier (Photo: genevieve.ducret)

Quebec is one of Canada’s oldest cities, founded in 1608, and arguably the best preserved, so doing at least one museum on your trip here is essential. Explore French-Canadian and native history, art and even 17th-century medical technology at these fascinating museums in a fascinating city. At the very least, they can provide a respite from the summer heat! (more…)

The Insider Guide to Quebec City’s Musée National des Beaux-Arts


Photo: Sandra-Cohen Rose and Colin Rose

With almost 35,000 works of Quebec art dating all the way back to the 17th century, the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec is a must-see for art lovers. Go for the paintings and stay for a prison tour. Afterwards, play on the Plains of Abraham or shop the gift shop. (more…)

Ottawa and Quebec City Airports Named Best in North America

Ottawa International Airport (Photo: morethanreal)

Ottawa International Airport was rated the top North American airport and the Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport was rated the best regional airport in North America in the Airports Council International’s annual Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards. (more…)

14 Romantic Winter Escapes

Emerald Lake Lodge in Yoho National Park, AB (Photo courtesy of Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts)

By Carissa Bluestone

You don’t have to run off to Aruba to celebrate Valentine’s Day or beat the winter blahs: there are plenty of options for romantic long weekends within our borders. Revel in unearthly icy beauty or hide from it in front of a roaring fireplace. (more…)

5 Insider Tips to Quebec’s Winter Carnival

Bonhomme, the Winter Carnival mascot (Photo courtesy of Carnaval de Québec)

The local dish on what to see and do at Québec City’s famed Winter Carnival.

By Amanda Halm

The Québec Winter Carnival, opening this weekend for its 58th year, brings a flurry of wintry activities to Quebec City. It is the city’s version of Mardi Gras, sans debauchery simply because it’s just too darn cold to bare it all. Ice-canoe races, snow baths, zip lining, night parades and more make it one of the most unique festivals in the world. Locals love it, even though swarms of shutter-snapping visitors descend on the city each year. (more…)

5 New Year’s Eve Hot Spots in Quebec City

Inside the Château Frontenac on New Year's Eve. Photo by Michel Roy.

By Amanda Halm

For a such a quaint city, Quebec sure knows how to party. And unlike in bigger cities on New Year’s, the party comes sans traffic snarls and expensive entrance fees. Here you’ll find outdoor ice bars, a huge street celebration and a variety of fine dining options. (more…)

North America’s First TRYP by Wyndham Hotel Opens in Quebec City

By Waheeda Harris

Quebec City scooped the Big Apple as the destination for North America’s first TRYP by Wyndham hotel on December 1,  joining hot spots like Paris, Montevideo, Lisbon, Buenos Aires and Berlin. (more…)

Shopping Quebec’s Coolest Quatier: Rue Saint-Jean

Maison Jean-Alfred Moisan. Photo by Feng & Jia.

By Amanda Halm

When it comes to Quebec City shopping, Petit Champlain and the Old Port are the beaten paths. Instead, head for the rue Saint-Jean, outside the walls, to prowl for locally made fromage, aged Italian balsamic vinegars and sexy lingerie as well as the truly bizarre: a sitar simulator, an outfit made entirely out of chocolate, a cookie-cutter in the shape of a pig’s head.