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Quebec

HOTEL INSIDER: Hôtel de Glace

BY LINDA LUONG

ABOUT THE HOTEL
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.

BY THE NUMBERS
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

AMENITIES
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.

HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR STAY
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: Château Mont-Sainte-Anne

By LINDA LUONG
Château Mont-Sainte-Anne

ABOUT THE HOTEL
Originally built in 1983, Château Mont-Sainte-Anne has recently undergone a renovation led by renowned Montreal architecture design firm Lemay Michaud. Contemporary aesthetics—think black, grey and blonde wood, leather seating, and stainless steel appliances—accent every room in the Nordik Studios, each of which has its own kitchenette. Visiting with a bigger group or for more than a night or two? Stay at the Espace Nordik penthouse or condo suites, which has fully-equipped kitchens, a washer-dryer and a fireplace for at-home convenience.

Château Mont-Sainte-Anne is also recognized by the Hotel Association of Canada as an environmentally-friendly facility. It was awarded Quebec’s first ‘4 Green Keys’ as part of the organization’s eco-rating program, which measures sustainable practices such as energy and water conservation, indoor air quality, sold and hazardous waste management, and community outreach.

Located just outside of Quebec City, Beaupré is best known as a skiing town, and the powder here doesn’t disappoint whether you’re going downhill or cross country skiing. The resort is a family-friendly ski-in and –out destination with gondolas that go right from the hotel to the slopes, along with a ski shop for renting or tuning skis, snowboards, helmets, goggles and more.

BY THE NUMBERS
Rooms: 215
Price: Approximately $250 per night in winter; $150 per night in summer
Conference Facilities: Hails itself as being Quebec’s biggest resort conference centre with a 36,000 square-foot space on the premises, as well as six boardrooms in the resort itself.

FOOD
Chef Franck Jourdan mans the 60-seat on-site restaurant, Bistro Nordik, which draws on fresh, seasonal fare and new Nordic cuisine. On the menu this winter are hearty offerings such as duck confit-stuffed chicken breasts and venison medallions with bilberries and cranberry chutney. Sweet and savoury options provide a happy ending to each meal, ranging from an apple crumble with cranberries and nuts to a cheese platter.

AMENITIES
In winter, hit the slopes. Château Mont-Sainte-Anne is a short distance from two ski hills: Mont-Sainte-Anne and Le Massif de Charlevoix. Or slap on some snow shoes or cross country skis, hop aboard a dog sled or snow mobile to experience the pristine trails along the property. If après ski activities are more your speed, get pampered at Spa Château with facials, reflexology, and massages—try the hot shell massage for a unique experience. Indoor and outdoor pools, a sauna, two all-season hot tubs, a gym, and separate games and movie rooms for children and teens ensure that those staying indoors are as entertained as those playing outside.

In summer, hike or mountain bike along trails that stretch from the top of the mountain to the Jean-Larose waterfalls. Year-round, the Mestachibo Trail proffers another option for marveling at nature’s bounty, including river rapids and a canyon, and crosses over the Sainte-Anne river. Or tee off at Le Grand Vallon, an 18-hole, par 72 golf course with 6,618 yards of tree-lined stretches and 40 pure white sand traps.

530 boulevard de Beau-Pré, Beaupré, Quebec, 1-866-900-5211; chateaumontsainteanne.com

12 Quintessential Canadian Road Trips

By SHANNON KELLY

Trans Canada Highway, Alberta (Photo: Gord McKenna)

It’s time to think about planning your summer vacation, and if the open road is what you’re craving, Canada—with its stunning scenery and wide open natural beauty—has plenty of options. In fact, one of our best drives, the Banff-to-Jasper route (see Icefields Parkway) in the Rockies, was included in National Geographic’s Drives of a Lifetime book.

Start the slideshow of quintessential Canadian road trips »

Canada’s 10 Best Island Holiday Destinations

By KAT TANCOCK

Cape Breton Island (Photo: Nova Scotia Tourism)

When we think of island vacations, the tropical always springs to mind: hot sun, sand, flip-flops and a fruity drink with an umbrella. But Canada has islands on offer, too, with a lot more to attract visitors than you might think. Here are 10 picks to consider for your next vacation.

Start the slideshow of top island destinations »

Across Quebec: 10 Boutiques We Love

write my essay for me

By Phil Birnbaum

There's nothing like the bespoke pieces and hard-to-find labels that boutiques offer. From beautiful pieces for your home, or curated fashions, boutiques offer a unique shopping experience. Enjoy this slideshow of ten boutiques we love across Quebec. (more…)

6 Easy Weekend Getaways from Montreal

By LAUREN CRACOWER

Golf Le Diable (Photo: Tourisme Mont Tremblant)

Golf Le Diable (Photo: Tourisme Mont Tremblant)

With so many long weekends on the horizon this summer, now is the time to jump into the car and discover what local gems lie just beyond Montreal. Here are our top six picks for an impromptu last-minute getaway.

Go to the Montreal getaways »

12 Best Places to See the Northern Lights

Labrador, on Canada’s east coast, is one of the best places to see the northern nights

We admit it, we’re a bit aurora borealis obsessed here at Where.ca. But can you blame us? Canada is one of the best places on Earth to see the northern lights in all their glory. Travellers interested in seeing the show should know that the phenomenon is most vibrant in winter, though they can be seen all year in certain spots. In this gorgeous slide show, we’ve singled out the best places to see the northern lights from coast to coast.

• Start the slide show for the best places to see the northern lights »
• See a map of all the best places to see the northern lights »

Montreal Bagels: The Delicious 93-Year-Old Institution No Visitor Should Miss

Montreal Bagel

Montreal Bagel: a thing of chewy beauty (Photo: Resident on Earth)

Montreal bagels get at the heart of civic pride in Quebec’s largest city. Like Montreal itself, these delicious treats are unique in the world, and locals identify not only with what flavour they prefer, but also which bake shops they frequent. Merely mentioning the word “bagel” can provoke an extreme reaction.

A quick tip to avoid conflict: don’t compare Montreal bagels to the New York version. The former is chewier than the latter, and is prepared differently. The process begins by kneading flour, malt and eggs (no yeast or salt here), forming a large ring out of the dough, and boiling it in honey water. They are then baked in a wood-fired brick oven on a long stick. The result is a bagel that is never perfectly circular or evenly browned. Compared to the New York version, Montreal bagels are thin, slightly crisp, and have a large hole. As a friend once explained, “It’s not a bun, it’s a bagel.” (more…)

Giles Lake—Outaouais, Quebec

Submit your photo to our Flickr Group to see your favourite travel shot as part of our Photo Friday feature on Where.ca! We’ll credit you and link to your photo.

Why We Chose It

You have to get up pretty early to get a shot like this. The water is like glass in this sunrise shot, and the colours are spectacularly vibrant. We love the many layers created by the treeline, the mist, the rounded mountain behind and everything again in the reflection. And the sun creeping in from the left uplifts the entire shot. This quiet corner of Quebec, near Gracefield in the Outaouais region about an hour-and-a-half north of Ottawa, couldn’t have been captured more beautifully.

Photo: Phil Grondin

Hotel of the Week: Auberge Le Baluchon—Mauricie, Quebec

New, unique, iconic or just plain fabulous Canadian hotels we love, profiled every week.

Photo: courtesy of Auberge Le Baluchon

By KAT TANCOCK

The first thing you notice as you approach Auberge Le Baluchon is the lack of cell phone service—and that’s kind of the point. (Rest assured, however, that it does have Wi-Fi.) About a two-hour drive from either Montreal or Quebec City’s airports, the property’s raison d’être is its beautiful natural setting: eight islands, forest and plains and the winding, rocky Rivière du Loup, all criss-crossed with 22 km of trails that pass waterfalls, bird sanctuaries and even a beaver dam. (more…)

Îles de la Madeleine (Magdalen Islands)—Quebec

Submit your photo to our Flickr Group to see your favourite travel shot as part of our Photo Friday feature on Where.ca! We’ll credit you and link to your photo.

Why We Chose It

Islands are not what one normally conjures when thinking of Canada, but the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are quiet archipelago of unspoiled beaches, farmland and Maritime communities with colourful fishing boats tied up to docks. This photo captures the serenity of the islands and screams summer. The arc of the coastline sets the composition and we love the vibrant colours and the mirrored movement in the low-lying clouds and tides.

Read more: “Getaway to Quebec’s Maritime Archipelago, the Magdalen Islands”

Photo by Hobolens

Getaway to Quebec’s Maritime Archipelago, the Magdalen Islands

By MERLE ROSENSTEIN

Photo: Raymond Brow

On the Islands, rolling hills are carpeted with emerald fields and peppered with tiny wooden homes in hues of orange, yellow, purple, red and blue. Rust coloured cliffs yield caves chiseled out of limestone leading down to windswept white-sand beaches. Blissfully free of high rises, billboards and freeways, the Madgalen Islands (Les Îles de la Madeleine in French) invite quiet contemplation and outdoor adventure such as kite surfing, kayaking and cycling.

(more…)