It might not sound like the best way to spend your vacation, but if you're heading north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden you can stay the night in the Ice Hotel. The Ice Hotel is exactly what it sounds like: it's a hotel made completely of ice, and it is not as cold of an experience as one might think.
You can come to the ice hotel via bus, but it is more common to take a snowmobile or a dog sled to begin your journey.
And once you arrive you should get ready to sleep on a block of ice like a modern-day Eskimo. It may not sound appealing to everyone, but that’s exactly what happens here — albeit with a few modern conveniences. When you come to the Ice Hotel you actually can put your belongings in the "warm building," which is also an area where you can change and use the restroom.
But the hotel itself is fully made of ice. Every year 2,000 tons of ice and 30,000 tons of "snice" — a mixture of snow and ice — are harvested from the Torne River in order to rebuild the hotel as new entity, starting every November. New artists are recruited annually and the design of the hotel is entirely different every year. The initial art when you walk in is part of the grand entrance hall. Then, each of the suites is decorated by a different artist with their own designs and influences. During the day these rooms are open to the public as an art exhibition but at nights they are truly hotel rooms — guests sleep in a sleeping bag on top of reindeer skin and enjoy the night in freezing temperatures.
There are respites from the cold; beyond the initial "warm building," the restaurant is also warm. It is housed in a timber building from 1768 and boasts a menu that reflects the surroundings. Most of the meal is served on ice blocks, including items like cold local fish ceviches or ice creams made with local cloudberries. But the warm meal also is dictated by the area, including a fillet of reindeer.
And while you might be eating in a warm room, you can drink surrounded by ice at the hotel’s famous Ice Bar.
This is where you can truly take in the Ice Hotel, beyond just cold nights — decked out in their warm Ice Hotel snow pants, jackets, and hats, patrons can drink from ice glasses and sit on ice chairs while enjoying the music and the Absolut cocktail concoctions.
It’s a cold way to spend a night — but it’s an experience that will be hard to forget!
The world’s first and largest hotel built out of snow and ice. Icehotel Winter has been reincarnated in a new rendition every winter for the last three decades, every year with brand new art to experience. During an intense period in Jukkasjärvi during November and early December every year, the empty space on the riverbank turns into a magnificent hotel made of ice and snow.
The Quebec Ice Hotel is a unique, fairytale-like structure. The artistry and work that has gone into its erection are truly impressive, and the interior lighting gives the Quebec Ice Hotel a strange and glorious glow. All of this magic is best appreciated at night when fewer people are actually in the hotel. Tours stop in the early evening, the DJ amps it up, and the hotel is turned over to the brave souls planning to stay the night.
Staying overnight at the ice hotel is for hardy people who don't mind foregoing the comforts of a conventional hotel for the experience of sleeping in an upscale igloo. After a drink in the ice bar and a soak in the outdoor hot tub (however, not hot enough to warm up), you can hit the sauna (thankfully, hot). Upon bedtime, follow the instructions as laid out earlier by Ice Hotel staff: snuggle into a sleeping bag—which is laid out on a bed of solid ice with a wooden boxspring and mattress set on top—and enjoy a few hours of sound sleep. Some people wake up at night during the coldest hours and may not get the best rest.
Rooms at the Quebec Ice Hotel do not have doors, but do have a pull curtain for privacy. Noise does not seem to be a problem. Most people conserve their energy and retire quietly into the the hollow silence you would expect of an igloo. Beds have a light switch built right onto the bed for convenience.
What's It Really Like to Stay in an Ice Hotel?
PHOTO: Hotel de Glace outside Quebec City. (Photo by Will McGough)
The Hotel de Glace, located outside Quebec City, is North America’s only ice hotel, and its unique and novel nature have firmly planted it atop winter’s once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Understanding the appeal of spending the night at an ice hotel is not difficult (just in case, we provided some reasons below), but we’ve found that many people don’t understand the logistics surrounding a stay—that is, how the practical things like luggage, showering and surviving all go down.
To help, we put together answers to common questions to give you an idea of what to expect from the experience.
Is the Hotel de Glace really made entirely of ice?
Yes! Well, ice and snow. At the beginning of winter, a frame is constructed and snow packed on top once frozen, the frame is removed. Artists are then brought in to carve out the interior design of the bar, common areas and 42 rooms, including the beds and nightstands. Entry-level rooms are basic and without flair, but each of the suites has a unique theme that changes year-to-year.
Okay, so—isn’t it freezing? How do you sleep there?
Yes, it is! The temperature inside the Hotel de Glace is always below freezing, so you’ll want to be in full winter gear the entire time, just as if you were outside.
And yes, the bed frame is completely made of ice. On top, they place a wooden board, and then a hard mattress upon which you sleep. The hotel will give you an arctic-worthy sleeping bag that will keep you warm—perhaps even hot—throughout the night.
If you are new to sleeping bags, don’t worry: each guest of the Hotel de Glace must attend a mandatory briefing session in the early evening, where the staff instructs on how to use the sleeping bag and best practices on how to most enjoy the experience.
PHOTO: Guest room at Hotel de Glace, an ice hotel outside Quebec City. (Photo by Will McGough)
What are the logistics? If the room is all ice, where do you put your luggage? Where do you shower and go to the bathroom?
Your reservation at the Hotel de Glace actually includes two rooms for the night—one in the ice hotel, and one in the adjacent Hotel Valcartier (which is literally right next to the ice hotel, two minutes walk). The latter is a normal, heated hotel room that operates as your home base.
Throughout your stay, you will take a tour of the Hotel de Glace, take part in activities, enjoy the sauna and hot tubs and hang out at the ice bar. In between, the room at the Hotel Valcartier is where you’ll shower, change and keep your luggage.
What do I do while I am there?
The Hotel de Glace is part of a bigger complex which includes the Hotel Valcartier, an ice-skating rink, a tubing course and an indoor water park. There is a large common area with an ice bar, ice tables and a fireplace, as well as a slide. Guests of the Hotel de Glace also receive access to an outdoor area with hot tubs and a sauna, open from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m.
The Hotel de Glace is open to the public all day, until 8 p.m., for self-guided room and chapel tours. You should explore the hotel intensely, peeking into each room and enjoying all the nooks and crannies of the artistic work, including ice sculptures, wall carvings and colored lighting.
After 8 p.m., the hotel is open to overnight guests only, at which point you are given access to your ice room. Typically, all the overnight guests gather in the bar around 9 p.m. for drinks and a series of staff-led games, like ice carving. Afterward, guests enjoy the hot tubs and use their rooms at the Hotel Valcartier to shower and dry off before returning to the Hotel de Glace for sleeping.
What happens if I get too cold at night?
The arctic sleeping bag provided by the hotel is rated down to minus 40 degrees, meaning you should, after the initial chill of getting undressed and into the bag, find yourself warm throughout the night. But, if you do find yourself uncomfortable, simply head back to your heated room at the Hotel Valcartier. You can return in the morning for another dip in the hot tub or to spend more time touring the rooms.
What does it cost to stay at the Hotel de Glace?
Although a night in the icy confines of the Hotel de Glace (or any ice hotel in the world) mirrors an outdoor camping experience, it is not priced as one. Instead, the $495 per night entry-level package is more on par with a luxury hotel, which is why most people consider it a once-in-a-lifetime novelty.
PHOTO: Ice bar inside Hotel de Glace. (Photo by Will McGough)
Honestly, it’s a fair enough assessment—it’s expensive, to be sure, but the experience is indeed unique, one you are not soon to forget, especially if you stay in one of the artistic suites. And remember, the rate is also high because it actually includes two rooms for the night—one in the ice hotel and one in the adjacent Hotel Valcartier. You also get a free drink, a $9 value, for what it’s worth.
Okay, I understand the process. But why should I stay there?
A lot of the Hotel de Glace experience speaks for itself—a hotel entirely made of ice, an ice bar, an artistic creation, the whole once-in-a-lifetime thing. But other things are less obvious.
First off, there’s a hidden novelty beyond the ice and snow: When was the last time you had two hotel rooms in one night? That in itself is a story to tell at happy hour.
Then there are all the small in-betweens of a stay at the Hotel de Glace.
PHOTO: Hotel de Glace Interior. (Photo via Will McGough)
The visual stimulation you get inside the hotel is incredible, but the snow and ice also create experiences for other senses, too. Snow and ice absorb sound, so when in you’re in your room at night, wrapped in the sleeping bag, you will experience absolute silence like none other. It’s so quiet that it’s almost deafening. In a world of technology, airplanes and construction, complete silence is hard to come by and is, unfortunately, a unique experience in the modern day.
Another great aspect of a stay is the community that forms and bonds over the experience. Everyone who is staying overnight at the hotel comes together at night at the ice bar for activities, and there’s a sense of something special being shared—the hotel is a uniting factor, encouraging conversation and interaction.
Finally, waking up in the morning, breathing in the clean, fresh air, seeing your breath but feeling warm in the sleeping bag, perfectly captures the romance of the experience. It’s a moment when you realize that, just maybe, winter is not so cold after all.
6 Secrets of Québec City’s Amazing Ice Hotel
Québec City’s Ice Hotel has a few hidden secrets. For example, do you know that you can get married there? Each winter , dozens of couples from as far and wide as Dubai and Australia tie the knot in the chapel. Below are some other interesting tidbits that we discovered at the incredibly cool Hotel de Glace, in Québec.
1. You Don’t Have to Stay There to Experience It:
The Ice Hotel is open to daily tourists as well as overnight guests, and since each room is uniquely designed, it’s definitely worth a visit, especially for those interested in architecture and design. Our favourite room? Room 20 – Cocoa Flurry, designed by students Mia Chen, Jo-Yu Tseng, and Zhong Ji from the McGIll School of Architecture.
“Cocoa Flurry”, designed by students from McGill School or Architecture/Photo: Helen Earley
2. The Walls are Stronger Than Cement
The main walls of the ice hotel are made from 30,00 tons of mechanically produced packed snow. When the walls are completed, they are stronger than cement, enabling cool features like this all-ages indoor slide. But the strong material means that at the end of the season, the hotel has to be destroyed be a wrecking ball. The ice hotel takes 55 days to build, but only 5 hours to destroy.
The thrilling all-ages indoor slide at Québec City’s Ice hotel/Photo: Helen Earley
3 .The Water is Specially Treated:
If you try licking a brick in the ice hotel, your tongue won’t stick. That’s because the water used at the ice hotel is specially distilled, in order to make the ice transparent. But, since it’s not frostbite-on-the-tongue material, the special ice is also perfect for making cool square drinking glasses, used at the ice hotel’s bar, Neige. Order an ice-glass of traditional Caribou (adults only) – guaranteed to warm you up!
Caribou in ice glasses at Québec City’s Ice Hotel/Photo: Helen Earley
4. Guests Get a Back-up Room
A night in the ice hotel includes a cocktail, sauna and spa, your sleeping equipment, breakfast…and a second, conventional room, a few steps away. There are a few reasons for this. First of all, you need a place to put your gear, especially your phone. Because iPhone batteries can’t withstand extremely cold temperatures, it would lose power in minutes, or possibly shut down altogether. The back up room is also very useful in case you decide to abandon your stay. But if you buckle up tightly in your special sleeping bag and liner, there’s no reason to be cold.
You can sleep with the Walruses at Quebec City’s Ice Hotel/Photo: Helen Earley
5. It’s the Best Night’s Sleep You’ll Ever Have
According to marketing manager, Marjolaine De Sa, the health benefits of the Ice Hotel are incredible. With % oxygen” and extremely low humidity, conditions like sleep apnea can virtually disappear during your stay. In fact, she claims, you might sleep so well that she’ll have to wake you for breakfast in the morning! Another reason people sleep so deeply at Québec’s Ice Hotel is because the rooms are pitch black, and completely devoid of noise. “It’s so silent, you’ll freak out”, says De Sa. And then you’ll sleep like a baby.
Santa’s Workshop at the Ice Hotel, Québec City/Photo: Helen Earley
6. It’s Attached to a Family Adventure Park
In previous years, the Ice Hotel was attached to a Sheraton, but this year (and for the next 70 years, according to their contract) the Ice Hotel will be hosted just outside the city at Vacances Valcartier, a popular family adventure park that offers tubing, snow rafting, skating and general snowy fun.
For water that’s well above zero, Valcartier has a massive indoor water park with 14 watersides, a lazy river, a wave pool and a double-sized artificial surf wave. Head to Valcartier any day of the winter and you will see families passing each other in the corridors as they head to their preferred activity, arctic or tropical. Surreally, half are wearing ski masks and snowsuits, the others in shorts and bikinis!
There’s plenty to do at Valcartier/Photo: Helen Earley
On this visit to Québec, we only went for the day tour, but we can’t wait to return with the whole family for a sleep-like-a-baby night at the Hotel de Glace, followed by couple of fun-filled days of adventure at Valcartier.
Here are some tips on how to have the most comfortable stay and how do you stay warm in ice hotel.
1. Wear layers of clothing
To tackle the sub-zero temperature inside the ice cabin, you need to wear layers of clothing. This will give you great comfort and insulation throughout the night.
In case you feel that you feel too hot, you can just quickly strip off a layer of your clothing. I prefer to use thermal clothes, as it helps retain your body heat. The snow hotel will provide you with woolly socks, balaclava and gloves (or you can use your own gloves).
2. Skip the shower
For your safety, to avoid hypothermia, it is strongly advisable to skip the shower. Water obviously will get frozen overnight.
The outside temperature that evening was -30 degrees centigrade, and inside the ice cabin it was -6 degrees Celsius. I’m sure you can now picture how bitterly cold it felt that night.
Also make sure to empty your bladder, as it would be a pain to get out of your comfy and snug sleeping bag to go to the toilet.
3. Courage to stay in the ice cabin
Not everyone is a fan of the cold surroundings, especially staying in an ice cabin might not be an ideal scenario.
You have to make sure that you want this personal challenge on your travel bucket list and enjoy the novelty of staying in an igloo. If you feel that you can’t stand the cold temperature, the hotel staff will give you an alternative sleeping arrangement.
4. Make sure you are not claustrophobic
During this epic night in the ice cabin, you will be sleeping in a sleeping bag.
The hotel will provide a sleeping bag that can withstand up to -30 degrees’ centigrade temperatures, so you can rest assured that you will be warm and snug the whole night in your ice cabin.
A flat sheet will also be provided as an extra lining and for hygiene purposes while you are in the sleeping bag.
5. Buddy up
Sharing your room with a buddy is a great option to heat up the ice cabin even a tad bit. Moreover, it’s going to be an awesome way to share this experience with a friend or loved ones.
I had an incredible night sleep in the ice cabin. These tips will help you to keep warm in an ice hotel.
It’s worth it and a night to remember!
Here is a great Norway winter travel tips guide in case you are heading up north!
If you would require a visa to visit Norway, check out this Schengen visa guide.
Hallmark Channel News: Ultimate Guide To ‘Baby, It’s Cold Inside’, Set In Canada’s Ice Hotel
Hallmark Channel news confirms that we are getting ready to go into summer. However, Hearties are going to be treated to a different kind of movie for the hot season. “Baby, It’s Cold Inside” stars Jocelyn Hudon and Steve Lund and it’s set in Canada’s Ice Hotel. Keep reading to find out all the details, including casting, synopsis, and watch the trailer.
Hallmark Channel News – About ‘Baby, It’s Cold Inside’
Hallmark Channel news states that the movie follows travel agent Hannah (Hudon). She is excited to go on her tropical vacation. However, those plans get intercepted by her boss, who fills Hannah in on a special assignment. She learns it means she is going to travel to the cold, which is whether she’s not a fan of. However, it ends up changing her life forever.
Hannah’s employer wants her to check out Canada’s Ice Hotel before they launch a program that focuses on snowy vacations. This is a bit different since their clients usually want tropical getaways.
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Hannah brings along her best friend, Phoebe. When they arrive, they can’t believe the incredible beauty of Canada’s Ice Hotel. Then, Hannah meets one of the hotel’s owners, Ben (Lund). Together, they impress a hotel reviewer and learn they make a great team.
Hallmark Channel News – Official Press Release
Crown Media provided the official press release for the upcoming movie that gives Hearties some more information.
“… Hanna and Phoebe enjoy all the luxuries the Ice Hotel has to offer from the outdoor spa to snowshoeing. When Phoebe begins to reconnect with her ex, Hanna starts to spend more time with Ben. Meanwhile, a hotel reviewer has also checked in so Hanna and Ben team up to make sure he has a memorable stay. Along the way, Hanna feels herself falling for Ben. When Ben offers Hanna an opportunity she always wished for, will Hannah’s doubts and insecurities take hold or will she find the confidence to make her dreams come true?”
Hallmark Channel News – Casting
‘Baby, It’s Cold Inside’ stars Jocelyn Hudon as Hannah. She trained at the National Ballet School of Canada. She might be best recognized for her part in The Strain. She will also be in the upcoming Val Kilmer project, Riptide.
Steve Lund has been in Unlocking Christmas, Schitt’s Creek, Street Legal, Private Eyes, Reign, Good Witch, Bitten, Haven, Defiance, Nikita, Blue Mountain State, Lost Girl, Alphas, and many more.
‘Baby, It’s Cold Inside’ also stars Kathryn Kohut, Randy Thomas, Melinda Michael, Ish Morris, Paul Constable, Susan Hamann, Kate Maclellan, Jennifer Austin, and Craig Lauzon.
Hallmark Channel News – How To Watch Hallmark Movie
“Baby, It’s Cold Inside” premieres on the Hallmark Channel on Saturday, May 8, 2021, at 9 pm ET/PT. There will also be additional showings in case you miss it or want to watch it again.
What do you think of “Baby, It’s Cold Inside?” Does this sound like a Hallmark movie that you would be interested in watching? Let us know what you think and in the meantime, check out the trailer, which has been released on YouTube.
Be sure to catch up on everything happening with Hallmark Channel news right now. Come back often for spoilers, news, and updates
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Hallmark’s ‘Baby, It’s Cold Inside’ Is An Ice Hotel Romance
Ever dream of visiting the Ice Hotel? Hallmark’s new movie, Baby, It’s Cold Inside takes place in the Ice Hotel! This movie stars Jocelyn Hudon (When Hope Calls, From Friend To Fiancé), Steve Lund (Unlocking Christmas, Reign) and, Kathryn Kohut (Love at Look Lodge, Christmas Scavenger Hunt).
Ready for a hot romance in a cool, climate-controlled icy wonder?
What Is Hallmark’s Baby, It’s Cold Inside About?
According to the Hallmark synopsis, top-level travel agent Hanna (Hudon) is asked by her company to forgo her family holiday cruise and travel to the Ice Hotel to research it as a vacation destination. Hanna convinces her best friend Phoebe (Kohut), who is sad about a recent breakup, to join her.
When they arrive at the hotel, Hanna is dazzled with its icy wonder and meets Ben (Lund), the designer and co-owner. Hanna and Phoebe enjoy all the luxuries the Ice Hotel has to offer from the outdoor spa to snowshoeing.
When Phoebe begins to reconnect with her ex, Hanna starts to spend more time with Ben. Meanwhile, a hotel reviewer has also checked in so Hanna and Ben team up to make sure he has a memorable stay. Along the way, Hanna feels herself falling for Ben.
When Ben offers Hanna an opportunity she always wished for, will Hannah’s doubts and insecurities take hold or will she find the confidence to make her dreams come true?
When Can You Watch Baby, It’s Cold Inside?
Hallmark’s Baby, It’s Cold Inside premieres on Saturday, May 8, at 9 p.m. Eastern, on the Hallmark Channel. Encore showings include Sunday, May 9, at 3 p.m., Tuesday, May 11, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, May 22 at 11 a.m., all Eastern times. Always check with the Hallmark Channel schedule for any changes.
In addition, be sure to hop on Twitter premiere night. The Hallmark stars and other viewers will be live tweeting. Learn some fun tidbits and enjoy watching this new movie along with your virtual friends. Be sure to follow the hashtag #BabyItsColdInside.
Be Sure To Watch Hearts Down Under
How about a romance that takes place in Australia? Don’t forget to watch Hallmark’s Hearts Down Under. This movie that stars Cindy Busby (Chasing Waterfalls), Tim Ross (Harrow), and Naomi Sequeira (Pearl in Paradise), premieres on Saturday, April 24 at 9 p.m. Eastern, on the Hallmark Channel.
New York restaurateur Caroline (Busby) has her hands full with her own restaurant. But, she soon discovers her late aunt left her a restaurant in Lemon Myrtle Cove, Australia. But, does she have time to deal with this?
However, she realizes that heading to Australia is the perfect opportunity to clear her head. What Caroline finds in Australia is a bustling café. Unfortunately, the food is not so impressive. She makes a point to say as much to one of the locals, Simon (Ross), not realizing he’s the café’s chef.
Eager to return to New York, Caroline decides to fix up the café and sell it. The problem with doing that in a town the size of Lemon Myrtle Cove is that the only available contractor for miles happens to be Simon. Although they didn’t start on the right foot, Simon agrees to help Caroline with the project. In the process, seeing the area through his eyes, she begins to fall for the place and him.
Hotel of Ice
WHERE: Balea Lac, Romania
Nestled in a mountain valley built on top of a frozen glacial lake, the Hotel of Ice is perhaps the ultimate snow escape. Guests can choose to stay in one of the hotel’s sub-zero rooms or claim their own private igloo near the hotel. After warming your hands by a flickering fire after an icy sleep, visitors can dine at the Chalet Balea Lac’s restaurant, serving traditional Transylvanian and Romanian dishes. The Hotel’s Winter Park offers the usual wintry activities like skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating, but it also arranges snowball fights, snowman-building competitions, and ice bowling.
When to Go: January to March
I spent the night in an ice hotel where the room temperature is 23 degrees. Here's what surprised me most about the unusual experience.
Ahead of my overnight stay at the ice hotel, or Hôtel de Glace, outside Quebec City, Canada, all I could think about was how cold and miserable I would be.
I was so consumed by planning an outfit that adhered to the hotel's strict preparation guide and that would keep me warm that other logistics didn't even cross my mind — like, how would I shower? Does every ice room have an ice bathroom? Where will I charge my phone?
All those questions were answered soon enough.
A night in a hotel made of 500 tons of ice and 20,000 tons of snow, however, comes with all sorts of surprises. No. 1 being: I didn't freeze to death!
Here are all the quirks and surprises I came across while sleeping in an ice cube in Canada.
Editorial Note: Insider paid a reduced press rate for the suite, which usually costs $379 per night.