Friday, February 20, 2009

The Ice Hotel

Hi everybody! Welcome to the Hôtel de Glace, a.k.a. the Ice Hotel, in Canada! About half an hour away from Quebec, this amazing hotel is built every winter out of only snow and ice; 15000 tons of snow and 500 tons of ice. It's Gothic inspired architecture is achieved using stainless steel molds for support during construction. About 4 feet thick at the base and 2 feet thick at the ceiling, the construction is stout enough to support the weight of a bus. The hotel essentially act like a huge igloo, keeping an internal atmospheric temperature of 23-26°F regardless of the temperature outside, which is usually much, much colder!

In the photo above, you can barely make it out but I am standing in front of the three candles in the elegant and pristine ice chapel. Deer pelts adorn the ice pews to keep you from freezing your fanny off, as well as to keep you from melting through the bench!

There are two kinds of rooms there; regular and themed. The regular rooms are monastically simple with a large arched ceiling. For the themed rooms, they bring in professional snow and ice carvers to give each room unique attention and artistic vision.

The bed frames are 100% ice. However, you sleep on a foam mattress which is set into the ice frame. They give you arctic sleeping bags at night to keep you warm and snug as a bug. They work too, just DON'T MOVE! Otherwise you get a blast of cold air from some little gap that you created! Brrrr!

Art was both carved and painted, though the painting was in a limited area as to not diminish the winter-wonderland essence created by the pure white snow and crystal clear ice.

All of this beautiful ice gets shipped from Montreal in the south!

This magical view is what welcome you as you first walk in.

At night, they use a variety of well appointed lights to bring the ice to life.

The site where the Ice Hotel is built is on an eco-tourism resort. So if you'd like to visit the Ice Hotel, but not sleep there, you can get yourself a cozy and warm room at the lodge. There were many outdoor winter activities available, such as snow-shoeing, cross country skiing, and dog sledding. And dog sledding is what I'm doing here in this photo! It was really a lot of fun, when you could get the dogs to cooperate! See you next time!