Hôtel de Glace: Palace of Snow and Carved Ice
Quebec’s Hôtel de Glace stands amid snow-covered hills like an icy citadel in a fairy tale. The hotel’s domes and columns have been molded from 500 tons of ice and 30,000 tons of snow—the same materials used to carve the interior’s sparkling chandeliers and one-of-a-kind sculptures. The structure is as intricate as a snowflake and as ephemeral: the hotel closes its doors by late March, and by the time summer rolls around, the frozen palace has completely melted away.
Upon arrival, you can sip welcome cocktails at the gleaming ice bar. To warm up, head outside to the nordic spa’s hot tubs and sauna. Guided tours reveal intricacies of the hotel’s construction. Each ice-walled standard guest room has a bed made from a thick slab of ice topped with wooden slats, a mattress, and nordic sleeping bags certified for subarctic temperatures to help keep you warm and dry. You’ll also be entitled to a backup room at the onsite Hotel Valcartier, where you can leave your bags and use the showers.
Quebec City, Quebec: Centuries-Old City with Historic Attractions
Home to more than half a million mostly French-speaking people, Quebec’s capital city ranks among the oldest in North America. Within the walls of Old Quebec (founded in 1608) are cobblestone streets and examples of 17th-century colonial architecture. One is the neoclassical Notre-Dame de Québec Cathedral, which has a soaring nave adorned with gold moulding.
Year-round attractions include the majestic Montmorency Falls, accessible via trails and a cable car. There’s also the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec, dedicated to preserving Québécois art from all eras, and the Ursuline Convent, which was founded in 1639 and is one of the oldest women’s institutions of learning in the Western Hemisphere.