We moved on to the nightclub area where there was an ice bar that serves drinks in ice glasses. We visited other suites to check out more incredible frozen artwork. It was almost like visiting an art museum. We had to remind ourselves to look at each wall of the rooms because often we would turn around and be blown away by an artistic creation even more captivating than the one that greeted us when we first entered the room.
We stopped into one of the premium suites to which the lady at the front desk tried to get us to upgrade. As expected, it was quite a spectacle with all of its frozen decor. It had a fireplace for ambiance. Although there are flames, this special kind of enclosed fireplace does not give off heat, otherwise the place would melt. The room had a doorway that led to a small outdoor terrace containing a private hot tub and a steam room. The premium suite was very nice.
My favorite room in the Ice Hotel was the Chapel. There was an altar made entirely of ice (of course) and rows of ice pews covered by animal hides. There was a recording of organ meditation music playing. We were told 47 wedding ceremonies were already booked to take place in this chapel in 2012.
bible on the altar
We continued exploring the Ice Hotel until 5 PM when it was time for our guided tour. Traci and I were the only clients doing the English version of the tour (The language of Canada's Quebec province is French). We actually had two tour guides: an experienced guide and her trainee.
Traci and I had already seen much of the hotel on our own before the tour; however, this time through we were able to listen to some facts about the hotel from our guides. The creator of Hotel de Glace in Canada was inspired by a visit to the original ice hotel in Sweden. In 2001, he teamed up with the designers of the Swedish Ice Hotel to open Canada's Hotel de Glace. Construction on Hotel de Glace takes several weeks. It normally opens at the beginning of January. In early April, the structure is bull-dozed and left to melt. Over the next 20 minutes or so, our guides gave us more tidbits about the hotel as we moved from room to room. Its 36 rooms can sleep up to 88 adults. 1500 tons of snow and 500 tons of ice is used to build the hotel each year.
steps to the ice slide
At the conclusion of the tour, Traci and I took the shuttle back to the Sheraton where we would have a scrumptious 4-course meal at its Le Dijon restaurant. It was included in our package. We then headed upstairs to our back-up room to pack our overnight backpacks. We noticed our Welcome kit had been dropped off at our room at the Sheraton. It consisted of a blanket containing the Hotel de Glace logo, an inflatable pillow (I think that's what it is?), and hand warmers. Hand warmers were the running joke of our time in Canada. We brought some from home to deal with the brutal Canadian winter weather. Unfortunately, every time we were in situations where they would have come in handy, we would realize that we left them back at the hotel. It wasn't until our last day of vacation that I actually remembered to bring them with me when we were out sightseeing.
Before arriving in Canada, we received an email containing guidelines on what to bring with us for our overnight stay at the Ice Hotel. The hotel would provide us with Nordic sleeping bags that are good for temperatures as low as -22°F. Given the temperature inside the hotel never goes below +23°F, it is important that you do not wear too many clothes inside the sleeping bag. Doing so might cause you to sweat and the moisture is what will make you feel cold. It is also recommended that you do not wear any of the same clothing you wore during the day because whether you realize it or not, your body secretes moisture throughout the day. Finally, it was recommended that we do not wear cotton clothing because it retains moisture. We abided by these guidelines and packed our backpacks appropriately. We left our large suitcases at our room at the Sheraton because we knew they would not fit in the lockers at the Celsius Pavilion. continue...