A Winter Wonderland awaits travelers in Quebec City's Hôtel de Glace
 
Winter Getaway
There was a time in our lives when we longed for snow days — a reprieve from schoolwork — so we could spend the day sledding down the biggest hills, building the tallest snowman, and capping it off with a warm cup of hot chocolate. So why is it now that once the winter weather arrives, we briskly bundle up and find any excuse to stay indoors? This winter, make a pact to rediscover the magic of the season and take a weekend getaway to Quebec City, Canada to discover the magnificent Hôtel de Glace.
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Photo Credit: Luc Rousseau
Where to Stay
If you want to rediscover the magic of the season, there is no place more representative of the wonders of winter than the Hôtel de Glace, located on the site of Valcartier Vacation Village just under an hour outside Quebec City. This is the only hotel in North America made entirely of ice and snow. Over a two-week span, builders use more than 30,000 tons of snow to shape, carve and construct the brilliant structure that welcomes guests from around the world.
The hotel includes 44 guest rooms, as well as themed suites with unique architectural features such as Roman columns and animal figures carved from ice. Each room includes a bed made of ice topped with a cozy mattress and arctic sleeping bags for guests to stay comfortably warm while they sleep. Some rooms even include fireplaces, as well as hot tubs — perfect for those looking for a bit more romance.
In addition to the hotel’s unique lodging, the Hôtel de Glace boasts an ice bar and restaurant that offers a Nordic inspired menu. Sip your drink in a glass made of ice as you relax under the igloo’s warm, almost magical glow.
With all of the nearby activities — from snowshoe adventures, to ice slides, to ice sculptures — it’s no surprise the hotel has continually drawn over a million annual visitors since it was first built in 2001.
Photo Credit: Luc Rousseau
Where to eat & drink
Staying at the Hôtel de Glace is just the tip of the iceberg for a weekend trip full of unique experiences. Since the hotel is near Quebec City, there are tons of places to find authentic and delicious eats. For breakfast or brunch, try Pascal le Boulanger, a bakery with delectable butter croissants, homemade jam and fresh-baked bread and desserts. Pascal le Boulanger also offers gourmet sandwiches, thin pizzas, and tartinettes (sweet, small flatbreads) for those looking for a more filling meal. For Sunday brunch, try La Triate, a 20 minute drive from the Village Valcantier at the Hotel Musee Premieres Nations, which serves a delectable menu offering a gastronomic experience perfect for discerning foodies.
If you’re a beer lover, a visit to the Archibald’s Microbrewery is a must. This local favorite offers a taste of Canada’s own microbrewing scene featuring Belgian brews and German-style beers. But beer isn’t the only thing on the menu at Archibald’s; there is a full selection of tasty dishes complemented by jazz and folk music most nights of the week. Additionally, you can indulge in a Snow and Fondue experience where you’ll enjoy a three-course Chinese fondue meal (aka hot pot) in the great outdoors.
Photo Credit: Renaud Philippe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to do
The Hôtel de Glace’s convenient location near the city and national parks means a wide variety of activities are right at your doorstep. From a luxurious relaxing weekend at the spa to an outdoor adventure in the wilderness surrounding the hotel, opportunities abound for anyone looking to participate in the most iconic winter experiences Canada has to offer.
Photo Credit: Destination Canada
For the leisurely traveler
The Carnaval de Québec is the ultimate way to fully experience Canada’s vibrant, urban winter scene. Running from January 27 through February 12, Carnaval is filled with tons of snow-centric and winter activities such as snow baths, ice canoe races, snow slides, and ice skating. Carnaval even features Bonhomme, the Canadian equivalent to Frosty the Snowman, who takes part in festival activities and holds a special place in Quebecers’ hearts.
If you’re visiting outside of Carnaval’s run, head to Quebec City and check out some of the great boutiques and unique architecture that defines the city. While there are tons of typical gift and souvenir shops everywhere, focus on the locally-owned shops instead that will give you the opportunity to find uniquely Canadian reminders of your trip. Les Trois Colombes is great shop for finding pieces made by local artisans, such as leather goods and wool sweaters.
For a more relaxing getaway, the Nordique Spa Stoneham is a can’t-miss stop and only 20 minutes from the hotel. Located off the banks of the Jacques-Cartier River, the Nordique Spa offers Scandinavian-style relaxation methods based on alternating heat and cold to soothe the body and soul.
After some R&R, foodies should pop into OLiV, a shop with gourmet olive oils and balsamic vinegars. You’ll even find chocolate balsamic vinegar that you’d be hard-pressed to discover anywhere else.
Photo Credit: Armstrong Photo
For the outdoorsy adventurer
Adventure awaits thrill seekers and nature lovers at Parc de la Chute-Montmorency where guests can ride a cable car or walk the suspension bridge over the 280-foot waterfall — one and half times as high as Niagara Falls. Once you reach the top, you can admire stunning views of île d’Orléans and the St. Lawrence River.
A visit to the Canyon Sainte-Anne is another great stop for the more adventure-inclined as it boasts the longest canyon zipline in Canada. It also features a train system that runs along both sides of the canyon, crossing three suspension bridges for a commanding view of the rock faces, the mighty falls, and the rushing Sainte Anne du Nord River below.
For a more low-key natural adventure, the Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier is the perfect spot to go hiking, mountain biking, moose watching or canoeing. The Portneuf and Laurentides wildlife reserves are ideal for those looking to go fishing or simply relax outdoors.
Photo Credit: Martin Cathrae

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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