When I first thought of visiting Hotel De Glace, an Ice Hotel in Quebec City, I knew I would only do it if I could bring Charlie, my four year old along. At first, I worried about whether she would like it or even make it through the night but decided to jump on the chance. Charlie is obsessed with Frozen and the chance to sleep in the ice hotel in Quebec City could not be missed.
Staying in the Ice Hotel in Quebec City with Kids
Charlie and I checked in to the hotel fully expecting her to be the only child on-site. I mean how many other parents are crazy enough to do this? Even though it was a Monday night and school was back in, the hotel was packed with families. I have to admit I was shocked. I always thought of Charlie as braver than most and I couldn’t believe families actually did this.
You are allowed to check in at the Ice Hotel in Quebec City anytime after 3:00 pm. DO NOT GO AT 3:00 pm. Firstly, although its super fun and there are things to do onsite, you will find quite a bit of downtime. Instead, feed your kids a good dinner, pack a few snacks as there is no food on-site from 6:00 pm until breakfast, and make sure they are well rested. Check-in is a very quick process and you can check-in at any time.
Training Session at the Ice Hotel in Quebec City
You are required to attend a training session before you head to bed. Do not skip this session and make sure you bring your kids to it. Ours was at 7:00 pm and entirely done in English. We learned how to get into our sleeping bags, what clothes not to wear to bed and all our questions were answered. The training sessions were done in small groups so even though the hotel was full, it was just us and another family.
What is There to Do at the Ice Hotel in Quebec City?
This is where I was blown away. I expected this to be an adult orientated experience with a lot of drinking going on. I did not go on a press trip and was not booked in with other writers, so I can tell you my experience of a family atmosphere was a very authentic one.
It was suggested we meet in the Ice Bar at around 8:00 pm where anyone who wanted to was invited to join in some “ice breaker” games. I grabbed a glass of wine and played along with Charlie but soon the kids took over charades and were having so much fun that the parents bowed out to chat at the bar.
Next, Charlie entered a treasure hunt with a group of other kids and was running around the hotel looking for objects for quite a while. After that, we were all invited to try our hand at ice carving. The ice carving is not only super fun but helps you and your kids appreciate the pure talent that goes into constructing the Hotel de Glace.
After the family fun, Charlie and I were first to head to get our bathing suits on. The ice hotel in Quebec City has an incredible outdoor section of Arctic Spas, Canadian made hot tubs and saunas. I loved the polar bear theme of the hot tub and we truly enjoyed sitting and chatting the night away. After the hot tub, we headed inside to properly dry out and put on our pyjamas.
Other than these activities, there is an incredibly fun ice course on site for sliding where two racers head down the hill at once. Charlie and I spent over an hour on the course the next morning. On site there is also snowshoeing. The hotel will also help arrange cross-country skiing and dog sledding nearby.
Sleeping at the Ice Hotel in Quebec City
Once we were ready for bed, we had had enough fun and I had enough wine that I had calmed down about my nervousness. We headed to bed and I prepped Charlie first. We changed her socks to dry ones, unrolled her sleeping bag and as I put her to bed she immediately fell asleep. Next, it was my turn and by the firelight of the room, I wrapped myself up, got in the sleeping bag and quickly drifted off to sleep. There is a light switch on the bed that turns off the decorative lights and you are provided with bedside candles. I woke up a few times during the night, readjusted the sleeping bag liner to warm my nose and made sure Charlie was okay. She didn’t wake up until 8:30 am at which point she sat up and exclaimed “that wasn’t cold at all”.
So How Cold is It?
It’s not warm. Let’s start there. The temperature outside of the hotel was -27 or -35 if you count the windchill. The temperature inside the room was about -5. The walls of the hotel seriously cut down on the cold and you are blocked entirely from the wind. The sleeping bags work by capturing your body heat and using that to warm you. Its really cool technology and made me believe even more in North Face, a brand I wear quite a bit when I travel. Was it the most comfortable sleep of my life? No but really it wasn’t bad at all. The novelty of the experience is definitely worth the chill and you are warm enough to easily make it through the night. That being said, we did indulge in another hot tub before breakfast to warm our bodies up a little bit more.
Is the Ice Hotel in Quebec City Actually Good for Kids?
I found it amazing for kids. Charlie made 5 friends who played balloon volleyball with her, danced and laughed with her and raced her on the ice slide. She wouldn’t leave the hotel without going to say goodbye to our room and taking one more picture. I arrived at the airport thinking our time in Quebec City had been one of the most enjoyable experiences we had share together. She loved talking about Elsa’s castle and comparing it to the hotel. It was great to watch her try and carve a unicorn out of a block of ice. Most importantly, I’ll be able keep the image of her rosy smiling cheeks with me for a long time.