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A peek inside the Hôtel de Glace

Cheryl Santa Maria, staff writer

January 20, 2012 — Quebec celebrates the grand opening of its famous ice hotel.

The temperature inside the hotel is -5°C (©
The temperature inside the hotel is -5°C (©

After six weeks of construction, 15,000 tons of snow and a team of 50 people working around the clock, Quebec's Hôtel de Glace is officially open for business.

While the 32,000 square-foot structure has been open to the public since early January, It's been operating at 70% capacity. Today marks the grand opening of the finished building - complete with a bar, a wedding chapel and an enclosed slide.

“We're celebrating with plenty of performing, live music and fireworks,” says Jacques Desbois, CEO of the Hôtel de Glace. “We're also going to have a gospel singing in the chapel.”

Since its debut in 2001, the Hôtel de Glace has been a draw for tourists and thrill seekers. Thousands are expected to attend the grand opening festivities, and by the time the hotel closes its doors for the season, it will have hosted nearly 120,000 visitors.

The Hôtel de Glace is an engineering marvel, held in places with metal rods, 500-pound ice blocks, and thick, insulating walls that keep the indoor temperature a steady -5°C. “The hotel is able to resist warm and rainy temperatures for several days,” Desbois explains. “While our season ends in late March, the last snow spot of the hotel doesn't usually fade away until May or June.”

Guests are invited to spend a night in one of the hotel's 36 rooms and suites. Less adventurous folk can enjoy a drink at the bar, try out the ice rink or take a dip in the outdoor hot tub.

“We're excited about our 2012 season,” Desbois says. “We will be hosting 30 weddings in our chapel this year ... and our suites will overwhelm the expectations of all of our guests.”

To learn more about the Hôtel de Glace , visit

All images ©

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