Jeez, how many ice hotels does Canada have, anyway? It’s not like they ran out of wood or anything. I found the first Canadian ice hotel to be charming and unique, but maybe they’re as common as gas stations up in the land of ice, snow, and hockey.
So, what differentiates Quebec’s Hotel de Glace (French for Hotel of Ice) from Montreal’s snow village? After all, you know what they say about ice hotels: You’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all. No? Well, that might be because that isn’t a real phrase, but the basic idea might still apply.
Right off the bat, these two hotels do share quite a few similarities, besides the obvious relationship of both being made out of ice blocks. Hotel de Glace includes an impressive array of custom ice sculptures and frozen furniture. It’s hard to comment much past that, as every ice bed looks just an uncomfortable as the last. The same goes for the ice bar, an ice living room, ice dining tables, and ice everything else, really. Look around: this place is quite beautiful, but I wouldn’t exactly call it cozy.
The aesthetic of Hotel de Glace is actually rather distinct from the Snow Village. The Snow Village has a bit more of a shadowy ambiance with colors focused on cool blues and shadows, a bit like a glacier around dusk set alight by the aurora borealis. Hotel de Glace, however, seems to be a bit more willing to play with the bright and pristine colors of winters with stark white rooms, crystalline designs, and playful wall carvings.
Overall, the Snow Village gives a sort of “It’s cold outside (and inside too, but that’s besides the point), so let’s stay inside and cuddle, my love,” feeling, while Hotel de Glace has more of a “Look! A whole hotel made of ice! Let’s go play!” type of vibe. Perhaps I’m just splitting hairs, but when you walk into a place that has an ice telephone and an ice lamp on a frozen reception desk, you can tell right off the bat that Hotel de Glace is a bit tongue-in-cheek. They’ve even got an ice slide for the kids (and the adults when nobody is looking) set in the same room as massive ice chandelier. It’s almost like a Disney World hotel — an adventure for the kids, but plenty of fun stuff for adults, too. Just be sure to pack warm clothes!