By Judy Wells
Imagine twin, double or queen-sized beds of ice in rooms of compressed snow. Now imagine sleeping on an ice bed after wrapping yourself in a shroud-like lining then, mummy-like, zipping into an aptly named mummy sleeping bag.
Kind of like being a tightly-wrapped Popsicle in a deep freeze.
That was me at Hotel de Glace, North America’s only ice hotel, outside of Quebec City, Quebec.
What they don’t tell you on the website or during the tours that fills the 25-minute session is how to sleep in below freezing temperatures and wake up breathing.
First, though, enjoy the hotel’s amenities. Have a drink or two in a glass of ice.
Dance in the disco.Slip down the ice slide.
Tour the icy hotel with its inventive sculptures and colored illumination highlighting the many rooms, including a chapel.
Each year the theme and design is different. Strap on a pair of snowshoes or skis and hit the surrounding trails.
Ready for bed? Remember what they told you during orientation.Raise your body temperature by hitting the hot tub followed by a session in the dry sauna. Oh, and you’ll have to put on a bathing suit and hustle through the snow to get there. Don’t get your hair wet or it will freeze. Mine did. Fortunately, it doesn’t snap off like icicles. Ample giggles are guaranteed if you bring along some friends.
Come back into “camp,” the heated, well-named Celsius with its sofas, chairs, vending machines, lockers and dressing rooms.,
Dry off thoroughly – wet is what makes you cold – and get dressed for bed in anything except cotton which holds wetness. Better yet, wear nothing! Or so they said. No one in our group was that brave or foolhardy.
Go into your room – sleeping chamber is a better term because you don’t linger here – and open the big black bag. Pull out the lining, pillow and sleeping bag, replacing them with anything you don’t want frozen such as your shoes and coat. Store an extra pair of socks and valuables such as purses, cell phones and cameras at the bottom of the sleeping bag. Don’t put your glasses on the bedside table; it’s ice and they’ll freeze to it.
As they demonstrate in orientation, the best way to line and bag yourself is from a standing position atop your bed.
Oh, the bathrooms are a snowy trek away in another building.Sweet dreams.
It’s an experience like no other, one best suited for young, agile bodies able to stand on the “bed” to step into said shroud and bag.
The less agile will be constantly reminded that the bed is ice and the floor is snow and their bodies are not going to keep those drinks inside all night.