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Chill Out This Vacation

Fall Line
posted: 01/23/2001
by Greg Trinker

"It follows the same thermal principles as an igloo," says Hélène Barbeau, communications director for the Ice Hotel-Quebec. "The temperature won't drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit." In what may be the oddest come-on in lodging history, guests sleep in beds made of ice in a hotel where the temperature hovers near the freezing point. The hotel is built with 4,500 tons of snow and 250 tons of ice. First a wooden frame is constructed. "Then you pack it with snow and ice, remove the wood and you have a hotel," Barbeau says. The complex includes six overnight suites, two galleries, a theater and a bar. The beds are sculpted from ice, with mattresses on top. Patrons snuggle into polar-rated sleeping bags to chill out for the night. The bar serves cocktails in ice glasses and the galleries display, naturally, ice sculptures. The hotel ( is 10 minutes from Quebec City and 30 miles from Mont Sainte Anne ski resort, and will close as it melts in the spring, with plans to rebuild it each year featuring a new design. The cost for a suite is about $100 per night-and includes a hot breakfast. Hotel movie-goers sit on ice seats equipped with fur cushions. "We don't want anyone to get cold," Barbeau says.

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