I remember the first time I’d heard of a snow hotel and an ice bar, first built in Sweden in 1990. “How cool,” I thought. And for this sun – and warm weather-loving girl, what a novel idea! I recently had the chance to visit the Snow Village in Montreal – North America’s first. Cool, indeed!
Montreal’s Snow Village is made up of 15 standard hotel rooms, 10 prestige suites, igloos, a chapel (three weddings are booked this year!), an ice bar, and even a restaurant. All of the buildings are constructed of snow firmly packed over wooden frames, with nine-foot walls lit with colorful LED lights to lead the way.
All furniture – beds, chairs, tables, sofas – are carved from ice, and ornate ice and snow sculptures adorn the walls. Fur pelts are strewn across beds, chairs and sofas, providing a bit of protection from the eminent cold. Each overnight room has its own theme, be it the four seasons with real flowers encased in ice, or a hockey-themed room with a life-size ice carving of the Stanley Cup, just to name a few. one room has four beds, perfect for your next girlfriend getaway!
Want to take a look for yourself? Every night, visitors are welcome to tour the village, peek into the rooms, say a small prayer in the chapel (perhaps for warmth in your toes?) and have a drink in the ice bar. Dinner reservations are accepted in the restaurant, and you may be surprised to find a room full of fellow inquisitive diners.
When guests check in for the night, they’re given a thermal sleeping bag. At bedtime, they’ll cozy up inside and hibernate for the night. Planning accordingly is a necessity, though – bathrooms are outside, and they’ll need to get fully dressed to use the facilities!
Whichever you decide – an overnight stay or a quick visit – make some time to chill in Montreal’s Snow Village. You’ll have to hurry though – the village melts away March 31.
Susan B. Barnes is a travel writer and photographer. A proud Army brat, she was born on a military base in Belgium and has been on the go ever since. While Susan has traveled across the United States and into Canada, she has also managed to visit such European cultural hot spots as Paris, London, Ireland, Athens and Rome, and has even explored the second largest reef in the world off the coast of Belize and the cloud forest of Venezuela, among many other exotic locales. Having learned to rock climb in Yosemite National Park, surf in La Jolla and swim with whale sharks in Mexico, she’s always looking forward to her next adventure.