Powered by Blogger.

Featured Destination: Twenty Four Hours In.......Quebec City



{Editor's Note: When traveling to a particular city or country, the amount of museums, galleries, festivals, and historical sites can leave you feeling overwhelmed. My destination features include my favorite spots, exhibits, and things to see, and all opinions are my own.}

A few months back, I got a text message from my good friend Janine from Get Off That Couch with a link to Groupon-they had ice hotel bookings! Hotel de Glace, located in beautiful Quebec City, Canada, is one of only seven ice hotels in the world! It is modeled after the original Icehotel in the village of Jukkasjärvi, Sweden. Like the others, Hotel de Glace is only open for a few months per year, and it completely redesigned and rebuilt each year. It's something that I've always wanted to do, and it was on sale, so I couldn't NOT book it obviously. Like I needed an excuse for a vacation.

Quebec City is only about an 8 hour drive from our home in NJ, so we decided to save the airfare money for some cooler activities {more on that later!} and take another epic road trip to Canada! We packed up the car and were on the road for 4am on a Friday morning.

For Friday night, I booked a hotel through Hotwire and we ended up at the Best Western Plus City Centre. We got an amazing deal on the room, and it was nice and cozy. The only downside-their restaurant was terrible. Terrible in that my friend ordered a pizza, which was brought out extremely undercooked, which was then sent back to be remade, which was then brought back just as raw as the first time. {NOTE: seriously, how to you f**k up pizza that bad...twice?}. I can't say the hotel was an overall bad experience, because truth be told, it wasn't. The rooms were big and comfy, and the concierge was amazing. We had decided before we came up that we wanted to try out dog sledding and snowmobiling-but were hesitant to book it before we got up there because they all wanted non-refundable deposits, and if we hit any bad weather, we would have been out several hundred bucks. When we got up there and tried to book with the vendor that we had decided on in advance, they tried to give us the runaround and upped the pricing. Frustrated, we went downstairs to the concierge, told him what we wanted, and made one phone call, and got us all booked into a better place that cost us less. I can say that it made up for the pizza because it wasn't my pizza-ha!

It started snowing out, so we only spent a short time wandering around, but we were lucky to come across a kick ass pub during our exploring-Le Bureau de Poste {296 Rue Saint-Joseph Est, Québec, QC G1K 3B1, Canada}. All of the food on the menu was only $5-I had a gigantic burger and fries for $5!! The beer is slightly more, but we saved so much on the food that we just had to have a pint.  And then we found another pub a few blocks over, and soon we were running around Quebec posing with inanimate objects. Hey, it happens.

OMG it's a gigantic frog statue quick take our picture!!!!
We checked out Saturday morning, and headed over to beautiful Ile d'Orleans for some fun! We were lucky to have booked with Expeditions Mi-Loup {+1 418-829-2588}. We started out with dog sledding, and we received our instructions on controlling the sled. Yes, we had to drive own sleds. I decided to let my husband start out driving while I sat for the ride-hes a limousine driver, so I figured that he'd be a natural. Dogs, stretch limos, same thing. And he was awesome for the record. Check out the video below to see him driving (and our dogs pooping). Yes, that's my loving husband giggling like an eight year old when the dog starts "dropping nuggets". Excuse me while I shake my damn head.



About half way through, we stopped for a break, some pictures, and the opportunity to switch drivers if we wanted. He made it look so easy-he drove that thing like a boss with only 5 minutes of instructions. Sureeeeeee, I'll take a shot at driving. What's the worst that could happen right?

Everyone says that line is going on my headstone one day. We stopped, took some pictures, and off we went. The first curve that we had to take-THE VERY FIRST FREAKIN CURVE-guess who fell off the sled-MEEEEEE. And I didn't just fall. In the words of my loving husband "That bitch did the Superman". You see, when you need to turn the sled, you have to lean to the side. And I leaned, and for some reason, I thought I needed to lean more. This leads to me losing my balance. To save myself from falling, I grabbed onto the only thing I could-the sled-which led to me holding on and getting dragged-or doing the Superman. The entire time, my stupid ass kept holding on, thinking that he'll hit the breaks and stop it. Until I remember that the only person who could hit the breaks was the driver. Who was currently being dragged. Once I realized this, I let go, and in a move so swift, he managed to get from sitting in the front of the sled to around the back and stop it. After I picked up ass up off of the ground and walked it off back to the sled, I decided that that was the end of my driving career and left the driving to the professional. To this day, one of my biggest regrets is not having my GoPro to capture that magnificent moment.

The beginning {and end} of my career as a dog sled driver!

This is probably one of my favorite pictures that I've ever taken. No filter needed-it was so beautiful on it's own.
 After the dog sledding, we had about two hours to kill before the snowmobiling began. First, we went over to their "Puppy Village" to see thee little huskie puppies. If you know me, then you know that once we finally get a house, the first thing I'm buying is a blue eyed huskie puppy. Not furniture or food or any of the important stuff. I'm getting a blue eyed huskie puppy. I was so tempted to put one in my jacket. I wanted to mush their little faces in-they were so cute.

Puppies!!!! They're so fluffy!!
 The price of the dog sledding and snowmobiling also included your choice of either ice fishing or snowshoeing. We decided to do the ice fishing, which was located right on their property. While none of us caught a damn thing, it was still pretty cool. They drilled the holes in the ice for you. But since nothing was biting, we got bored. I made a snowman. We all made snow angels {bonus for making a snow angel on a frozen lake}.

Me & my snowman. I left him in charge of the fishing rod.
The fake action shot
They also have a little kitchen-restaurant on site. After each activity, you can go inside to warm up, sip on some free hot chocolate, and order some home cooked local cuisine, which we all did. Soon enough, it was time for snowmobiling!

The boys loved it naturally-because they like anything that goes fast, and we had brand new snowmobiles that practically flew. They took us all over the island for about an hour and a half. Again, we had the break half way through for some photos and to switch drivers. I let him drive the entire trip-because I didn't want to be THAT PERSON twice in one day.

look at me....NOT driving!!
On our way back into town, we made a quick pit stop at Mountmorency Falls since it was on the way. It's a HUGE waterfall, and is actually 99 feet taller than Niagra Falls! You have the option of taking a cable car to the top or driving up there, which we opted to do since we arrived a few minutes before the cable cars closed for the night. Once you drive up to the top, there are a few flights of stairs to climb up, but it's well worth it to get to the suspension bridge over the falls.




Looking for a challenge? There are also several companies that offer guided climbs of the frozen falls!

After that, it was of to the grand finale of the day: Hotel de Glace! The check-in was quick and easy, and we made it there in time for the last guided tour of the day, which was a half hour walking tour that showed off some of the neat places and features.

After a quick dinner at a nearby chicken place that we're probably banned from for life because we wrecked the place, we headed back to the hotel to sit through a mandatory "class" on how to survive the night at a hotel made of ice. We were shown how to use the nordic sleeping bags and inserts, told where we could warm up and find a bathroom, etc. After that, we decided to go explore some of the rooms to check out their designs before they closed them for the night at 9pm, which is when you get access to your room and they kick the public out. 

Our Quebec dinner fail. Look at those poutine fries all over the floor!!
 The rooms are true works of art-it's hard to believe that they get the entire hotel done in only six weeks! The "suites" all have different themes.

Ice chandelier in the Grand Hall





This one was part of their special Disney's Frozen suite!

Some of the rooms included real fireplaces-but don't get too excited! They're double insulated, and are cool to the touch because they don't emit any heat at all. It's all funneled out-because melting the ceiling while you're sleeping would suck.

They also have a "Sugar Shack" at the hotel-a local treat. You get to make your own maple syrup lollipop. They pour the hot syrup right onto the snow, and you roll your stick around in it until it cools and forms a lollipop. Be warned-they're extremely messy and sticky.

Janine making her maple syrup pop
Hotel de Glace also has an amazing bar made out of what else...ice! Everything from the tables and chairs to the bar to the glasses are made out of ice. The bar has one fridge...to WARM the beer so that it doesn't freeze. The drinks are quite expensive, but if you reuse your ice glass, you get $2 off per drink so of course I had to have another.



And after drinking, we decided to  test out their ice slide. Because after drinking, throwing hurling yourself down a slide is a good idea,right? Duh. The theme for this year's slide was once again Disney's Frozen. It was pretty neat-longer than I expected. With snow pants on, you really fly down that thing!




At 9pm, their "spa under the stars" opens up-which consisted on a few hot tubs outside. They tell you that you're supposed to use them to acclimate your body and get you nice and warm for the night. There's also a sauna to use also. After about a half hour in the hot tub, it was very hot, so we decided to make the cold run back to our room and settle in for the night.

Even though it's only a five minute walk back to the room, we were freezing by the time we made it there. We settled in and made the attempt to sleep. For the record, I'm a bad sleeper whether I'm sleeping on a pillow top mattress or a black of ice. There is a nice mattress topper on top of the ice that you sleep on which is quite comfortable. My problem is that I have a very bad back, so I'm always uncomfortable. I managed to asleep for two hours, and then woke up when I had to go to the bathroom. Which was a very long, very cold walk away. And once I made the trek there, it was nice and warm inside the lounge area, so I wasted a few hours reading on my iPad until I was good and tired. I ended up going back to the room and finally fell asleep for the rest of the night.

The hotel stay includes breakfast the next morning, which was nothing special. None of us liked it, and we ended up eating platefuls of potatoes for breakfast. After that, it was time to load up and drive back to reality in NJ.

If you're lucky enough to make it up to Quebec, and you're crazy like me, there's one other thing that you should check out that we didn't have time for: The ice toboggan run at Chateau Frontenac. 

 

It looks like a nice rush of adrenaline, and it's only $2! We're 100% seeking this one out next time!

Be sure to check back soon for our next Featured Destination: Edinburgh!

Until next time!

No comments