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Don't Lick the Ice Sculptures and Other Tips for Staying at Montreal's Snow Village

January 10, 2012 at 12:03 PM | by | ()

Yesterday we told you about Montreal’s new Snow Village, the first North American outpost of the chain with structures in Finland and Norway. Today, we're about to tell you what it's like on the inside. Yes, despite arched eyebrows from our pals, we spent the night in the "ice hotel". We’re troopers like that. Or so we thought.

First thing—we were prepared for things to be a bit wonky the first few nights as this is new territory for Montreal. It’s not like Quebec City’s Ice Hotel—a well run operation in effect for years. But, things did go a bit haywire during our visit.

The registration process in the welcome center involved a seemingly normal contract—no smoking, lock your valuables, we’re not responsible if you slip—until the last paragraph, advising guests “not to lick any of the ice structures.” Visions of Flick’s tongue sticking to the pole in “A Christmas Story” danced in our head.

An orientation for overnight guests was given, and sleeping bags handed out. Thing is, our young, French-speaking guide kept forgetting to translate into English, so we may have lost some key details that could have changed our whole experience. But we have our own tips to share.

1. Change First. There are several hot tubs on site. Good fun, but pick those closest to the bottom deck for less gawking by day visitors. Change into your bathing suit at the warm, dry welcome center ahead of time as the bath/changing rooms by the whirlpools are a chilly, wet floor experience. And bring a cover up.

2. Gear Up. We dined at the Pommery ice restaurant on a “warm night” and the tables were melting! The happy-go-lucky staff handed out pieces of plastic, but they didn’t do much. And, the sheep skin seat covers are pretty but don’t hold much heat, so wear snow pants to keep your tush toasty.

3. Bring Back Up. Bring an extra change of clothes just in case. We mistakenly wore our pajamas underneath our clothes to avoid the changing room night trek or undressing in our cold room. FAIL. The restaurant mishap had our (and several other patrons’) bottoms wet and chilled to the bone.

4. Have Some Humor. It takes an easy breezy sort to stay here. Don’t expect complete privacy. Several peeps popped into our room after midnight (there are no room doors, just a curtain). Whether they were lost or drunk, it was unnerving, especially for a damsel traveling alone. We got up a few times in a panic and saw a security guard once in a while outside, but none inside. Not cool!

5. Have An Alternate Plan, Just in Case. Truth told, by 1:45 a.m., we’d had enough. A soaked bum, a useless sleeping bag, and we were too chilled to try the “sleep naked” theory to get warm. So, we skipped Option B of sleeping inside the Snow Village's makeshift "panic room" with its regular mattress, but barely warm interior, and went for Plan C, a good old fashioned hotel room at the Opus Montreal.

After a hearty portion of smoked meat poutine from room service (sigh!) and a glass of wine, we forgave ourselves for ice-ing out, the ice hotel.

Rates start at $195CAD per night for a Polar Igloo, and includes a welcome drink, access to the hot tub and Continental breakfast. If you can't handle the ice, just do a day or evening visit. Those tickets start at $13CAD.

[Photos: HotelChatter]

Archived Comments:


Awesome tips provided here...love the article....I wanna go!  

On second thought:

As much as I've always want to stay at an Ice Hotel, I suppose I'll save myself up for a visit in Finland someday.

I'm not a fan of winter, and as gorgeous as it is - no way in hell am I up for sleeping in one.

They're new, so hopefully the kinks will be ironed out soon. MAIS OUI!