New Canadian hotel is the coolest place to be

Guests huddle for warmth in sleeping bags on beds of ice, bonnets pulled over their ears to prevent frostbite, while sipping cocktails in glasses also made of ice. This winter wonderland on the outskirts of Quebec City has become one of Canada's hottest attractions and most sought out accommodations.

A cool place to host a memorable wedding or for a romantic getaway, the Quebec Ice Hotel has attracted 600,000 curious tourists, including 30,000 who stayed overnight, since opening seasonally 11 years ago. Like Victoria and Jeremy Martin, dozens of couples will exchange vows this winter in a temporary chapel adjacent to the hotel, sculpted entirely from blocks of ice with pews covered in furs.

"There's something I like more than being a little bit chilly … it's (cuddling up for warmth) with somebody you love," says Victoria, sporting a fur hat, visiting with her fiance from the northeastern US state of Massachusetts.

Average temperatures fall below minus 20 degrees C (minus four F) in winter, but inside the hotel's 36 rooms it is relatively cozy. Thick walls of packed snow and ice act as an insulator, trapping body heat inside. It is a building method conceived by Inuit who built igloos in the Canadian Arctic and Greenland out of blocks of snow in the winter. First-time guests of the hotel, however, are recommended to stay only one night as sleeping in sub-zero temperatures is not very refreshing.

Source: The Independent