There’s nothing better than sleepily swinging in a hammock held by giant evergreen trees on a sunny day. When I decided to check out the Scandinave Spa Mont-Tremblant, I had no idea what to expect.
The spa is beautiful, with different pools, tubs, relaxation areas and showers. Talking is discouraged, but that’s okay because you’ll want to take everything in and just zen out. So how does it work?
First, you spend 15 minutes in the warming your body in the hot baths, followed by a dip in the cold baths for a refreshing rinse. After that, relax in the resting areas and start all over again. (For a detailed description of these sessions, click here.)
What I love is the variety of areas. For the hot cycle, you can choose to go into a hot tub, stretch out on a chair by the outdoor fire pit, or visit the Eucalyptus steam room.
For the refreshing rinse, you can go into the cold pools, swim in the lake or take an outdoor shower.
The relaxation areas are my favourite. Giant couch pods (pictured in second pic) big enough for two overlook the lake. A solarium with large glass windows allow you to relax and see what’s going on in the spa below. Down by the water you can sit on the deck and take in the lake. Scattered throughout the trees are large hammocks that can fit two people. I loved staring up at the blue sky and breathing in the mountain air.
Hydration is important, and there are water and tea stations throughout the spa. There’s also a cafe where you can get a healthy lunch. You can easily spend the entire day here! A day in the baths cost $48.00 per person. To complete your experience, you can add on a massage or choose from a long list of pampering services.
If you are looking for a totally unique accommodation experience while in Quebec, look no further. The Hôtel de Glace (Just outside of Quebec City) is made completely out of snow and ice. It takes 500 tons of ice to create the walls, sculptures and furniture. Everything is carved using chainsaws, and is finished off with a torch. To make surfaces completely smooth, they use an iron.
Each room has a mattress on a block of ice and it has been specially made to withstand cold and won’t freeze. Before sleeping at the hotel you have to attend a mandatory briefing. You are only allowed to have one person per sleeping bag. The sleeping bag zips up to your neck and creates a cocoon of warmth.
Before going to bed, you are encouraged to take a dip in the hot tub featured on site. The sleeping bag will maintain whatever body temperature you go into it with. It’s important to wear what you normally wear to bed. If you layer up, you can sweat and become uncomfortable. The average temperature in the hotel is -3C to -5C , no matter how cold it gets outside.
Not ready for bed? Hang out in the bar and drink delicious cocktails out of a carved ice glass.
The hotel is famous for weddings. Above is a picture of the wedding chapel. Can you imagine getting married there? Gorgeous!
The hotel is in business for 3 months, from January to the end of March. When it’s time to take down the hotel, they don’t just abandon it and let it melt. The hotel is taken apart piece by piece. If you want to stay here, be sure to book early. The average rate of occupancy is 90%. The day I visited, they were fully booked for the next two nights.
Whether it’s a romantic getaway or a family adventure, the Ice Hotel is a perfect winter getaway. Just want to visit? Daily tours are offered for $17.50 a person.
The Quebec Winter Carnival has something for everyone. Whether you want to have an adventure or bring the whole family, they have you covered. Admission for the entire Carnival is only $15. Here are some of the things I did while I was there.
A derby is a horse race that is traditionally restricted to horses that are three years old. Over 30 teams from Canada, the United States, France, the Netherlands and Belgium participated.
This was my first time tubing and it was fun! This was a small hill (but it felt huge to me) so lots of families were going down with their kids. I unfortunestly went down backwards the whole way, so I don’t have a photo of me doing it!
3. Various activities
4. Eat a beaver tail! Beaver Tails are originally from Ottawa. It’s a fried dough pastry hand stretched to resemble a beaver’s tail, and coated in cinnamon sugar. Yum.
5. Join hundred of bystanders gathered to watch the annual Night Parade. Colourful floats, fire jugglers, dancers and more march down the street.
7. When it’s all over, head back to the Plains of Abraham to dance the night away in an igloo nightclub!
After that, we headed back to the cozy Hilton for a well earned rest.
When we first step foot into our hotel room in Quebec City at the Hilton, the first thing that we saw was the view. It was mesmerizing! We were on the 18th floor and when we weren’t exploring the city or Carnival, we were hanging out and looking out of the window.
The room is in a typical traditional style. It was very clean and comfortable. As for amenities, the room comes with a small coffee maker and toiletries. The room does not have a fridge.
The Hilton is located on the top of Parliament Hill, and only a ten minute walk from Old Quebec. The Eco Bus also has a stop right outside the hotel. The hotel has two restaurants. The more casual of the two is Allegro, offering buffet breakfast and dinners, as well as a la cart. If you want to dine with a view, head to the 23rd floor to enjoy dining at Restaurant 23.
All in all, I had a pleasant stay. This is a good place to stay if you want to be close to the heart of the city. It’s also excellent for families!
Where can you see scantily clad men and women dancing in the snow in the middle of February with Bonhomme? At Quebec’s Winter Carnival, of course.
On Feb. 16th at 2:00 pm, the Carnival hosted its annual Bain de Neige event (snow bath). It helped that the day was a cool -8 degrees under a bright blue sky. The 59 participants ran out to a large cheering crowd in three groups. Other than their bathing suits, they were allowed to wear shoes, mittens and socks.
Each time, they were encouraged to play, dance, and roll around in the snow. The groups came out in bursts, each longer than before. The first time was 3 minutes, 5 minutes and then finally 10 minutes. It was an incredibly fun event to watch and I really admired the participants! Check out a video below. ( PS: You can sign up to be part of the event for next year closer to Feb. 2014 on their website. )
Quebec City in the winter is simply ohmygosh gorgeous. It pretty much has everything you want. Romance? Check. Adventure? Double check. Foodie paradise? Charming? Yes, yes and yes. Here are some peeks of Old Quebec.
We took the Funiculaire (vertical tram) to get to the upper part of Old Quebec and it was breathtaking. It’s only $2.25 to ride! Despite all of the snow, it actually was comparable to Toronto in terms of coldness. I didn’t freeze! It was perfect.
I also really liked lots of the graffiti that I saw there. More pictures to follow from the fabulous winter carnival, restaurants and shopping!