Wow, what an experience! We arrived around 4.30pm after getting the public bus from downtown Quebec (very easy, $3, and it drops you off a 2 minute walk away). Check in was easy and the staff were helpful in making sure we had everything we needed, getting our bags to our locker and making a reservation for dinner.
Next up, the tour. Our guide was funny, enthusiastic and informative and of course, the hotel is just spectacular. We then had some time to wander around all the themed suites alone which are mostly incredible (the avelanche is the coolest in my opinion).
After the sleeping instruction/safety talk we got a cab to dinner. The restuarant recommended to us was very nice and close by. On our return we changed back into snow gear for ice carving and cocktails in the bar and a go on the slide and ice drum kit. We had quite a few drinks, including the free one. Yes they're expensive but they're yummy and it's fun to hang out in the bar with other guests. Alcohol keeps you warmer too. It was quite quiet on the night we were there - everyone seemed to hit the hot tubs and then bed very early for some reason. We avoided the rush and got into the tubs at about 12.30. For me this was the best bit. It was snowing which created the perfect atmosphere and there were only a few of us there by that time so it was pretty private. After an hour or so of enjoying the spa we decided to go to bed. The facilites in the celcius room are great and i never had to wait for a shower/hair dryer/changing space.
We only brought cotton clothes to wear in bed (it would have been helpful to have been told on booking that this isn't a good material to wear rather than where you get there) so we decided to go with the staff recommendation and sleep in nothing. If you're toasty warm from the hot tub and don't hang around too long before getting into bed you'll be fine. I was warm all night (apart from my nose which got quite cold) and i tend to get cold very easily. I didn't sleep brilliantly but that's to be expected and i think more to do with the fact that i find a sleepning bag to be restrictive and doesn't let me sleep in the position i normally do, than the cold. I was already awake at 8am so the wake up call wasn't a problem. The sleeping bags are easy to use if you follow the instructions.
The facilites in the morning were great. Again, no problem getting a shower etc. Sadly the breakfast was a massive let down. Hard croissants, miserable looking cornflakes, a few deep fried sausages and little rubbery scrambled egg pots don't really cut it when you're paying so much a night, and the breakfast room leaves a lot to be desired. That can be forgiven though.
Most people left very early but we decided to go snow shoeing after breakfast which was a nice new experience. The trail goes around the abandoned zoo that the hotel is built in. We got a bit lost but enjoyed ourselves. Then a quick bus ride back to the city for the rest of our trip.
All in all an amazing experience from start to finish.
Recommendations: I wouldn't bother getting the seperate hotel room. We didn't do this but it seems completely not worth the money. You have everything you need at the ice hotel and the only benefit to me seems like a better breakfast.
I also personally wouldn't bother with the theme rooms. They're beautiful but you get to see all of them anyway and when you do actually go into your room you're just going to go straight to sleep, not hang around enjoying the scenery. It doesn't seem worth the extra expense to me.
Make sure you wear snow pants if you have them. Hanging around is much more fun if you're warm and dry and you don't want to have to hang out in the heated lounge too much because it's far less fun than the hotel itself.
Use the hot tubs!
Don't bring cotton to sleep in.
Don't stay if you don't like the cold and a little adventure.