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CNN Today

First Ice Hotel in North America Now Open for Business

Aired January 2, 2001 - 4:47 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: How about this idea for an unusual vacation getaway: an Ice Hotel in Canada? The first Ice Hotel in North America opened New Year's Day just outside Quebec City. This facility has lots of amenities, including a bar, a cinema and two art galleries. And it's getting quite a bit of interest, especially from tourists here in the United States.

On the phone from Quebec City: the Ice Hotel's vice president of communications, Mr. Francis Leonard.

Mr. Leonard, thanks for being with us. Just how cold is it in your hotel?

FRANCIS LEONARD, V.P. OF COMMUNICATIONS, ICE HOTEL: It is not cold, actually. It is cool. Actually, to give an example, it makes like a thermal. For example, if it is minus-30, it is about minus-3 inside.

CHEN: That doesn't sound very warm, though.

LEONARD: Eh?

CHEN: It doesn't sound very warm, though. Minus-3 still doesn't sound very warm.

LEONARD: Yes, but, I mean, the people who sleep at our hotel, they do have an arctic sleeping bag of minus-30. So the worst thing that is going to happen is they are going to get too warm. So there's no problem there.

CHEN: So, OK, in a room in your hotel, we would get a sleeping bag, and what else to keep warm?

LEONARD: Yes, actually, the bed is made out of ice. Then you have a base of wood, then a mattress, then (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on top, and then an arctic sleeping bag, like I said. And all the suites are -- they have different designs, because it's all different subjects. So you have pictures on the wall, sculptures, the chair, table, lights, and everything as a regular ice suite.

CHEN: Do you allow people to smoke cigarettes in your hotel? I mean, wouldn't that...

LEONARD: No, it's non-smoker. CHEN: No-smoking hotel. OK. That could be good for some folks as well. Now, who is coming to your hotel?

LEONARD: Actually, right now, there is about 60 percent of the clientele comes from the United States. And of this 60 percent, it's -- most of them, it's New York, California, Texas, Florida, the people who come from the South and they never saw snow in their life. So for them, it is a peak experience. You know: I slept in the Ice Hotel and I survived.

And the rest of the persons is Japanese, France, Germany, England. And I have people from over the world, who like to have a winter experience with us.

CHEN: Yes, well, now, isn't your hotel kind of going to go out of business at some point? I mean, it does get warm in Quebec at some point in the year.

LEONARD: No, no, no, it is winter here, actually. In Quebec, we do have four seasons. We have summer and also winter. So it's going to be open. Actually, we did open yesterday. And the first -- and it is a 12-week operation. So we'll be closing the 31st of March. And then it is going to melt. And then next year, we're going build it again. But it's going to be different, because all the design and everything is going to be -- it's going to be a new hotel, you know?

CHEN: It's new every year, huh? Well...

LEONARD: It's new every year. Exactly.

CHEN: All right. Well, we hope global warming doesn't get you, Mr. Leonard. Francis Leonard is the vice president of communications for the Ice Hotel. We understand that a room there costs about 100 U.S. dollars a night. Doesn't sound too bad, but I don't know if that would be comfortable enough to spend your vacation.

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