Unique Sleeps in Canada—from Tipis to Ice

Canada, Hotel News, Staying There — By on October 17, 2011 at 11:58 pm

By Julie Ovenell-Carter
Special to The Lost Girls

I don’t care how many threads they swaddle you in—a hotel bed = Plain. Old. Boring. Why should your vacation adventure come to a standstill just because it’s time to rest your head? It doesn’t have to in Canada!

Sleep with a polar bear…

Wildlife doesn’t come when it’s called. If you want close encounters with wild animals, you need to head out to the wild—and wait. In Churchill, Manitoba, the Tundra Buggy Lodge parks itself in the bears’ backyard, and keeps you safe, warm, and in perfect viewing range of all the action.

In a tipi

For more than 6,000 years, the Northern Plains’ natives gathered on the site of present-day Wanuskewin Heritage Park in the prairie province of Saskatchewan. Today, you can overnight in a traditional tipi in the park’s Opimihaw Valley and learn about the history and traditions of the area’s First Nations.

With a Mountie

You wish. Sadly for Red Serge fetishists—and there are more of us out there than you might think—the Royal Canadian Mounted Police does not see fit to rent rooms in the training dorms in Regina, Saskatchewan. But you could go to jail to work on your tall-boots-and-handcuffs fantasy: The HI hostel in Ottawa, Ontario is actually a converted prison.

On ice

How cold is Canada? This cold: Every structure in Quebec’s dramatic Ice Hotel (Hotel de Glace) is made entirely of snow and ice—even the drinking glasses and beds.  There’s also a chapel for the ultimate winter wedding, but be warned: The honeymoon might get off to a chilly start, even with the vodka shots and animal skin-insulation provided.

On a train

Trains put Canada on the tourism map. More than a century ago, the first passenger trains rolled through the Rocky Mountains; today a train trip across Canada is still the best way to grasp the scale and scope of this vast country.  A coast-to-coast trip takes several days; be sure book a sleeper on VIA Rail—like a hotel room that travels with you.

At sea

Take an overnight mini-cruise through the Inside Passage aboard BC Ferries from Port Hardy on Vancouver Island to Prince Rupert on BC’s northern coast. It’s not as fancy (or pricey) as a five-star luxury cruise, but it’s every bit as beautiful. Bring your car along and make a circle tour out of the excursion: you can do a scenic loop of the province starting from Vancouver on the south coast.

Under the stars

Camping is a rite of passage for many Canadian kids, but older bones may balk at sleeping on bare ground. For you there is “glamping”—elegant safari tents complete with en-suite bathrooms and 400-thread-count sheets. One of the best examples:  Clayoquot Wilderness Resort on the wild western edge of Vancouver Island.

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