Business brisk at Quebec's 'ice hotel'

North America's first hotel made out of ice officially opened in Quebec Monday, with the owners confident they've imported a hot commodity.

One sign of early success reads "no vacancy."

The Ice Hotel Quebec-Canada is made out of thousands of tonnes of snow and ice along the St. Lawrence River.

There are six suites where everything, from the furniture to the glasses, is carved out of the same material: ice.

Although guests are promised a chilly reception, with the temperature hovering around -3 C inside the rooms, they do get sleeping bags and animal furs for their cold, hard beds.

The hotel, which is still under construction, eventually plans to open a bar and cinema. There are portable toilets right now, although guests must go next door for showers.

It accommodates up to 22 people at one time, with prices ranging from $280 for a single to $120 per person in a suite shared by at least five people.

On opening night all six rooms were taken, and the owners said they've already received more than 1,000 reservations for the next few months mainly from the United States.

The hotel is in Montmorency Falls, on the outskirts of Quebec City.

It's modelled after a similar resort in Jukkasjaervi, Sweden a village about 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle.

Sweden's popular hotel, which opened a decade ago, is a little bigger than a football field roughly four times the size of the Quebec structure.

It's rebuilt every December and lasts for up to five months, depending on the weather.

The owners of Quebec's hotel are already planning to expand next year, moving to the nearby Duchesnay resort where they intend to build a new facility roughly as large as the one in Sweden.

In the meantime, they're advising anyone who wants to book a night in Montmorency to hurry. The hotel is expected to melt by the end of March.