The French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec has developed a special appreciation for Nordic Spa culture. Perhaps it’s the northern affinity of embracing winter, something Quebec has always done in the most positive of ways, best represented by the annual Winter Carnival. Quebec’s love of the Scandinavian-style hydrotherapy circuit of hot and cold water experiences followed by a mindful relaxation period runs deep: the province’s first Nordic Spa, the Laurentian’s Spa de la Vallée de Saint-Sauveur, opened in 1964.
Today, spa enthusiasts can embrace the art of living and wellbeing at more than 90 Nordic spas operating in la belle province. From a silent spa near the slopes of Mont-Tremblant to a refurbished floating facility in cosmopolitan Montreal, and an award-winning thermal spa in Quebec City, these three stunning spas bring joie de vivre into blissful relief.
Bota Bota, Montreal
Located a few cobblestone steps from Montreal’s historic Old Port (Vieux-Port) neighborhood and with a decidedly industrial vibe, a former river ferry has been turned into the chic and unique Bota Bota, spa-sur-l’eau.
Urban stress melts away as soon as you enter the upscale “floating spa,” which consists of five decks that are home to four saunas, steam baths, a pool, several relaxation areas, terraces, and a lush garden—all with stunning views of the St. Lawrence River and the vibrant multicultural city of Montreal.
In addition to immersion in the spa’s reinvigorating hydrotherapy circuit, Bota Bota offers a range of facial and body treatments, including an extensive European and Asian massage menu.
At la traversée bistro, seasonal dishes like carmelized onion tarts and grilled croque monsieur sandwiches can be enjoyed alongside glasses of French wine, perfect for toasting an urban spa escape.
Today, spa enthusiasts can embrace the art of living and wellbeing at more than 90 Nordic spas operating in la belle province.
Strøm, Quebec City
The Old Quebec City location of Strøm Spa Nordique overlooks a spectacular vantage point along the vital St. Lawrence waterway that flows past this UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
In a magnificent building that combines modern architecture with ancient wellness rituals, guests can float effortlessly in North America’s largest floatation bath (where salinity levels hover around 25 percent), swing gently in hammock chairs in Strøm’s relaxation zones, and immerse themselves in the outdoor infinity pool at the edge of the river, which is partially frozen during the cold winter months.
Built in 2020, this latest addition to the Strøm Nordic Spa Collection (which includes Nuns’ Island, Sherbrooke, Mont-Saint-Hilaire), offers 32,000 square feet of indoor space that is divided into four pavilions, including; eight pools, some with waterfalls, indoor and outdoor hot tubs, two steam baths, two dry saunas, the Floating Pool, an infinity pool, a “lazy river” hot water pool, and 17 massage rooms.
The 70-seat Nord Restaurant features a boreal and Scandinavian-inspired menu (Danish-style smørrebrød, trout gravlax) that changes with the seasons. Its large outdoor terrace is ideal for lounging during the warm summer months.
Scandinave Spa, Mont-Tremblant
Nestled in a pine forest along the banks of the Diable (Devil’s) River, Scandinave Spa Mont-Tremblant is well-situated near the popular ski area in the green, rolling hills of Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains.
Guests are surrounded by the beauty of 72,000 square feet of nature and rustic spa buildings that include a large infinity edge pool with a waterfall, Finnish sauna, Eucalyptus steam baths, thermal pools, and fire and riverside relaxation areas.
Scandinave’s emphasis on the pure relaxation of mind, body, and spirit is encouraged through the hydrotherapy cycle and enhanced by a silence policy meant to promote a quiet and tranquil atmosphere in harmony with nature. Here, silence is golden.
The spa’s menu of massage services includes deep tissue, prenatal, and an option for a customized couples massage. The cosy Bistro features light spa cuisine like vegetable soups, quiches, and small bites, in an airy space overlooking the grounds.
Claudia Laroye is a freelance writer living in Vancouver, Canada. She writes about adventure, family, and wellness travel for a variety of online and print outlets, including; AFAR, the Globe and Mail, Vancouver Sun, Air Canada enRoute, Toronto Star, Lonely Planet, Saturday Evening Post, and Canadian Traveller. Her travel anthology, "A Gelato a Day" will be published in fall 2022.