Spend a few hours luxuriating in a spa! Sign me up. Make the experience something truly unique like a Scandinavian Spa in a reconditioned ferry boat in the St Lawrence seaway…even better! Introducing Bota Bota Scandinavian Spa found in the Old Port of Montreal.
Officially opened in December 2010, the story of Bota Bota actually starts decades earlier. During the 50’s and 60’s, known as The Arthur Cardin, the ferryboat sailed between Sorel and Bethier in Quebec. The next phase of the boat’s life was as a showboat on the Richelieu River in 1967, putting on decades of shows. Finally, in 2008, the ferry boat took on a new direction in life as an enchanting place of relaxation!
The spa is spread across 5 decks, housing 25,000 square feet of relaxation. While you are free to follow your own routine, to fully enjoy the benefits of the thermal therapy and water circuit, there is a recommended circuit to follow:
“To enjoy the full benefits of thermal therapy, it is very important to follow the circuit’s clearly defined steps. Start on the Promenade Deck or the Sunshine Deck for a 10 to 15 minute session in the dry sauna or steam bath. This will raise your body temperature, dilate pores and flush out toxins. Next, take a courageous dip (head included!) into one of the cold baths or under the cold shower to get your heart pumping and close your pores. The final step in the Nordic bath circuit involves stretching out in one of our many relaxation areas. You can also enjoy the stunning views from one of the whirlpools or curl up in a chair on the Middle Deck for 20 minutes, as your heart rate returns to normal. This is your time to close your eyes, relax, and let yourself be swept away!” – Bota Bota: The Water Circuit.
For the bravest of the brave….there are frosty tubs out on deck. I wasn’t brave enough to fully dip into the cold baths. Having just spent the night in Montreal’s Ice Hotel, and given that it was the middle of winter and Montreal was in the grips of a serious snow storm at the time, it was easy to see how I would be drawn to the comforts of the relaxation spaces instead. With choices of bean bags, hammock chairs and deck loungers, it was easy to fall asleep to the gentle sounds of an afternoon spent in a spa!
A sprint across the deck in the snow storm to get to the steamy hot tub outside really is a must! The view of Montreal is well worth it, but my favourite part – I find it so refreshing to sit in the hot tub, warm water swirling all around, with the cool air frosting the steam to my hair and eyelashes. Bring on the winter jacuzzi! Brings me back to hot tubbing it in Whistler after a day of skiing!
Don’t think all this resting and relaxation doesn’t work up an appetite! Thankfully, Bota Bota has thought of everything including a fresh and simple menu on board. The restaurant is by Auberge sur la Route and it has a variety of snacks and light options to keep you going.
While I didn’t try any of the treatments, there are a number on offer, as well as yoga and pilates classes. They really have everything you could possibly need neatly packed in such a unique spa environment. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would feel like to have the gentle movement of the boat as it sits in the water gently lolling with the current. I am sure I would never leave!
I really think Bota Bota said it best: “Step onboard into a universe awash with astounding contrasts. In an enchanting space, between two water worlds… float away.”
- Le Travelist: Bota Bota Montreal
- Take Me Away: Bota Bota Montreal
- Zurbaines: Bota Bota also has a floating bistro
- Le Nordik Scandinavian Spa – the perfect way to unwind
Many thanks to Bota Bota for a most relaxing afternoon in Montreal. I loved it and the opinions expressed here, as always, are my own.