I wish I could say I anticipated this unseasonably-warm weather this winter. It has certainly made driving far easier. And good thing because the shoeshoes and snowboard in my car don’t provide much traction and they certainly haven’t left my car much.
Luckily, I’ve found other ways to spend my weekends, instead of on the hills or trails. Including at Spa Nordik.
I had stopped counting the number of people who asked me if I’d been to Spa Nordik yet when I was in Ottawa. They would rave about it and tell me I had to go. And by rave, I mean, hands-down, love it and have nothing bad to say. So, I knew it must be worth a visit because even the best Scandinave Spa reviews from friends come with some hesitation.
So, I decided it was finally time to check it out.
It was incredible. Infinity-hot-pool-beer-garden-incredible.
Sidebar: The town in which Le Spa Nordik is located is also awfully cute. Chelsea is just a short 10 minute drive north of Ottawa. It’s a little ski town outside Gatineau Park. The Chelsea Pub serves up the most unique and delicious fish sandwich I ever had (like shiracha breaded cod and wasabi mayo on a pretzel bun…).
FYI. It doesn’t have a gas station. Fill up before you leave Ottawa or pull off the Highway onto Boulevard des Hautes-Plaines.
OK – now what about Le Spa Nordik?
Our experience was overall really good. It really is as amazing as people say it is.
We had 8:30 PM massage appointments (they are open until midnight on Fridays), so we went at 4:00 PM to enjoy the “thermal experience”. You are guaranteed access to the thermal experience with a treatment, but when we arrived, we learned a large number of people come just for the former. If you didn’t mind waiting to get in, I think that is definitely the way to go.
The baths and saunas and lounge rooms are all beautiful. There are several, more secluded quiet areas and small chalets throughout with fireplaces and chairs for relaxing. There are rooms with hot beds where you can sleep. Personally, I really enjoyed the Russian sauna and exfoliation experience.
Visiting the spa in winter felt like a real nordic experience (or at least what I imagine it would be). It was cold when we came out though and as night fell, we found it harder to escape the chill. Our wet robes didn’t help, and we were disappointed we couldn’t get a dry one. By the time we went for our massage, we couldn’t fathom putting the cold, wet robe on again to use the hot pool after sadly.
The soft lighting, snow and forest around us really did make it a surreal and magical experience at night. The boiling kettles of cedar boughs also released a sweet cedar smell that was heavenly. I can’t wait to return!
Tips to Make the Most of the Spa Nordik Experience:
- Towel off when you come out of the pools before you put your robe on. We made the mistake of pulling the dry robe on and guess what – it soon was not dry! Then it was cold and this kind of killed the experience for us.
- Bring a water bottle, book, and flip flops. There are lots of lounging cabins and you can just chill in them. There is tea and water available in a few of the lounges but it’s nice to have your own and stay hydrated.
- Bring an extra towel or robe of your own. See first point above.
- Put some money on your wristband for the biergarten when you check-in. It feels like a long walk back to the front-desk in a cold robe when you want a drink.
- Don’t put money on your wristband for the lounge or restaurant if you are trying to save. It’s a long walk back to the front-desk in a cold robe and you may just decide you don’t want a drink.
- If you want a treatment, book well in advance for best availability and try to go on a weekday to avoid the crowds.