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Around Ottawa, Gatineau Park, Spas and Wellness Retreats

Le Nordik Scandinavian Spa – the perfect way to unwind

Le Nordik Scandinavian Spa in Chelsea Quebec – a marvellous winter treat!

hot tubs and Christmas trees

Winter in Ottawa is special for so many reasons, and the short drive to le Nordik, a Scandinavian spa not far from the heart of Ottawa is one of them!  Le Nordik Spa en nature is nestled into the hills in Gatineau Park.  If the natural beauty doesn’t take your breath away, the sheer pleasure of immersing yourself into the new infinity pool with views of downtown Ottawa certainly will!

Infinity pool overlooking Ottawa

While open all year round, my favourite time to enjoy the spa is winter.  I love how the steam rises from the pools against the backdrop of the snowy hills.  I usually go for a ski in Gatineau Park first, although this year, with my new Atlas Run snow shoes, a tromp through the hills and the historic Mackenzie King Estate lands was the perfect prelude to what has become one of the largest day spas in North America.

winter spa retreat

So just how big is le Nordik? Le Nordik has expanded to include seven outdoor baths, seven saunas and 80,000 square feet of outdoor space.  Couple all that with 25 treatment rooms and you are in for a not so little slice of heaven!  The natural landscape is incorporated into every aspect of the spa with the pools nestled in amongst the hills and boulders and a natural waterfall that makes the cold water plunge even colder!

Now, there is a technique to get the maximum benefit from all that Le Nordik has to offer!


Thermotherapy, using hot and cold variations to encourage endorphin production.  This is the key to benefiting from a day at le Nordik!

  1. Warm up in a sauna or steam bath for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Do a quick pass under the Nordic waterfall (the water fall is breath takingly cold, but incredibly invigorating!) or take a dip in the cold or temperate pool for a few seconds.
  3. Rest fifteen minutes in one of our relaxation areas, outside or inside.
  4. Repeat this ritual three or four times, finally immersing yourself in one of our whirlpools for a moment of total relaxation.

One of the great things is, once you enter le Nordik day spa, you are welcome to say as long as you like!  I went with a girlfriend and we stayed for 8 hours – it was the ultimate in relaxation!  We moved from sauna to hot tub, relaxed in the relaxation room, drank tea and blissed out in our bathing suits outside by the fire!

day spa


Le Nordik has 7 unique sauna experiences to enjoy.  My favourite saunas are the The Tuli sauna (Tuli means fire in Finnish) – an octagonal space with a fireplace designed with meditation in mind and the Finlandia sauna – essential oils are added to the experience every hour on the hour.  You can lie down on the wooden benches and soak in the heat, all tension melted away as relaxation takes over.  We were in and out of the Finlandia sauna a number of times over the day, but it was the lavender essential oil permeating the air at the end of the day that made for the perfect finish!

They have added a new ritual to the experience in the Finlandia sauna – Aufguss – but for this, you must be on time.  Once the ritual starts, the door to the sauna is closed.  We were soaking in the tub when we heard the gong.  Leisurely, we made our way over to experience this new ritual only to find we would have to come back when it was over!  We watched through the window for a few minutes before returning to the pools – next visit, I will make sure to be there!

Day Spa in Chelsea


“In addition to causing an immediate sensation of well-being and relaxation, heat therapy can eliminate toxins, relax muscles, improve sleep quality, boost the immune system, and increase body oxygenation. By purifying the body and spirit, it enables enthusiasts to find their natural balance.” (Le nordik)

I have found the best time to enjoy all that le Nordik has to offer is during the week.  It’s popularity has skyrocketed with those in the know and weekends are often busy.  They have done extensive work to expand le Nordik over the years, and I was surprised as how many new features, like the infinity pool and addition of new saunas, had been added.  The change rooms all have wristband activated locks that are included in your entrance.  Make sure to bring a rob and flip flops (I forgot mine – conveniently, they are available for rental or purchase in the gift shop if you forget too!) as well as a refillable water bottle.  The restaurant and bar area has expanded and you could see couples and friends lounging with a drink in their robes.  I could just melt into the woodworks here – the architects have thought of every comfort and created the most relaxing atmosphere for you to enjoy.  Le Nordik is an ultimate destination of relaxation, well being and balance.  I know I will be back!  After all, everyone needs a little luxury!

day spa near Ottawa

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About Anita Mac

The bucket list just keeps growing! The more I cross off - the more exciting new destinations and activities I find! I have been fortunate enough to travel a considerable distance over the years. My love of many things, including travel, cycling, kayaking and photography fit together like hand and glove. I have to keep asking myself....where to next? I am happy to share my travels and photography through my blogs: http://traveldestinationbucketlist.com and http://anitamacphotos.wordpress.com Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! On to the next adventure!


23 thoughts on “Le Nordik Scandinavian Spa – the perfect way to unwind

  1. looks wonderful

    Posted by blisstravelsnews | January 17, 2013, 9:23 am
  2. Devine! Your pictures are great. I haven’t been there lately, hmm….

    Posted by drawandshoot | January 17, 2013, 11:35 am
  3. What a Great Place to Unwind and Relax and Pamper Yourself – thanks for sharing! Have a Great One:)

    Posted by cravesadventure | January 17, 2013, 11:49 am
  4. Nice to hear they even use Finnish word Tuli.

    Posted by reijosfood | January 17, 2013, 12:08 pm
  5. OMG! I would go to Ottawa just to go there! I miss our Finnish sauna haus at Sylvan Lake.

    Posted by midnitechef | January 17, 2013, 12:21 pm
  6. Yes! I’ve been there. I went a few years ago and couldn’t quite manage the cold plunge pool. It was also a record cold day, so I figured I substituted the cold pool/waterfall with dashing from the outdoor saunas to the indoor relaxation rooms 🙂

    Posted by jcwildphotos | January 17, 2013, 12:56 pm
    • I know what you are saying. I don’t always make it all the way under the waterfall. I am pretty happy if I get in part way! So refreshing after the wet sauna which I always find so hard to stay in – I love it but the heat gets to me pretty quickly! I find the dry saunas so much easier to relax in!

      Posted by Anita Mac | January 17, 2013, 5:24 pm
  7. Wow. The only outdoor spa experience I had was on the Isle of Mull in Scotland. That was pretty special. But this looks even more so.

    Posted by Matthew Hirtes | January 19, 2013, 3:39 pm
    • Le Nordik is very special….the setting is magical. They have all sorts of special touches….private places to sit and relax, couples massages, the infinity pool. Have not been to the one in Scotland – will have to try some day!

      Posted by Anita Mac | January 20, 2013, 10:26 am
  8. Great post and wonderful photos.

    Well, what comes to Sauna, we do not need any rituals in our home.

    Here my post from our Sauna and explanation how we use our Sauna in Finland:

    Finnish Sauna.

    Thank You for Your very interesting post!

    Posted by Sartenada | January 21, 2013, 7:25 am
  9. This place looks amazing and sounds so relaxing! I love saunas and pools, and it makes it even better when some of them are outside!

    Posted by Jenna Kvidt | January 31, 2013, 9:43 am
  10. Love this spa, used to go at least once a year when I lived in Ottawa!

    Posted by Travel Lady | February 6, 2013, 7:24 am


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