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Canada, Spas and Wellness Retreats

Bota Bota Scandinavian Spa Sur l’Eau – Montreal

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.

Scandinavian Spa in 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!

Bota Bota spa in the Old Port of Montreal

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.

Cold baths in the winter

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!

things to do in Montreal - Scandinavian 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!

Outdoor hot tub at Bota Bota

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.

Drinks at the Bota Bota Spa Bistro

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.”

Related Links:

relaxation at the Bota Bota Spa

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.

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!


33 thoughts on “Bota Bota Scandinavian Spa Sur l’Eau – Montreal

  1. How Cool is that – relaxation and recycling all wrapped into one! Thanks for sharing – Happy Hump Day:)

    Posted by cravesadventure | February 27, 2013, 1:23 pm
  2. The fact that it’s all in a boat is absolutely awesome! Geez I’m missing too much on
    The wrong coast 😦

    Posted by andy1076 | February 27, 2013, 1:49 pm
  3. Reblogged this on My story to you.. and commented:
    This is one awesome spa, definitely has to be on your bucket list 😀

    Posted by andy1076 | February 27, 2013, 1:58 pm
  4. Love Bota Bota! It’s definitely one of the best spas in town. Glad you had fun 😉

    Posted by travellersoul76 | February 27, 2013, 2:01 pm
  5. ahhhh that was such a nice day. i’m still dreaming of my body scrub!!

    Posted by lola | February 27, 2013, 5:38 pm
  6. Unique is one word I would use to describe Bota Bota. Looks pretty cool, and not just the temp outside!
    I loved Montreal and will go back. Quebec City is a great destination, as well, but best visited in warmer weather.
    Glad you’re having fun and sharing your travel experiences with us.
    Thanks for the “likes”.

    Posted by Michael Doran | February 27, 2013, 5:40 pm
  7. Reminds me of the time I sat in a jacuzzi as the rain poured down on the Isle of Mull. Happy days. Great post, Anita.

    Posted by Matthew Hirtes | February 27, 2013, 6:24 pm
    • Hmmmm….somehow I don’t think sitting in the rain is the same as the snow, but then again, you are already wet!!! Have enjoyed being on the water in the rain before! And, an outside jacuzzi is awesome anywhere!

      Posted by Anita Mac | February 28, 2013, 12:57 pm
  8. How interesting…I’m glad I stopped by today. Canada is just a hop, skip and a jump from New Hampshire and I love spas.

    Posted by Karen | February 27, 2013, 8:01 pm
  9. So upset I didn’t have time for this. Will HAVE to make it a priority on my next visit!

    Posted by The World Wanderer (@TheWrldWanderer) | February 28, 2013, 6:04 pm
  10. What a great idea. Love a hot tub in the snow and one on a boat is certainly different!

    Posted by Lucy Dodsworth | March 1, 2013, 7:07 am
  11. I’ve walked by Bota Bota many times and always wondered what it looked like from the inside. Looks very neat, although I’m not much of a spa person. (However post-skiing at Whistler sounds like something I’d be up for). With Bota Bota, I always found it a bit funny that you could see people lounging around in housecoats on deck while walking along the canal (more so in the summer, of course…)

    Posted by workinacheeseshop | March 1, 2013, 8:34 am
    • Even if you are not a spa person, you should check it out some time. A couple of hours of relaxation is always good. I am more of a spa person in winter…when it is cold and blustery outside, inside the spa is such a great place to be!

      Posted by Anita Mac | March 1, 2013, 12:13 pm
  12. Yea…. that dip into the frosty tub in the middle of a Montreal winter is not in the books for me either. An interesting concept though!

    Posted by ilivetotravel | August 11, 2013, 10:02 am
  13. While I don’t consider myself a spa person, I do enjoy relaxing muscles after a run or hike. The older you get the better the relaxation feels. I might have to check this out in February after I ski.

    Posted by Traveling Ted (@travelingted) | August 11, 2013, 2:05 pm
  14. Looks like quite an experience!

    Posted by Ana Silva O'Reilly (@mrsoaroundworld) | August 12, 2013, 8:39 am
  15. This is too cool–no pun intended. That hot tub with the ice around it looks awesome! I’d love to have a hot toddy in there.

    Posted by Leah Travels (@L_e_a_h) | August 13, 2013, 9:39 am
  16. I agree, what’s not to love about a spa day…. and extreme hot and cold to peak performance… how was you evening afterwards on the town…

    stay adventurous, Craig

    Posted by Craig Zabransky | August 13, 2013, 7:36 pm


  1. Pingback: Montreal Bucket List – unique winter experiences you have to try | Travel Destination Bucket List - February 27, 2013

  2. Pingback: The Great Escape – Montreal, Canada Edition | where in the world is lola? - August 5, 2013

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