Sitting peacefully on the outskirts of Gatineau Park, Nordik Spa-Nature is the largest spa in North America. It may only be a 10-minute drive from Ottawa but, if you don’t visit very often, the experience can be intimidating. That’s right, even indulgent pampering is a challenge! Not only does the compound continue to grow, it also seems to be in a permanent state of flux. From the subtle changes in landscaping to the completely new add-ins, there’s a wealth of ways to take in the experience without leaving the comfort of your own robe. Here are some new features to look out for.
There’s a new pool
For those who refuse to retreat indoors during cooler temperatures, Nordik currently offers ten outdoor baths with Onsën being its first covered pool. Inspired by Japan’s natural hot springs, the pool is built from rocks and stone and features a gentle waterfall that will wash away your cares. Set at 37 °C, this area is a crowd pleaser when the sun starts to go down. Alternate between hot and cold, ceiling and sky, by heading over to the nearby waterfalls.
Where to find it: nestled in the Borëa section (whispering allowed) beside the Espace Banyä building.
There’s a Biërgarden
Overlooking not one, not two, but three pools, this gem is open daily from noon to 10pm when it doesn’t rain. Sure, the Biërgarden offers up a breathtaking, one of a kind, view of the changing leaves. And yes, it’s the only place where you’ll track down a refreshing Beau’s beer to help take in such a view. But to top things off, guests can order from a choice of delectable comfort food to complete the experience. We’re talking hot dogs, tacos, and grilled cheese sandwiches that arrive faster than you can say “infinity pool.”
Where to find it: in the appropriately named Panorama section, where you can socialize and enjoy poolside drinks with friends.
There’s a new practice focused on wellness
What better way to welcome the colder months than with an experience rich in Russian sauna tradition? Banyä begins in November and is an hour-long treatment that includes vodka infused chervil, a salt and essential oils exfoliation process, and a birch veniks ritual. It’s known to improve blood circulation, deep-clean the skin, and boost the immune system. Occurring twice a day, you can relax and let the dry heat and humid steam stimulate your senses during this 1000-year-old tradition.
Where to find it: across from the bistro, in the Borëa section, Banyä is the largest sauna on site.
Going to the spa is more about recharging your battery than it is about indulgence, and that can often involve exercise or communal practice to activate the mind and body. Every weekend, those wanting to get the most out their relaxation experience can book 60-minute or 90-minute sessions for $15 and $20 respectively. Sessions are bilingual and range from Beginner Hatha Yoga to Yin, Hot, and Power Yoga. Try the sauna before and after yoga to see how your breathing has changed.
Where to find it: inside Espace Banyä, the two-storey meditative space that opened at the end of 2016.
Whether you’re planning that unforgettable weekend with friends and loved ones, or just need a few hours to yourself after a long day’s work, there’s never a bad time to hit the spa. Think of it like a ski resort; you may not get to see and do everything, but you’ll appreciate the experience whether you stay for a few hours or a few meals at a time.
Nordik Spa-Nature is located at 16 chemin Nordik, in Chelsea, QC. It is open every day except December 25, 9am to 11pm Sunday—Thursday, 9am to midnight Friday and Saturday.