This last Christmas, I was able to experience one of the most incredible experiences ever. Quite honestly, this day will rank in the top 10 best days of my entire life!
I was able to spend the day at Nordik Spa-Nature, in Chelsea, Quebec, with my two lifelong best friends. For years now, I have had people talk about Nordik Spa-Nature, but every time I’ve been home to visit (Ottawa, Ontario), life has just been too busy with visiting family and friends and typically, doing holiday events.
But this Christmas, with my two best friends and I back in town (one lives in Nashville and the other in Norway), we decided to take advantage of us all being in one city and head to the spa for the day.
Let me tell you that from the moment you walk up to the spa, it’s like you’ve walked into heaven. I actually said a few times during the day, “Do you think heaven will resemble Nordik at all?!”
Only 10 minutes from downtown Ottawa, yet nuzzled away at the entrance of the Gatineau Park, the spa is ideally located in the hills, overlooking the urban sprawl. Nordik has seven outdoor baths, eight sauna’s, one infinity pool, a number of steam rooms, two restaurants and numerous lounge areas with fireplaces! They also have a recently added Kalla experience, which is only the second salt-water floating pool in the world! With numerous awards to their credit, it’s no wonder why this place feels like heaven on earth.
We arrived mid-afternoon to begin our spa experience. At check-in, you are given a bracelet to wear that you can pre-fill with money for your spa purchases, such as food, drinks and various services. This makes it so that you don’t have to carry around money or credit cards while you are “pool hopping.”
Then we picked up bathrobes, which are available to rent for $11 for the day. They also provide you with unlimited towels throughout your stay at the spa. I want to add in here that I would recommend renting their robe as well as bringing a secondary robe for use, especially if you plan on being there for the majority of the day. We found that even with towel drying after coming out of each pool, our bathrobes still got quite wet. Understandably, Nordik can’t exchange bathrobes with all their patrons all day long (imagine the laundry!). So we all thought that having two bathrobes on hand, one dry one to use midday, would have been perfect (especially in the winter months, when it’s cold outside).
The way that Noridk recommends you truly experience the “thermal experience” is to start off in a hot place, can be hot tub, sauna or steam room, for about 20 minutes or so, then take a quick plunge into one of their cold pools and then go relax. You can then repeat this cycle as many times as you like. They say that repeating this cycle at least three times helps eliminate toxins in your body, as well as bring about deep relaxation.
Being my first time, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. And I should probably say here that I really don’t enjoy sweating. I’ve never been a fan of sauna’s or steam rooms before. I will say that it took me a probably an hour or so and a couple of cycles through, to really start to chill and feel that relaxation set in.
To be honest, the first time we went into the Eucalyptus steam room, my girls and I had a bit of a hard time relaxing and just breathing it all in. Within about two minutes of being in there, you are instantly pouring in sweat. For someone with a Type A personality like myself, it’s hard to just let yourself GO and RELAX! I’m so busy-busy-busy all the time and I don’t often make time to relax, let alone deeply relax. So the first time through the steam room, it was tough. But after that first time, I was begging the girls to go back in again!
Nordik Spa-Nature is now one of only two spas in the world that offer the Kalla treatment: a salt water floating experience. We were lucky enough to try this experience for ourselves. It’s built underground, in a rock, and is very quiet, dark and calm in there. Filled with 12% epsom salts, the water actually enables you to float, allowing all the weight in your body to relax. For me, I found it tricky to really allow myself to relax in this way. Being with my two best friends who I haven’t seen in a few years, we wanted to spend as much time talking as we could. So I think in our context, it was tough for us to really allow ourselves to fully relax in this context. But let me tell you, I could definitely hear some people snoring as they were floating…they were THAT relaxed!
The sauna’s, the infinity pool, the waterfalls, the relaxation rooms, the fireplaces…all of it, was just incredible and it’s really hard for me to to pick my overall favorite experience of the spa. BUT, after thinking long and hard about it, I think I’m come up with my top one: the Aufguss experience! Aufguss is German, meaning “infusion,” and follows an ancient Finnish practice of generating bursts of hot, humid air by pouring water on heated stones. They infuse the water (or in our experience, snow balls) with essential oils to heighten the experience of the traditional vaporization treatment. Then an Aufguss master uses a towel to agitate the warm arm by fanning it towards everyone in the sauna. This is all choreographed to music and was honestly, my favorite experience at Nordik! Again, sweating more than I ever thought I could, I focused on my breathing and allowing my body to fully relax. This experience lasts about 10-15 minutes and once we came out of the sauna, I felt like a new person. Taking a quite plunge into the cold pool to close back up the pores, this is when the true euphoric feeling started to settle into my body.
I should also mention that we enjoyed some of their fabulous dining. With two restaurants on site, one as a seated dinner style and the other a more lounge-tapa’s style, we were able to enjoy both! We had a delicious dinner at the Resto, still in our bathrobes and then later went for a drink at the Panorama Lounge, around the fireplace!
We ended up spending eight and a half hours total at the spa and quite honestly, it felt like maybe we had been there only an hour. As a busybody, the idea of spending the day at the spa was something I thought I would be bored with. Quite the contrary happened. The ONLY stressful thing about my time there was that I felt like I was running OUT of time because I didn’t want the day to end.
If you have never been to Nordik Spa-Nature, I would HIGHLY recommend that you do, sometime in your life! This was an experience like no other I’ve ever had and I honestly cannot wait to go back again!
Note: I did receive free admittance to the spa, in exchange for a review. However, this review and my feelings expressed are 100% honest and my own.