I have an amazing job which requires me to relocate to a new city every 4-8 weeks. A while ago, I decided that the best way to start a new city was with a day of rest and restoration. And for me, rest and restoration ALWAYS involves a spa.
Currently, i’m in Montreal, one of my favorite cities in Canada. They speak French and give a lovely taste of European style and culture without the trip across the pond. One of my favorite parts of the city is Old Montreal, which sits right on the water of the St. Lawrence River. Here is where you will find Bota Bota, Spa Sur L’eau.
Anchored in the Old Port of Montreal, this spa-on-a-boat has had its days as a ferryboat, then a showboat, and has operated as a spa since 2010. My first trip to this amazing floating center of restoration was in 2011 and I loved it so much that I knew i’d forego my exploration of new spa and return a second time. And it did not disappoint!
Bota Bota offers a variety of treatments and activities including facials, massages, body treatments, mani/pedis, and yoga/pilates as well as a full service restaurant. It also features a water circuit which consists of hot tubs, steam rooms, saunas, and cold plunge pools.
I arrived to the spa about an hour before my scheduled body treatment so that I could take advantage of the water circuit and relax a bit before my appointment. The water circuit is designed to stimulate and relax the entire body. I began in the sauna which has large windows to enjoy the beauty of the river while the body warms up. After a few minutes in the sauna I like to head to the steam room which warms the body, opens the pores, and allows you to sweat and release toxins. Next, the cold plunge. Now, to anyone currently participating in “ice-water challenges”, that’s pretty much what a cold plunge is! It’s a small pool of ice water, large enough for just one or two people. The first time you take a cold plunge it takes a moment or two to gather up the nerve. But once you dunk yourself (head included) in the ice cold water you’ll feel so invigorated that you’ll want to do it again and again. If you’re a little nervous about dunking yourself in a pool of water, you can always opt of and ice shower. The purpose of a cold plunge is to shut the pores after they’ve released toxins in the sauna and steam room. It helps to tone and firm the skin and stimulate all the systems of the body (muscular, circulatory, digestive, etc). After the cold plunge I put on the soft and comfortable white robe provided by the spa, and went to the outdoor deck to lounge in the sun before my appointment.
The treatment that I chose for my visit was the Tribal Journey. I tend to experience the world most through my senses of smell and touch, so this treatment was perfect for me. It began with a full body exfoliation using ground up coffee grains. If you’re a coffee or cocoa lover, this equals HEAVEN. The scrub smelled like a chocolate lovers dream and felt amazing on my skin. After the full exfoliation, my service provider (Tasha, with a french accent!) removed much of the residue with a warm towel and continued the treatment by anointing (that’s what it felt like) me with a hydrating cactus cream. Then, and this is the best part, I was wrapped in a lovely cocoon of wax paper, sheets, and a warm blanket and left to marinate for 20 minutes. I love body wraps, so the part where i’m left alone to bake a little bit always leaves me in a state of euphoria. Once I had absorbed the benefits of the coffee exfoliation and cactus creme, I showered off the residue and received a lovely massage with manoi oil. Smell and touch. Yep! The entire treatment was 90 minutes of pure bliss! When the treatment was finished Tasha said to me “I didn’t think your skin could get much softer”. Well…it did!
After that kind of pampering, it was necessary to follow up with a lovely meal in the onboard restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating looking out over the river. I chose the arugula salad (i LOVE arugula) and the lime pie. A very light and delicious meal. The day ended with me doing the water circuit a few times more, taking a dip in the whirlpool at the front of the ship and then relaxing on the deck as the sun began to set. I. Love. Spa!
If you’re planning a trip to Bota Bota, here are a few helpful hints:
-Definitely bring your own slippers…the deck and floors get very slippery with all the water features.
-If you’re having a treatment, arrive about an hour early so that you can enjoy the water circuit and relax before your treatment.
-You may want to bring an extra towel. Only one is provided to you.
-If you’re particular about face wash and shampoo/conditioner, bring your favorite along so that you can shower at the end of your spa day.
-Kick back, relax, and enjoy pampering yourself. You deserve it!
For more info about Bota Bota, click the link below.