Montreal features scores of solid spa experiences, from indoor and outdoor Nordic water circuits to healing massages and professionally executed beauty treatments. But who does it the best?
These 11 top spas in Montreal made the list for a reason, whether it's for consistently positive word-of-mouth, a bewitching ambiance, state-of-the-art facilities, unique treatment modalities, or a simple savoir-faire that keeps clients coming back year after year.
Located on the third floor of Place d'Armes Hôtels, one of Old Montreal's highest-rated hotels, Rainspa is 2,500 square feet of spa, offering traditional services such as mani-pedis, facials, body treatments, LED and microdermabrasion treatments, as well as massage therapy.
Special treatment options for men are also offered, and perhaps the most enticing attraction of all is Rainspa's hammam, a hot and humid steam room inspired by traditional Morrocan and Turkish baths. Imagine a sauna, but wetter.
Strøm Spa Nordique
Finding a hot-and-cold Nordic Spa surrounded by nature and calm in the middle of an urban setting is a tall order. Strøm Spa Nordique manages to find a happy medium with Nuns' Island, a tranquil Montreal neighborhood known for its wooded areas and waterfronts, with the spa itself a 20-minute drive from downtown Montreal, located on the edge of Lac des Battures, Nuns' Island's lone lake.
In addition to standard spa services such as facials, body treatments, and massage therapy, Strøm proposes monthly and bimonthly events, social activities paired with the zen appeal of its specialty: thermal baths. Family brunches, gourmet breakfast and baths, and one-day retreats featuring conferences, meditation, yoga, and healthy meals round out its day offerings.
For a nightlife slant, try Strøm's Cøzy Thursdays, which consist of thermal baths, wine tastings, and hors d'oeuvres set to lounge music. Or try Friday Under the Stars' DJ mixes, which includes a martini bar and dinner.
Branding itself "Montréal’s first and only one-stop grooming destination exclusively for men," downtown spa MANN proposes a variety of spa treatment and grooming services designed just for men. Men can enjoy waxing manscape services to back, body care, and hair loss treatments and as any good spa would offer, massage therapy. Massage styles include Swedish, deep tissue, and hot stones.
MANN packages such as the CEO and MISTER MANN combine old-fashion straight blade shaves with modern mani-pedis and 60-minute massages, saving clients money on individual services. For the ultimate clean-up-good, opt for THE BIG DAY, a 150-minute treatment combining teeth whitening, manicure, pedicure, an express facial, and a "happy eyes" treatment that rejuvenates the face.
Spa Centrale Parc
Two words set this spa apart: chocolate bath. Composed of Belgian chocolate and essential oils, Spa Centrale Parc claims its unique chocolate bath treatment conveys both euphoric sensations and anti-depressant effects while assisting with skin regeneration.
A Plateau neighborhood spa overlooking Parc La Fontaine, Spa Centrale Parc also serves up goat's milk and mud baths as well as infrared sauna access, osteopathy, physiotherapy, cranial therapy, and naturopathic treatments.
Traditional spa treatments like facials, mani-pedis, and body treatments are a given. Package highlights? Try the Ritual of the Senses, which starts off with sugar exfoliation and body scrub followed by a body wrap and massage.
Rosemont neighborhood spa Ovarium takes the high-tech approach to rest and relaxation with the Pulsar, a treatment that bypasses the time and effort experienced meditators put into reaching a relaxed state. Requiring clients wear stereo headphones and goggles with small LED lights in front of each eye that emit light timed to rhythms created by the headphones, Pulsar's combination of sound and light entrains brainwaves to move from a state of alertness to one of profound relaxation.
Ovarium also proposes NeuroSpa, "a zero-gravity reclined and contoured armchair that facilitates complete mental and physical synchronization." Wearing headphones, the client listens to music as "multi-frequency harmonic vibrations" emanate from the armchair. The vibrations communicate with the spinal column and stimulate the central nervous system. This allegedly neutralizes muscular inflammation and lessens tension in the body.
But what Ovarium is best known for is its unique flotation baths: egg-shaped sensory deprivation isolation tanks filled with water and 2,000 cups of Epsom salt. Management claim it was Ovarium president and spa founder Bernard Meloche who first brought this type of flotation bath to Montreal, back in 1982, inspired by American neuroscientist John C. Lilly who invented the isolation tank in 1954.
Possibly Montreal's most popular spa of all, Bota Bota has the unique distinction of being a boat. A spa boat. Perpetually anchored on the eastern side of the Old Port near Rue McGill, catch incredible views of the port, Old Montreal, and surrounding waterfront as you move through Bota Bota's water circuit.
Massage, body care treatments, facials, mani-pedis, and an on-site restaurant serving dishes such as salmon tartare, roasted quail, and braised beef round out the spa services.
Proposing an indoor Nordic spa experience in the heart of Old Montreal, part of the charm at Spa Scandinave is its proximity to a variety of attractions, top-notch restaurants, hotels, and nightlife options.
In terms of the spa itself, Spa Scandinave is equipped with a eucalyptus steam bath, Finnish sauna, hot bath, cold plunge bath, rinse stations, and relaxation area. Different types of massages are also available.
For a day trip less than two hours outside of Montreal, try Spa Bolton. The Eastern Townships Nordic water circuit spa often gets overlooked in favor of competitors with more aggressive media campaigns, but Spa Bolton features something the others don't have: access to natural waterfalls from the Missisquoi River ebbing in the background. Take a polar bath plunge in the river's shallow waters in the winter. In the summer, swim toward the falls and sit under them at your own risk. It's an incredible experience if you're very careful—the rocks are slippery.
Equipped with a eucalyptus vapor bath, dry saunas, hot tub spas with 130 water jets massaging clients as they bathe, a heated pool, and a cold plunge bath, Spa Bolton also features a Savusauna, the only one of its kind in Canada and possibly North America. It's a Finnish smoke sauna that burns wood. With no chimney, the smoke permeates the room. Poplar branches are used to exfoliate the skin while relaxing in the Savusauna.
Other on-site services include the usual suspects: massages, facials, mani-pedis, and body care treatments. Massages can be had in outdoor yurts or tents positioned near the river, within audible distance of the waterfalls.
Annie Young Boutique and Spa
Located in Westmount, one of the most affluent neighborhoods in Quebec, Annie Young Boutique and Spa offers standard spa treatments (massage therapy, steam-sauna-cold room thermal circuit, facials, and body care) but that's not what landed the spa on this list.
What sets the spa apart from other spas are its medical spa services, from injectables (dermal fillers and Botox) to body sculpting to laser treatments. Victoria Park even features a health club with yoga, barre, and Pilates classes available on-site. Treatments just for men are also on the menu.
Located in Brossard, a Greater Montreal area municipality south of the metropolis, Skyspa proposes a rooftop thermal experience with the help of Finnish saunas, steam baths, Californian baths, Nordic waterfalls, and rest areas.
Massages and assorted beauty treatments are also available on-site. And keep an eye out for Skyspa's Aufguss sauna, which is a German-inspired sauna where water and essential oils are poured over the sauna stove. The resident Aufgussmeister directs the scented steam towards bathers.
Spa Escale Santé
Boasting an all-inclusive spa experience in Montreal's East End, Spa Escale Santé offers a wide array of treatments and services such as massotherapy, an Icelandic spa station, Nordic baths, facials, body care, mani-pedis, physiotherapy, and aquatic osteopathy treatments. It also offers perineal and pelvic rehabilitation treatments, which are ideal for pregnant women, those who've given birth, or even for women considering having children.
A rare esthetic treatment called electrocoagulation is also on the menu. It's a treatment that aims to reduce the appearance of rosacea and broken capillaries. Complimentary beverages (including smoothies) and a relaxation area are part of the package.