Amidst the hustle and the bustle of the big city, there lies an urban oasis. Set in a lush forest right in the mouth of a national park, this is a place where man and nature – innovation and technology marry into the gorgeous natural setting of what Mother Nature has created for us to enjoy. Where there are vivid green tree tops, there is a treatment room punctuated with hints of modernity. Where there are massive rock formations that build the foundation for a cascading waterfall, there is an ultra chic lounge where architecture and design came together in perfect harmony.
WELCOME TO THE NORDIK SPA-NATURE
You may think this is a sanctuary in some far away land like the exotic Bali, where we did have the great fortune and the utmost pleasure to discover last year. No, this piece of heaven is much, much closer home. Less than half an hour away from the Canada’s capital city of Ottawa, Nordik Spa-Nature has welcomed thousands of weary yet excited guests from all over the world since its doors opened in 2005.
Getting awards and top honours is one thing but it’s quite another to actually see the huge number of people who keeps coming for the first time or for the tenth time – this is the real testament to the brilliant concept of bringing a Scandinavian spa to Canada. With a massive renovation under its belt, Nordik Spa Nature has evolved to what is now the largest spa in North America and it is right here in the Outaouais. To date, there are 7 outdoor baths, 8 unique saunas, infinity pool, and a restaurant with a tempting menu as well as a lovely outdoor terrace overlooking the first section of the spa and of course, the well-designed lounge.
AWAKENING ALL YOUR SENSES
It is one of those destinations that as soon you know you are going, the excitement and anticipation just start building up. It’s not just the prospect of easing your stress away as you can probably visit any spa or get any massage and it will somehow help you, the Nordik is so much more than that. It’s an experience for all your senses – the visual of the entire landscape is breathtaking, the sounds of soft soothing music dances together with the water softly flowing, you can feel the striking difference of hot and cold during your thermal experience, you can smell the delightful mix of carefully chosen essential oils during the Aufguss (a German word for “infusion”) in the Finlandia sauna and finally, you can awaken your taste with a great selection of dishes and local cheeses at the restaurant. Nordik Spa-Nature is all that. It is a promise of waking all of your senses up and bringing you to a state where you can finally just BE.
Just present. Right here, right now – present.
BEING PRESENT: RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW
In today’s world of constant connectivity and mad rush to get somewhere, do something fast, I can’t tell you enough how this one state of being is so important to our well-being. It’s imperative that we disconnect sometimes. Aside from the obvious benefits of the thermal experience (the practice of alternating between hot cold treatment) – detoxify, eliminate toxins, relax muscles, improve sleep quality, boost the immune system, and increase body oxygenation, Nordik is the perfect setting to unplug, to just breathe and enjoy the natural beauty of your surroundings.
With a warm and gracious welcome by the staff at Nordik, led by Marianne Trotier and Martin Foucault, I know our visit is off to a great start. I was very excited to try the newly built additional spas and baths while E couldn’t wait to just instantly relax at both the infinity pool and the new Källa treatment, the second salt-water floating pool in the world (the first one being in Germany I believe), which promises to tantamount to being immersed right in the Dead Sea.
THREE ATMOSPHERES OF FUN AND IMMEDIATE RELAXATION
Off with our fluffy signature Nordik robes and a book I was hoping to devour during my stay, we started with a glass of bubbly at the restaurant to officially signal the beginning our serenity journey. I headed off to follow the sound of the gong, which signals the start of the The Aufguss ritual. Right at the biggest dry sauna, Finlandia, a Sauna Meister expertly performs a ritual that heightens the effects of this traditional vaporisation technique by using water enriched with essential oils. Water is poured onto the stones, which produces a burst of vapour with health enhancing properties. Then the Aufguss master uses a large towel to agitate the air, fanning the warm to hot vapour in almost a trance like motion. This definitely was one of my favourite features of Nordik as I did go back three more times to experience the intense heat emanated by this ancient practice.
I know some have concerns in visiting Nordik and based on the feedback I received, chief amongst them is the restriction to talk and socialize. Though one of think a place like this is not for wild parties and crazy shenanigans, it is quite understandable that while I prefer peace and solitude, there are others who enjoy a more communal atmosphere. To better meet the various expectations concerning the silence, Nordik Spa-Nature offers 3 distinct atmospheres in 3 sections of the site. 1) Kaskad remains a relaxation area where silence is required. 2) Panorama remains the social area where it is allowed to talk, in fact, there is a new bar and refreshment bar, Hutte, that serves that area. 3) Borea is an area where you can whisper, which a great compromise to accommodate all.
#OUTAOUAISFUN #STAYCATION SERIES @20YS
Perhaps it is with a bit of bias that I say this is one of the best experiences I’ve had since embarking this new feature at Twenty York Street – our #STAYCATION series, which highlights the different attractions and activities you can do in the #OUTAOUAIS region. Nordik Spa-Nature has something for everyone including those who are self-proclaimed foodies. Though I wish the selection was broader, there are plenty of items to choose from, meat, poultry, vegetarian including a fine selection of local cheeses and a thoughtful wine menu.
It is not a surprise that there are lots of people present when you visit. Nordik afterall has built a reputation of excellence but don’t be discouraged, the spa is humungous earning it’s distinction as the biggest in North America. I actually wish I have more hours in our day to try everything, alas, that was not the case. Dinner and wine was a bit abrupt as I wanted to try the new features of the spa. Next time, an outdoor massage overlooking the waterfalls is definitely in order. If there’s something we can suggest and we’ve heard of others asking for the same thing – perhaps a loyalty card or a rewards program would be a great addition to Nordik’s current offering. I also would love to be invited for a special event or two. In the meantime, I do suggest giving yourself a gift of bliss and serenity. Come and enjoy Nordik Spa-Nature, it’s where heaven meets the earth to pamper you.
Disclaimer: Accommodation to the spa and the Kalla treatment were provided by Nordik Spa-Nature, all others, including opinion, are our own. MERCI BEAUCOUP / THANK YOU to Ms. Marianne Troitier of NORDIK Spa-Nature and Ms. Anne Chardon of Tourisme Outaouais for facilitating our visit. Check out more #STAYCATION ideas at #OUTAOUAISFUN via Tourisme Outaouais Blog. For more photos, please visit Twenty York Street in Facebook here. For more information and to book spa services, visit Nordik Spa-Nature’s website here.