Perhaps it’s no longer a secret but a very well-known fact that amidst the hustle and the bustle of the big city, there lies an urban oasis, the biggest there is in North America. Set in a lush forest right in the mouth of the Gatineau national park, NORDIK Spa-Nature welcomes guests looking for a temporary sanctuary all year round. While the vivid green tree tops are currently replaced with gorgeous white snow, anytime this winter makes for a perfect visit at one of the Outaouais region’s most prized possessions.
Perhaps the secret no longer lies in the fact that there are massive rock formations that build the foundation for a cascading waterfall and all kinds of thermal baths built along the resort, the secret lies in the fact that NORDIK SPA-NATURE is one an ultimate destination for everything special.
CELEBRATE SPECIAL OCCASIONS AT THE NORDIK SPA-NATURE
Whether you are celebrating a promotion at work, a bachelorette party or a bridal shower, a wedding anniversary, a milestone birthday or simply, a girlfriend weekend get-away, NORDIK Spa-Nature is the perfect place to make these special occasions all the more memorable. It is not only a heaven-like sanctuary tantamount to a far-away land like the exotic Bali, but also the ultimate destination for making someone you love feel extra special.
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 and soon, it will be known, if not already known, for its non-spa like offerings like evenings dedicated to a foodie experience or lounge nights (last Thursday of every month for Lounge Thursdays) that are meant for jovial and social fun.
There is no doubt that bringing the brilliant concept of a Scandinavian spa to Canada was going to be successful. With a massive renovation under its belt, Nordik Spa Nature has evolved to what is now the largest spa in North America (they just recently opened a sister spa in Winnipeg – Thermea)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 and now hugely popular Panorama lounge.
THERMAL EXPERIENCE AND GOURMET EXPERIENCE – FOODIE WEDNESDAYS
This time around, this is actually the main reasons why we were doubly excited about coming back to NORDIK Spa-Nature. It wasn’t just the prospect of easing your stress away as you can probably visit any spa or get any massage but it was to discover what foodie experience the outdoor spa can offer and which special occasions can they actually accommodate and help you plan out. It turned out, beyond a spa and a Scandinavian Thermal experience, Nordik is so much more than that.
A FABULOUS FOODIE EXPERIENCE – NORDIK RESTO
It’s obviously going to be good but just how fantastic an offering from the NORDIK Resto can really be when the whole point of their business operation is the spa aspect of the resort. Well, it turns out, the answer is fantastic. Of course there is an ample of selection of spa-like bistro menu but one thing that has to be said up-front, the Table D’Hote is a signature offering that you don’t want to miss.
Created by NORDIK Chef Mathieu Lande-Verdier, the menu was well-laid out and properly categorized along with the appropriate wine or beer pairing. You may not think of NORDIK as a go-to wine destination but you may want to re-consider as they have a thoughtfully planned out wine and beverage menu, a selection that changes approximately every three months and is thoughtfully overseen by the charming and very knowledgeable Food and Beverage Director, Maxime Seguin.
First to arrive is a Mise en Bouche, a Chef’s sweet surprise of savoury and sweet cheeseball covered with a kick of black peppercorn and a hint of delicate pink peppercorn, we were off to a great start.
The Mediterranean-inspired white tuna carpaccio was the ideal appetizer and it was unlike any other carpaccios I’ve had before. The portion was quite generous but it was also the presentation (make sure to check out more photos at our Facebook page) that was quite something to note. It came with slices of crusty bread, a single file of olive tapenade and a sprinkling of gourmet sea salt, which served to highlight the delicate one of the fish.
Deciding our main dishes weren’t easy as the the choices were all quite tempting. In the end, I settled for the Duck Confit (which, as you can see, is just gorgeous) served with pureed potatoes and seasonal vegetables while Ikram had the flank steak pasta with roasted tomato rosee sauce and Maxime, the delicately braised monkfish. Both well-presented, the leg of duck was perfectly cooked, moist on the inside with a slightly crispy tasty skin and the accompaniment of pureed potatoes was extra delicious as some of the duck fat drippings were mixed right in.
It was a dish worth cleaning a plate for.
NORDIK RESTO’S MEMORABLE TABLE D’HOTE
While the chief reason for thousands of guests to come and visit NORDIK is not lost on us, exploring all the other extras, like the new PANORAMA section meant for talking, socializing and getting together with friends, eating and drinking, is definitely what piqued the interest during this visit. Yes, 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, are notably major. But you have to admit, sometimes, you just really want to have fun with your friends.
As every guest gets a warm and gracious welcome by the staff at Nordik, so did we. It started way before we don our fluffy bathrobes on with as we had a pre-visit orientation by NORDIK’s PR Director Marianne Trotier and Maxine Seguin to get to know the new additions at the spa. While we just wanted to jump and instantly relax at both the infinity pool and the new Källa treatment, the second salt-water floating pool in the world, an experience equal to being immersed right in the Dead Sea, the NORDIK restaurant turned out to be the highlight of the visit.
CELEBRATING A SPECIAL BIRTHDAY AT NORDIK
It was an affair to remember. It was a highly educational treat as Maxime provided us a rundown of what NORDIK has to offer in terms of lodging (there are two available – Nordik and Alpina – for overnight, weekend, or longer stays), receptions and small (the former big hall was converted into additional locker spaces to accommodate the thousands more guests visiting the spa) corporate meetings and of course, special occasions like intimidate weddings and anniversaries. As no meal is complete without a dessert, ours ended delightfully with a decadent creme caramel. I couldn’t have picked a better place to celebrate a major milestone – one of my long-time dear friend Ikram’s 40th birthday.
TRY THE AUFGUSS RITUAL AT FINLANDIA
Now if you are seeking for more of a serenity journey, follow the sound of the gong, which signals the start of the the Aufguss ritual. Right at the biggest dry sauna, Finlandia, a Aufguss Meister (one who is trained in the Scandandinavian art of Aufguss) expertly performs a ritual that heightens the effects of this traditional vaporization 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 is clearly a crowd favourite Nordik feature as each time that we’ve gone, the room is packed and in fact, many guests go back many times more to experience the intense heat emanated by this ancient practice.
As always, Nordik 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 and more. It is a promise of waking all of your senses up and bringing you to a state where you can finally just BE.
FOLLOW MORE #OUTAOUAISFUN #WINTERFUN SERIES WITH @20YS
If you are looking for more ideas on how to make this winter, follow along at #Outaouaisfun for a guide to everything exciting in the region. Nordik remains as one of the top spa destinations in Canada. The site is divided into three sections: 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.
Without a doubt, Nordik is the perfect setting to wine and dine, unplug, to just breathe and enjoy the natural beauty of your surroundings. This winter may just be the perfect time to experience such magical winter wonderland. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, come and enjoy the Nordi Spa-Nature, it’s where heaven and earth meets to, not only pamper you but to also wine and dine you and celebrate with you.
Disclaimer: Accommodation to the spa and 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 Mr. Maxime Seguin 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.