Amid pristine forests, Canadian Shield rock terrain, rustic wood lodges and sparkling waterfalls, Nordik Spa Nature offers a unique opportunity to purify one’s body and spirit. Located just outside Canada’s capital city Ottawa, the luxurious spa features 7 regenerating outdoor baths, 8 steam and dry saunas, a gorgeous infinity pool, a tasty restaurant and lounge, as well as outdoor hammocks, hanging beds and fireside relaxation areas. With a whopping 41,500 square feet of interior space and 80,000 square feet of outdoor space, Nordik is the largest spa in North America, a true gem in the Gatineau region of Quebec.
Nordik’s spa experiences are inspired by ancient thermotherapy techniques that alternate between hot and cold. Spa guests are encouraged to follow a heat therapy circuit technique that goes something like this: warm up in a sauna or steam bath for 10 to 15 minutes, pass under a cold Nordic waterfall or take a dip in the cold or temperate pool for a few seconds, rest fifteen minutes, then repeat the cycle three or four times before immersing in a warm whirlpool. In addition to promoting relaxation, this heat therapy technique is purported to help eliminate toxins, relax muscles, improve sleep quality, boost the immune system and increase body oxygenation.
Nordik’s beautiful baths, saunas and relaxation areas are enough to occupy visitors for the better part of a day, and a range of body treatments and indoor and outdoor massages are also available. But that’s not all. Nordik features a number of offbeat and delightful experiences that may be unlike anything you’ve seen before. Here are five must-try experiences at Nordik Spa Nature.
Float weightlessly in North America’s only Kalla pool
There are only two saltwater floating pools in the world, and one of them is at Nordik Spa Nature (the other is in Switzerland). Nordik’s knee-deep, 95°F underground pool is meant to reproduce the regenerating effects of Dead Sea. In water saturated with 12% Epsom salt, the entire body floats weightlessly. 30-60 minutes of floating in the Kalla pool is supposed to help purify the body, improve circulation and release physical and intellectual tensions. Before entering the pool be sure to cover any small cuts or tears with petroleum jelly, and avoid rubbing your eyes while you’re in the pool. It’s so salty that it can sting.
Try a weird & wonderful “Aufguss” ritual
Every hour or two at Nordik, an Asian-style gong announces the start of a new “Aufguss” infusion ritual. In a large Finnish style sauna, water infused with essential oils like lemongrass and lavender is steamed over heated stones. Guests sit upright on one of three wooden bench levels while hot, humid air is waved around the room by an official “Sauna Meister” using a towel. Participants sweat for 10 to 15 minutes while instrumental pop music is piped in through the sauna speakers, and the Sauna Meister speaks to the group. The Aufguss ritual, which originated in Germany, can be surprisingly lively. This is truly a new take on the traditional sauna experience, and a definite must-try.
Party in your swimsuit on DJ lounge nights
Relaxation never looked better than on Thursday nights at Nordik, when beautiful guests indulge in the elegantly lit pools and saunas after dark. A cocktail bar and DJ booth is set up beside the infinity pool, and groovy lounge beats are pumped throughout the spa. Festive Asian lanterns are hung throughout the grounds, and guests can wander around the grounds in their swimsuits and robes with drinks in hand until the spa closes at midnight.
Slip into a scenic infinity pool
Nothing makes a spa seem more luxurious than a gorgeous infinity pool. Nordik’s oval shaped infinity pool measures 52 x 25 feet. The heated pool is surrounded by trees, wildflower gardens and lounge areas, with an expansive view of the bucolic Ottawa Valley.
Lay on a hot stone bed
In a cabin-like room reminiscent of a high-end dorm hostel, half a dozen stone beds made of quartz radiate warmth at 100°F. These heated slabs are part of an Asian heat therapy tradition called “Ganban’yoku” in Japan, or “stone bed bath,” meant to provide the same thermal benefits as saunas. Known as “Tellura” at Nordik, the unique experience is recommended for 20-30 minutes, putting guests in contact with the earth in its most ancient form. Pillows are provided to keep the whole body comfortable.
Photography is not permitted on site. All photos courtesy Nordik Spa Nature.