QUEBEC SPAS & WELLNESS VACATION IDEAS
Canada's distinctive French-language province, Quebec offers visitors French Canadian culture combined with a little taste of Europe. Quebec is also where you'll find the largest collection of Nordic-style spas.
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Amerispa at the Omni Mont-Royal
One of the largest spas in Montreal, Amerispa at the Omni offers 25 treatment rooms on the lower level of this ritzy-neighbourhood, downtown hotel. The decor - neutral colours, a chandelier, original works of art, comfotable furnishings - creates a calming environment in a bustling urban centre. The locker room is smallish for a spa of this size but it's nicely appointed. The lounge, of the other hand, is spacious and has both a fireplace and fresh water acquarium. From one of the comfy lounge chairs (each has a velour throw), it's very calming to watch the fish while siping on a cranberry juice or herbal tea.
There's an extensive menu of treatments and therapies including a wide range of massages, Fantasy Treatments like the Rhassoul Orient Ritual and signature treatments such as wraps and scrubs using products made with maple syrup and ice cidar. To get that sense-of-place, try the Ice Cidar Exfoliation followed by the eAnti-Aging Elixir Ice Cider Body Wrap. We love the scent of the product - simultaneously relaxing and uplifting.
Following a treatment, you get a little educational session about the products used, followed by a special pot of tea and two pieces of dark chocolate delivered to you as you relax in the lounge. Overall lovely experience from attentive and well-trained therapists. www.amerispa.ca
Opened in April of 2008, Izba Spa on the 12th floor of Hotel Le Crystal in downtown Montreal offers the unique Russian Therapy. The therapy includes a customized massage and steam session where the body is lightly tapped with tied bunches of hand-picked oak leaves. The process is said to help with circulation. The décor? Think chocolate. A rich chocolate brown colour - on floor, window coverings and leather and suede furnishings adds a warmth to the place. Large dramatic works of original art add splashes of colour to the walls. There are four treatment rooms (including one with three treatment beds) plus an especially pretty mani-pedi room overlooking the city.
One of the most unique things about this spa is the separate Izba Medic unit which includes a full surgery room for a wide variety of medical esthetics. The spa shares an indoor pool, an outdoor hot tub and a gym with the hotel. The original Izba Spa is in Quebec City.
Spa St. James
Located right around the corner from Holt Renfrew in a beautiful, stone-facade heritage building on Crescent Street in downtown Montreal Spa St. James is no relation to the Spa at the St. James Hotel on St.James street in Old Montreal. The Spa St. James is a family owned-and-operated three-level facility including a two-level spa with 13 treatment rooms, a mani/pedi room overlooking Crescent St., a salon and a private gym that guests can book for a session with a personal trainer. The signature treatments are the High Performance Facials (one whole floor is dedicated to these facials) which focus on electric stimulation and re-education of facial muscles. One of the more unique treatments is the Italian Dry Steam where guests enter into a personal egg-shaped and elongated capsule. There's a full salon on the ground level.
Walk into Rain Spa in Old Montreal's Place d'Armes Hotel and you immediately feel wrapped in comforting shades of turquoise. A combo of tiled walls, faux finshes and a water feature creates a lovely sense of arrival. One of the very few spas in Montreal with a co-ed hammam, Rain Spa has five treatment rooms (including a Vichy shower room), a full menu of services including a handful of para-medical treatments for anti-aging. One of the more unique features is the private hammam used for individual hammam treatments with "black soap." Great staff uniforms! Place d'Armes is one of our favourite hotels in Old Montreal.
The zen-influenced Away Spa in W Hotel Montreal has five treatment rooms and offers a number of special touches: cashmere blankets and fresh orchids on treatment beds, very comfortable face cradles, and exotic teas served in stylish glass cups presented on silver trays. The spa offers a full menu of services. Another plus, Away is located in W Montreal.
One of Canada's first true destination spas is Quebec's Spa Eastman. A few other spas in the Eastern Townships
About an hour's drive from Montreal, the Eastern Townships skirts the U.S. border at Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. While it's home to about 160 towns and village about 80 per cent of the region is still woodlands. Visit the region and you'll find artisans, more than 60 growers of apple orchards, maple trees and vineyards. With its 500 km (310 miles) of groomed trails the cycling network is one of the best in the province. It's also home to four national parks and one of the first destination spas in the country. The largest city is Sherbrooke.
Stay spas and day spas in the
One of Canada's major year-round resort areas, The Laurentians, 45 minutes north of Montreal offers an abundance of space for outdoor activities (including an extensive network of hiking and cross-country ski trails), plus shopping, dining and spa experiences both indoors and out.
Themed and decorated like a Japanese ofuro, this is certainly one of the more exotic spas in Canada. Focusing on the art of the Japanese bath (the Japanese word Ofuro means “bath” or “the meeting of the waters”) Ofuro allows visitors to this day spa to go back and forth between hot and cold water treatments – from steam rooms to whirlpools and a refreshing mountain river - all day long for the basic entry fee. Massages, body treatments and esthetics are offered in pagodas grouped nearby the outdoor facilities. A collection of decks and relaxation areas spread around the property offer many quiet areas. Ofuro is mostly a day spa, but since our last visit, they have added five questrooms all with en-suites but sharing a common lounge where continental breakfast is set out. For more info: Spa Ofuro
Le Spa du Manoir San Sauveur
Set in a very modern setting within a historic rambling manoir, a few blocks from the numerous shops, galleries and restaurants that line the main street of San Sauveur, Le Spa du Manoir San Sauveur is a good size spa with 21 treatment rooms and two lovely lounge areas. The menu offers a wide selection of treatments including the Oxygen Steam Bath which is administered in a high-tech capsule programmed by the therapist for each individual client. We wish we'd had more time to spend here. Le Spa du Manoir San Sauveur.
Spa Nordique, L’eau à la Bouche
Just outside the village of Sainte Adele in the Laurentians and about a 40-minute drive from Mont Tremblant, Spa Nordique is a small spa with just five treatment rooms and an intimate outdoor area with two pools, steam bath and dry sauna build around boulders. It offers massages, body treatments and facials but no manicures and pedicures. One thing you should note is that robes are only supplied for the outdoor pools if you have booked a massage, so if you plan to use the outdoor facilities you’ll need to bring your own. This is fairly common at many of the Nordic-style spas in Quebec. The L’eau à la Bouche is a Relais Chateau flagged inn with just 21 quest rooms. We have to admit we didn’t stay here or try the spa and only had a quick tour, but by first impression it seemed to fall short of expectation for the Relais Chateau brand. The hotel seems to be suffering from a little wear and tear and lack of TLC. For more info: Spa Nordique
The first of the major Nordic-style spas in Canada and the largest of its kind in the country, Spa Scandinave overlooks the Diable River on a lovely piece of land just a short drive from the ski hills of Mont Tremblant. On this terraced lot, you’ll find a variety of pools from hot to cold, saunas, steam rooms, a chilly river-water shower, and a number of relaxation areas - both indoors and outside. We especially like the quiet Zero Gravity room where lounge-type chairs fold down flat for easy napping. There are 17 treatment rooms with therapists offering Swedish, Hot Stone and Thai Yoga massages. For those who come for the better part of the day – two-and-a-half to three hours is the average stay - a bistro offers items such as sandwiches, soups, juice and bottled water. Yoga classes are offered several days a week. This is a great place to spend a half day - longer in the warmer months or if you really need to unwind in a quiet setting surrounded by nature.
There are no overnight accommodations here, but a three-four minute drive away is upscale Chateau Beauvallon a lakeside country inn with about 70 suite-style guestrooms and a very nice dining room. It’s a good choice for visitors wanting to be close to the Village of Tremblant but not necessarily in it. Le Diable Golf Course is also nearby.
Amerispa has eight spas in the province of Quebec - two in the Village of Tremblant
From the lounge of the Amerispa at the Fairmont Tremblant you look down on the hotel swimming pool and the brightly-coloured gabled rooftops of the Village of Tremblant just beyond. There are 16 treatment rooms here including two Vichy rooms and a couple’s suite. In keeping with the theme of the hotel, the decor is more traditional here than it is at sister Amerispa at the more stylish Westin Tremblant Resort & Spa which has 14 treatment rooms and a very pretty pedicure room. Both share very nice wet areas with their respective hotels.
One of the treatments that you’ll find at Amerispas that you won’t find at many spas in other parts of the country is Pressotherapy a treatment for "heavy legs." One of the special things about Amerispa is the signature treatments that are tied into Canadian products such as maple sugar and apple cider. The aroma of the cider products alone is enough of a reason to try one of these scrubs of wraps.
Sitting on the banks of the Trois Frère river a stone’s throw from the town of Saint Adolphe d'Howard is a quaint and intimate Nordic-style spa called Spa d’Howard. In this countryside setting there are about a half-dozen massage rooms, a hot salt water pool, small waterfall, steam bath and a dry sauna. Adding to the sense of country, some of the facilities are housed in a old renovated barn.
Spa-Sur-Lac, Hotel Mont Tremblant
Spa-Sur-La-Lac is an intimate spa with nine treatments rooms located in Lake Mont-Tremblant, a rambling Swiss-style chalet and one of the area’s oldest and largest lakefront properties. One of the best features is the wide expanse of veranda, where spa goers come to relax and soak in the view. There's a full menu of services including a Vichy Shower. Article: Spa Living in The Laurentians
Gatineau, the main city of the Outaouais region is located just across the Ottawa River a little more than a stone's throw from the country's Parliament Buildings. Gatineau-Ottawa forms Canada's National Capital Region and is where you'll find about a dozen of the country's most notable museums including the stunning Canadian Museum of Civilization. Along with being a top city for museum enthusiasts, it's also a top-drawer destination for nature lovers. Gatineau Park is renowned for its paddling activities and year-round groomed trails.
Wakefield Mill & Spa
The intimate Wakefield Mill & Spa set in naturally beautiful Gatineau Park – about a half-hour’s drive from downtown Ottawa has two spas – each offering a full range of treatments. In the Romance category Wakefield makes our list of Best Spas Canada.
Spa at Fairmont Chateau Montebello
A lovely lounge overlooking a deck, the marina and the Ottawa River is the perfect spot to curl up in a signature sea-foam-green-coloured woven blanket while awaiting a spa treatment. Refreshments include specialty teas, juice and yummy cookies. The only reason this spa is not a Willow Stream is because the locker room is shared with hotel guests using the resort's huge indoor swimming pool. The spa's best feature is the spacious couple's treatment room with a double Japanese tub, double shower and arm chairs set out in front of a stone fireplace. The room is large enough so two can enjoy a Bento Box lunch following a treatment.
The Fairmont Chateeau Montebello is the only full-service five-star resort within an hour's drive of Ottawa, and it's also Canada's largest log cabin. Another spa in Outaouais is Le Nordik - Nature Spa
Quebec City Area
Inspirations Spa at Hotel Manoir Victoria
The only full-service spa within the walls of Old Quebec City, Inspirations Spa is located on the lower level of the elegant and historic, European-style Hotel Manoir Victoria. According to the history of the hotel, it was built on the site of a Turkish bath establishment dating back to 1897.
The intimate spa offers eight treatment rooms, including a mani-pedi area and a couple's room. From a menu that includes massages, body care and skin care (plus esthetic services such as waxing and self-tanning) signature treatments include those using products made with local, organic maple sugar. Maple sugar is said to be remineralizing for the body and to have antioxydant and hydrating properties. You've got to love the sweet smell of maple sugar to enjoy this treatment. Be prepare to be a walking advertisement for maple sugar for many hours after the treatment.
Spa features include a relaxation lounge, tiny dining area for those on day packages, plus a sauna, a gym and lovely indoor pool area shared with hotel guests. The hotel also has a European-style dining room - La Table du Menoir - where chef Vig serves dishes made, he says, with ingredients that are 99 per cent organic. For the healthy minded, he also uses yogurt instead of cream and "less and less butter." It's elegence and quality at very reasonable prices.
Don’t let the roadside location fool you, this is an day spa establishment that exceeds your expectation. Located in Ste Foy (a suburb of Quebec City and about 15 minutes from Old Quebec) this is one of Quebec and Canada’s newest day spas (it opened May, 2008). Its most distinguishing features are the décor and the emphasis on “green” – of increasing concern in the spa industry. LED lighting throughout reduce the energy impact and a “smart” heating system controls the heating and cooling of rooms automatically. The system is so “smart,” we’re told, that it “steals” heat from an area that is too warm and delivers it to an area that is too cold. How smart is that! To reduce waste they also give reusable plastic bottles to clients to fill from a purified water system.
Just past the lobby is the wow factor – a three-level water feature in a stone wrapped circular staircase flooded with therapeutic coloured lights. The light therapy option is available in about 90 per cent of the three-level spa. There are just six treatment rooms but they are beautifully appointed with features such as a hand-painted wall, a hot tub framed in stone, a carved stone wall and fireplace in the waiting area, luxury fleece robes and treatment tables draped in the same fabric. The full-size Barbor products in the locker room also create an upscale feel. We really liked this family-run spa. While the web site is in French, the staff does speak English and the spas offers a full menu of treatments.
Located in a two-level renovated and restored heritage building on a quiet residential/commercial street in Quebec City, Izba Spa is much larger inside than it appears to be from the outside and the space is surprisingly modern and very nicely appointed. On the main floor there's a lounge with a fireplace, salt water acquarium and snack bar serving fruit, bagels and wraps. Around the corner a moon-shaped whirlpool on an enclosed patio offers a spot for relaxing, and downstairs, another whirlpool with a cold water plunge and a sauna. The signature treatment here is the Russian Therapy which includes a massage, sauna and gentle tapping with tied bunches of locally-picked oak leaves. The menu also includes a number of other massages, various body treatments, esthetics and day packages. It's the many special decor features that really create the special ambience of Izba: hand-painted ceilings in most of the rooms, stone tile floors, exposed stone walls, mood lighting and scent of lavendar throughout. We didn't try a treatment here, but it's definately a spa we want to experience on our next visit to Quebec City. Very pretty. A sister Izba Spa is located in downtown Montreal. (Check under Montreal for a description.)
Siberia Station Spa
Siberia Station Spa on the edge of Quebec City near Lac Beauport (a small town about 15 minutes from downtown), is all about taking-the-waters. In this country setting on the shores of the rushing Riviere Jaune, the spa offers an outdoor Scandivanian experience with six hot tubs, two cold waterfalls and one chilly river, a large infra-red sauna, steam baths and relaxation areas located both inside and outside. There are hammocks, lounges set around an outdoor stone fireplace, a unique tented area with a fireplace, and a heated stone walkway - particularly appreciated during cold Canadian winters. Along with the outdoor facilities, there are nine indoor treatment rooms and about half a dozen different massages on the menu. One of the more unique massages is called the Amma - which clients experience lying under a sheet while the therapist uses pressure point and stretching techniques. It's a little like Shiatsu. Sunday mornings are set aside for families and it's the only time when kids are allowed. As with many of these outdoor or nature spas found in various parts of the province of Quebec Spa, Siberia Station Spa is more wellness activity than spa experience. Prepare to spend at least a half day.
Amerispa at Chateau Bonne Entente
One of the largest spas in the province of Quebec, Amerispa has 22 treatment rooms and a full menu of treatments and therapies including one that you don't find at many spas in other parts of Canada - Pressotherapy. There's a lovely lounge at this Amerispa (one of 8 in the province of Quebec)and, just steps outside the lounge, a massive free-form hot tub embraced by an elaborate garden. Very romantic. The maple sugar scrub signature treatments are the specialty.
Chateau Bonne Entente is a beautiful inn located about a 20-minute drive from the cobblestone streets of Quebec City. Celebrating 400 years of history in 2008, Quebec City is famous for its network of cobbled streets, its restaurants and its annual Quebec Carnival. Hugging the banks of the St. Lawrence River, Old Quebec offers the perfect historic setting for "retail therapy."
We love the resort’s stylish Urbania suites accessorized with features such as sensuous silken Italian linens, the ultra Tamazkal showers and chroma-therapy and air-jet baths. Plus there's a beautiful private lounge for Urbania guests.
MORE ABOUT QUEBEC
It's also a good destination for agri-tourism with farms producing maple sugar products, ciders, herbal oils and numerous varieties of artisanal cheeses. You'll find lots of opportunity in Quebec to enjoy outdoor fitness activities such as hiking, cycling and cross-country skiing.
Check out our Best Spas Canada