Excellent news for Montrealers looking to escape, looking for rest, without a car! A new relaxation hangout opened this fall, in the heart of the city, and in front of a metro station.

It is to the Sandhu family (of the Sandhu and India Rosa restaurants) that we owe this little gem, a haven of peace dug out in the middle of the Plateau – pieces by hand! –, in an operation which stretched over three years and which posed its share of challenges, we understand.

Or so ? Right in front of the Sherbrooke metro, in the basement of the Carré St-Louis hotel, where a Breton creperie once stood.

As soon as you set foot in the hotel entrance, the charm begins. A climate of calm and zenitude reigns here, combining tradition and modernity, in a refined, oriental-inspired decor, signed Mu Architecture. Let’s just say that the madness of the city is quickly forgotten here.

Of course, space is limited. Forget contact with nature. This urban spa nevertheless maximizes its space with taste (special mention to the vaults and ceramics imported from Italy) and offers everything you need for an optimal thermal circuit: a large whirlpool bath, a steam bath eucalyptus, a dry sauna and a cold bath. Without forgetting the relaxation area and its ten inviting beds, music for the occasion included.

Upstairs, massage therapy treatments are offered. In summer, a roof terrace also promises to attract many customers. We hope to add a bath with breathtaking views of the park. Finally, a restaurant in an adjacent premises will soon complete the offer, with a healthy menu for customers in relaxation mode. Think: smoothies, cocktails, salads and light snacks…with an oriental twist, needless to say!

The family is growing: after L’Île-des-Sœurs, Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Sherbrooke and Quebec, Strøm spa has just opened in Saint-Sauveur. Not just any way, but by buying the former Polar Bear and its competitor and neighbor, Bagni Spa Station Santé.

The acquisition, in complete discretion, dates back to last year. Once all the renovations are completed, within a few years, this new Strøm a stone’s throw from Mount Gabriel promises to be quite spacious thank you, stretching on both sides of the bucolic River Simon, with an indefinite number of baths in all genres.

For now, and in the first phase of the work, we have given a few strokes of paint (black) here and there (Polar Bear side) to slightly, but surely, change the signature of the place. The faithful of the (late) Polar Bear nevertheless remain on familiar ground: the pretty baths (hot, cold, etc.) follow one another here along small winding paths, in an enchanting rocky setting, with a view of the mountain and access to the river for the bravest. The lockers remain unchanged, as do the steam bath and dry saunas.

Among other slight improvements: suspended chairs in a relaxation room here, heated beds coming there, as well as a second small bridge to give access to the other bank, when it opens. Without forgetting the range of care, which now has nothing to envy of other Strøms. Just like the snack bar, the Fika café, whose menu can be found from one Strøm to another.

The big change to come is for January, when we promise, on the other side of the river, the opening of the North restaurant, the design of which was entrusted to LemayMichaud, which will serve the same gastronomic menu as the other spas of the family. Think: salmon tartare, wild mushrooms on naan bread, duck leg confit, etc. We also promise, in a next phase (2025), quantities of baths of all kinds on this other shore in the making. A project to follow, certainly.

Although it may be almost 20 years old, the Balnea has not aged a bit. Better still, it’s constantly being renewed (and it’s far from over!) with, most recently, the addition of a large infinity pool, which can accommodate nearly 20 people.

Spanning nearly 20 meters, this latest acquisition, judiciously placed on a terrace, literally gives the impression of flowing into Lake Gale. Let’s say that the view of the mountains here is quite breathtaking and relaxation is guaranteed.

We never tire of these vast facilities nestled in the heart of the Estrie countryside. The nature experience is indeed hard to beat. You feel alone in the world. Even in busy times, it is always possible to find yourself alone, near the lake, immersed in a Nordic bath here, or warm in a cocoon in the Moroccan lounge there. The new swimming pool will undoubtedly add a space of choice to the already rich and multiple water circuit.

As a bonus, we are promised soon, directly under this new bath, a fine sand relaxation room, facing full sun, for a four-season beach experience.

The work was entrusted to MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects, for their low environmental impact approach, which is in line with the philosophy of the place. Note that the wastewater treatment infrastructure has just been redone and that we plan to add biomass heating next year.

That’s not all: the expansion projects, which reach 12 million (to which Quebec contributed 5 million), also include a project for market gardens and winter greenhouses to supply the Lumami restaurant all year round with fresh vegetables. We also plan to double the capacity of the Beatnik hotel, owned by the Balnea, just a stone’s throw away, in the coming years. In short, we haven’t heard the last of it!

Here’s another one that should get people talking soon. We are whispered that important and welcome expansions are in the works for the coming year. Until the official announcement, which we guess is important, several new features already deserve mention.

It must be said that Bota Bota has continued to expand its offerings since its opening in the Old Port in 2010. In addition to the water circuit on the boat, a unique experience in the world of spas in Quebec, we added gardens in 2015, a large outdoor space with plenty of baths and rest areas, plus a sauna, where whispering is exceptionally tolerated. Did you know ? Water access was added to the boat in 2017 (and it’s a well-kept secret), to immerse yourself directly in the river!

New to this unique place of relaxation recently: Reconnection Thursdays, to target customers looking for a “social spa” experience. Here, and on a fixed date, therefore (the next one being scheduled for December 14, we then intend to make the event weekly), telephones and conversations in low voices are permitted. We were there for the first time and rest assured: no one abuses it. On the contrary: this more relaxed atmosphere is taking quite well!

As a bonus, we have just added guided meditation circuits to accompany visitors on their journey, through the dry sauna, the cold bath and the meditation room. Finally, note that throughout the month of December, the restaurant menu (La Traversée) must be improved. Think: scallops, filet mignon, even oyster days. Attention fans!