Time to eliminate toxins with water Circuit thermotherapy at Bota Bota spa in Montreal. Not for the fainthearted...
Let’s be honest, spas can be extremely snooty places. If it’s not the perfectly coiffed, manicured and flawlessly skinned beauticians sighing about your sadly lacking beauty regime, it’s your fellow spa-dwellers with their unspoken distain.
That’s why Bota Bota scored points with me before I’d even got through the door. On a beautifully mild, sunny Friday afternoon in Montreal, I headed to the Old Port on the St Lawrence River where an old ferryboat has been transformed into a floating spa.
Like much of Montreal, there’s nothing flashy or brash about it. The changing areas are in the old ship’s engine rooms and the whole place feels retro/Scandi.
Its understated utilitarian design attracts refreshingly ‘normal’ people who go there for their signature Water Circuit and an interesting menu of beauty treatments including a pepper scrub – using black pepper, cardamom, All-Spice and lychee, a detox-cocoa wrap and Hatha yoga and Pilates sessions.
Most people, myself included, seem to be there for Water Circuit thermotherapy. The idea is you either sit out on the sun deck (weather permitting of course) or in the eucalyptus sauna or steam room for around 10-15 minutes getting as hot as you can bear, then you plunge yourself into a freezing cold high-sided cedar bath – preferably without bellowing expletives at the shock. Then the best bit, you sit and bubble away in the huge, swimming pool-sized Jacuzzi for another 20 minutes, or lie out in the sun on a squashy silver beanbag wrapped in a snuggly bathrobe. If the weather’s not being kind you can simply veg out in a curved porthole window seat that looks out across Montreal. Then, you repeat the process, ideally twice.
Thermotherapy helps eliminate toxins and restore skin elasticity and firmness. It stimulates the heart (with that shocking freezing bath dunk!) and helps circulation. It’s also believed to promote the production of white blood cells to help the immune system as well as helping aches and pains and eliminating stress and tension.
Having a steam/sauna and then a cooling shower is nothing new, but by repeating the more regimented water circuit it feels as effective as a great workout. My body felt incredibly relaxed, it relieved all my jet lag aches and my skin tingled. The next day I felt like I’d plugged my body into a re-charger!
A one-off water circuit it costs around £18 ($30 Canadian) so it’s a great way to work off the jet lag and feel properly revitalised. It’s quite basic, so you won’t find cleansers, body lotions and lux treats to hand, but that’s not what Bota Bota’s about. No messing around – just heat, ice-dunk, relax & repeat x 3 and you’re good to go. Fantastic.
Visit www.botabota.ca for information and www.tourisme-montreal.org for general information about visiting Montreal.
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