This past weekend, I headed north for a little weekend escape to Ottawa with my boyfriend Brad before the holidays get too crazy. We wanted to get out of Toronto, go somewhere that was a quick drive, relatively cheap to do and not too fancy – so we landed on our nation’s capital with no real hard plans laid out (or so I thought).
After spending some time with friends, strolling around the Byward Market, touring Parliament and gorging on Beavertails, we packed up our things and headed out Sunday morning for a surprise Brad had planned. We took a quick trip over the border to Quebec and pulled into the parking lot for Nordik Spa – a unique spa located at the entrance of Gatineau Park offering massages and their thermal experience.
The thermal experience gives you access to 7 baths (hot, cold and temperate) and 8 saunas, an infinity pool and their relaxation areas. There’s also a restaurant area that serves up tapas and drinks in case you work up an appetite from all of your major relaxation.
The way you’re supposed to do the “thermal cycle” is to hang out somewhere hot for 10-15 minutes (sauna), then go for a quick cold dip, and finally head somewhere temperate to rest for another 10-15 minutes and repeat as many times as you like. According to the spa, the process eliminates toxins, then shocks your skin stimulating adrenaline, and finally resting swaps adrenaline for endorphins leaving you feeling all kinds of wonderful.
I, however, am not one for being too cold – one of my long-standing differences with my boyfriend is our understanding of what a comfortable temperature is, and I’m always somewhere on the cold side of the spectrum. While I gave the cold step a try, it was not my cup of tea – I stuck to the saunas and pools that were around hot tub temperature. Regardless, I was able to indulge in some major relaxation and had a great time checking out the various saunas. Our personal favourites were the aromatherapy ones, where they had both an orange and eucalyptus sauna that was extra steamy.
If you’re ever in the Ottawa area and have a day or afternoon to spare, I’d highly recommend checking Nordik out. You can also pay a little extra to access their salt water pool – we took a pass, but we’re going to try one here in Toronto now that we’ve been teased with the idea.