In February of this year (2019) I visited Canada for the first time as my husband was there on a work trip. On one of the days that my husband was at work I thought I would take the opportunity to visit North America’s largest spa (The Nordik Spa – Chelsea) seeming as it was only a 20 minute drive from downtown Ottawa where I was staying.
When I arrived by Uber everywhere was covered in snow and breathtakingly beautiful. The air was so cold to breathe that it almost hurt but at the same time it was fresh and invigorating.
When I arrived I was given a robe, towel and locker key and was then directed towards the changing area.
Walking around in a robe and flip flops in sub zero temperatures was an experience to say the least but surprisingly not too bad as there were so many saunas, hot tubs and fire pits on offer to warm me up. Although you had to be quick to get from one warm place to the next before your robe and towel started to ice up!
I opted to add on the Kalla and Banya experiences to my day. The Kalla was fabulous. It involved lying back and floating in warm salt water. Then the Banya experience; well the word experience is an understatement…
The Banya sauna (a traditional Russian sauna) was pretty toasty when I first went in along with around 9 others. 3 of the spa therapists/Banya ‘people’ explained what the Russian tradition would involve and then we were given a shot of vodka to drink with a slice of orange and a coffee bean!
Next, one by one we were lightly brushed down with the Banya tree branches (known as infusion) so that we could inhale and take in their scent and enjoy a gentle exfoliation. We were then each given a dish of an amazing smelling exfoliation treatment which we rubbed into our skin. Afterwards this was washed off with a cold bucket of ice water!
Next came the WHIPPING! So this was an experience I won’t forget. We had to lie face down whilst we were whipped quite vigorously all over with the branches. It was surprisingly invigorating.
Lastly it was the Aufguss. This involved essential oils being diffused with a seriously intense heat which the therapists moved around the room with their towels in a dance like ritual. Afterwards we had the option to jump into the cold plunge pool. I opted out of that one though and stuck with the ice flannels.
I’ve never known a treatment like it. I can highly highly recommend it though and honestly felt like I had some kind of out of body experience.
After my Banya experience I made my way to the outdoor pool and enjoyed taking in the panoramic views of Ottawa.
I absolutely loved my day at the Nordik Spa and one day I hope to return!
If you are visiting Canada then make sure you pay a visit (www.lenordik.com)
Follow my Spa journey on instagram at @thespaseeker