If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Montreal this year, you would be remiss to skip a visit to Bota Bota, an incredible floating spa in the city’s Old Port.
A former ferry from the 1950s has been converted into a health spa that boasts an array of services: massage therapy, facials, mani-pedis, yoga classes, body treatments and a water circuit. It’s all topped off with a rooftop deck where you can dip in a hot tub and lounge in the sun.
The terrace offers amazing 360-degree views of Montreal by day and night. The vessel, which was redesigned by Sid Lee Architecture, has five decks spanning over 2500-sq-m. The boat had been used in the 1960s as a floating theatre, so it was very dark and closed inside. The architects refurbished 678 portholes and the entire interior, transforming it into a stunning floating environment.
As per services, I recommend the Tribal Journey body treatment which uses elements from four continents for a soothing and healing experience. After being covered and scrubbed with baobab oil and coffee grains, I was cocooned in a cactus wax body wrap and finished with a Tahiti monoï massage. Bliss!
Another bonus: if you’re in a large group you can book the pedicure bar and lounge and have it to yourself for a day of pampering. What a great idea for a private birthday or bachelorette party.
The spa has an eco-friendly element: heated floors and the whirlpool are powered by geothermal energy extracted from the water below. The engine was removed to make room for the change rooms, so there’s no need to worry you’ll sail away (though I can’t promise your mind won’t drift off during a day of pampering).
Text: Lydia Parafianowicz