on travel, thoughts, and the art of short fiction

Balnea Spa

In Montreal on February 19, 2010 at 5:28 am

In the Southern countryside of Quebec, past long stretches of snowy valleys and ice-covered lakes lies a magical experience.

When Lynne told me to bring my bathing suit because we’d be going to a spa I did as I was told expecting nothing more than the typical gym amenities such as a hot tub and sauna.

I was surprised our spa visit was planned out as a day trip. My questions were all met with “you’ll see”, so I sat back, and didn’t think much of it. The drive to Balnea Bromont-Sur-Le-Lac was a picturesque two hours outside of downtown Montreal.

When we finally arrived, it was as if I was staring at medieval  castle at the top of a very large hill. The building was impressive and imposing. Walking through the doors, we were greeted by the calming scent of eucalyptus, then placid “bonjours”, before being presented with a locker key, bottle of water,  bath robe and a towel. After locking up our goods and changing into our suits Lynne dropped the bomb. I was informed that the hot tubs were outside (in the 15 degree weather) and that part of our  spa circuit would include a dip in freezing cold water (also outside).  Enter apprehension. Montreal is gray and frozen in the winter. We just drove through feet of snow. It was too late for me to request that we do something else to pass our time. I was not excited about being in my swim suit in the fifteen degree weather.

The spa was set up in a round of circuits. The first stop was a hot tub (we had several to choose from, each with it’s own theme/concept), the second stop was a steam room/sauna (once again, there were several to choose from), the third stop was a dip for at least thirty seconds in a vat of ice-cold water, the fourth stop was a twenty-minute rest in one of the many relaxation rooms.

The moment our flip-flopped feet began trudging through the snow (there was about five inches on the ground and it was actively snowing outside) I began to shiver. Taking my robe off  and slipping out of my shoes, I began an internal dialogue of curses. However, the moment I slid into the outdoor hot tub overlooking a chain of mountains, I was at ease. It was so peaceful in the water. Soothing nature sounds were on loop from a speaker system nearby, aromatherapy was released  into the air. It was great. I could have relaxed out there for the entire day (unfortunately, we were on a circuit and that was not in the cards). After thirty minutes, we were ready for the second circuit.  Getting out of the water from one station to the next was painful. Our second station was a eucalyptus scented steam room. We steamed our pores clean for about twenty minutes, before diving into an ice-cold outdoor waterfall. Surprisingly the outdoor cold waterfall wasn’t too terrible. The moment I got out, I was hyper-aware of my circulatory system and limbs.  It is hard to describe, but my veins felt larger, my blood warmer. Our final stop on the first circuit was a peaceful rest room set up with lawn chairs and pillows and panoramic views of the mountains.

The circuit is apparently an extremely healthy way to relax. The heat, steam and cold, remove toxins, improve circulation and improve the clarity of your skin. We did three rounds and stuck around for lunch at the Balnea cafeteria which was another pleasurable experience.

I would recommend this spa to anyone interested in a getaway. The saunas and hot tubs are co-ed, so this would make an amazing romantic getaway.

Balnea Spa Bromont-Sur-Le-Lac
319 Chemin du Lac Gale
Bromont, Quebec J2L 2S5

http://www.balnea.ca

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