A few weeks ago one of my closest friends, eager to escape her hectic work schedule and in need of a little R&R, came to visit Montreal for a girls weekend. On Friday night, we dined at Lemeac, lounged at Baldwin and then finished at Globe, and it wasn't long before the Saturday sun woke us up, prescribing a much needed dose of both water and relaxation.
We filled the prescription less than an hour later, as we reclined in fatboy chairs and flipped through Wallpaper and Azure, sipping orange infused water at Scandinave Les Bains, the sleek, 12,000 sq foot spa that opened in Old Montreal last year. Designed by arbiters of it-interiors, Saucier et Perrotte, this beautifully converted warehouse space combines sculpted, unique materials (think brazilian wood ceilings, heated slate benches, limestone, and filtered glass) to create a sense of urban tranquility. The forms - inspired by the duality between hot and cold, volcanic and glacial - resonate with function as one cycles through the Finnish sauna and eucalyptus steam bath to the thermal waterfal and Nordic shower.
I've visited Scandinave before, most notably on Valentines Day of last year, when we went for a duo Swedish package and followed with the baths. While the former was lovely (their massage treatment rooms are beautiful and the comfort zone products smell fantastic...), my boyfriend is slightly more active than I; He considers 10k runs to be a "mild" form of exercise, while I'd consider window shopping to be such... Thus, while it was endlessly amusing to watch him move around, unable to sit still, it didn't take long before all his churning about made me cave and we retired to do something we both enjoy: brunch. (Luckily Cartet is right around the corner...)
This last time I went, however, I realized what a wonderful experience the baths can be. My friend and I completed the circuit twice, allowing plenty of time to relax in between, and felt refreshed and awakened with our skin practically glowing by the time we were done. It felt very zen, and we were both so happy we had come.
All in all, Scandinave is a wonderful place to try alone, as a couple, or with friends who need a bit of diversion from daily life. Personally, I think that their approach to a two thousand year old practice with such modern architectural elements is genius, and, while I wouldn't do it everyday, I must say it is the perfect way to get away within this chic little city.*
Scandinave is open all week long, offering a $46 package for one day access, or $99/month unlimited access for a minimum of three months. Massages (individual) from $118-175.
Scandinave Les Bains Vieux-Montreal | 71 rue de la Commune Ouest | Montréal, QC H2Y 2C6 |
Photo Credits: Marc Cramer.