I have to admit that I am a huge fan of Nordic spas in the winter time. There is nothing better to get rid of your winter blahs than a day spent on chasing endless endorphin rushes. Having only visited in the summer, I was awe-struck by the beauty the Old Port spa possessed as a winter wonder; stark but with endless enveloping clouds of steam, almost like another worldly getaway.
While it was much harder to dunk in outdoor the cold plunge, depending on which station you were at, some of the hotter tubs were just divine. I went with a girlfriend for a well deserved day of Monday hooky and it was just divine.
While the spa may not have been enough to solve all my stress related problems in one day, it was really, really good at making me forget. The section where they have the pools was exceptional because you could just be like a big sea-lion around there, flopping from one pool to the next.
Located just beside, the pools they also had a glorious steam bath and a dry sauna as well as all sorts of hammock type of resting spots to nestle and nap in though I am not sure why anyone would want to pay that much money to take a nap in public?
On the actual converted boat there were also numerous spots to lounge, steam, plunge and two other glorious outdoor tubs, one facing the city skyline and another facing the old Five Roses flour reserves. On a crisp sunny day, even in the cold, the world was stark and beautiful.
Everything was perfect about our visit, even our lovely little salmon tartar lunch, save for one major issue: incense! While I can completely understand incense being used in a religious context or in my own neighborhood in shops that are owned by people whose faith involves a lot of shrines and incense, Bota Bota had it burning all over the place. While this may not be an issue for some people, I am a severe asthmatic and incense means that I have to use backup Ventolin on top of the long acting Ventolin that I am already taking. We did ask about it when we got there and were told that it was only going to be burning in the women’s changing room but since it was a problem for a guest that day, they would put it out. But, it was lit and re-lit all over the place, throughout the building for the duration of the day. I used so much Ventolin that by the time I left I felt like my heart was about to explode. That spa has such a beautiful atmosphere. It’s a shame that they pollute their own air with something like incense that can make some guests sick. There are other methods of naturally and organically scenting the air and this far along down the line in technology they can definitely find another method.