I like this gig. I used to write for an awesome blog called Bloody Underrated (RIP), and when it went defunct, was so happy to be offered a home here at Montreal Rampage. I get to do fun stuff like cover the Fringe Festival, see movies and comedy shows and generally galivant around town. And then once in a while, you get the call to review….
That’s right folks, my Editor-in-Chief likes me. She really, really likes me. And she sent me to Bota Bota to check out their summer programming offerings, because yeah. SPA!
So, if you’ve never heard of Bota Bota, it’s a bit special. Located in the westernmost corner of Old Montreal, Bota Bota is a spa… on a boat! Permanently docked across from the Federal Court building on de la Commune and McGill, the facilities are very posh indeed. You walk across way past the shipping container restaurants to a fancy gate, and then are welcomed aboard by a very charming staff, where you opt for the water circuit (which functions as the general package) or you can pay for the more advanced packages which include things like food and drink, swedish massage, facials, mani-pedi, even specialty pre-natal services.
So, the water circuit is your standard three-step spa experience: hot, cold, relax. There is a steam room with very sexy lighting on the third floor and a dry sauna type room on the fourth. While the steam room is pretty awesome, it can overwhelming, as breathing through all that humidity can be challenging. I prefered the dry sauna, as in addition to feeling like you are being baked like a turkey, the view is pretty spectacular. There are these lovely panoramic windows that give you a beautiful view of Old Montreal to distract you as you cook. Then into the cool, then into the pool. You do this three times, and you feel pretty damn great after.
Bota Bota is offering 5 à 7 “Urban Drift” Thursday specials all summer at a very affordable 35$ per person, and this special highlights the beauty of the water gardens section of the spa. My friend and I landed on Kusmi Tea day, which in addition to giving you complete access to the standard facilities, featured promotional tea on request, as well as a free 15-minute massage (I love you, Yan!) and live harpist as you float in the hot and cold baths. My friend was quick to point out, it was like a cliché of a spa, but you leave your irony at the door and just enjoy it. There is nothing quite like getting a massage while a harpist is playing in the background, the sun lightly kissing your back and the sounds of the locks in the background. Check out their summer schedule here to see which event seems more your speed.
We ended the day at the restaurant, enjoying the BBQ menu (with veggie options!) and a cocktail as the sun set behind Old Montreal. I do recommend this for a romantic date, but it also would be a nice solo experience after a hard day, and we also saw a whole lot of mommy-daughter teams taking in the experience. Protip: bring a bathing suit (so you ain’t naked) and some flipflops. There are a couple of stairwells that are not super happy on the feet. Also, my photos were totally illicit, as phones are verboten and many areas are complete quiet zones.
Bota Bota is located at Vieux-Port de Montréal, Entrée McGill Coin De la Commune et McGill, Montréal, QC H2Y 2E2. Call them at (514) 284-0333
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