While staying at in Saint-Sauveur, Quebec I decided to check out The Polar Bear’s Club, a spa which happens to be right next to where I was staying in Piedmont. The Polar Bear’s Club is a Scandinavian spa that focuses on thermotherapy, where you alternate between heat in the saunas or hot tubs to a cold dip in the plunge pools as a way to relax the body.
Situated in the heart of the Laurentians, The Polar Bear Clubs happens to be the first spa inspired by Nordic and Scandinavian spas to be founded in Quebec and has helped with the development of the practice of thermotherapy for over 50 years. This spa has inspired a variety of newer spas such as The Finns, The Balnea, Ofuro, Spa Scandinave, and Bota Bota.
The spa is situated along a shallow river so that all the walkways and hot tubs have views of the water and the forests around the spa which enhances the entire experience. Visiting the spa in early November, the fall leaves were nearly gone, but the grounds still remained beautiful to view from the hot tubs. As such, I can only imagine when visiting in September or October it would be particularly nice to visit the spa when all the leaves are all vivid shades or red, yellow and orange.
For those who wish to devote an entire weekend to relaxing, The Polar Bear Club also has a hotel where you can book lodging should you wish to extend you stay. Meanwhile, for those of you who want to come after work, you can take advantage of the evening rate which is slightly than arriving in the daytime. You can also book a variety of body treatments, or a massage to enhance your visit.
Within the spa, there are 4 hot tubs, 2 of which have waterfall features, along with 2 cold plunge pools, and sauna rooms (2 dry and 1 wet). Unfortunately, when I visited the spa all the hot tubs were all the exact same temperature (36C) so the tubs did not feel very different from each other, but I was informed normally some of the tubs should be warmer than others.
Living up to its name, The Polar Bear’s Club has 2 cold plunge pools, both of which were 4C and were much larger than any of the cold pools I’ve seen at other spas. A unique feature about this spa was there was also access to the river, for anyone who wants to quickly cool themselves off in the cold water.
Designed to be used year round the spa offers a variety of heated indoor rooms to relax, or on warm days you can lounge on one of the many outdoor patio chairs. My personal favorite spot to relax after soaking in the hot tubs would have to be the chairs beside the fire pits as the smell of the burning wood was just lovely. For those of you who enjoy the smell of a fire, there is one hot tub near a firepit seating area where you can enjoy the woodsy smell of the fire while soaking which is truly divine.
When you visit the spa, one thing to look out for is the waterfall hot tub that is closest to the changing rooms, which has a small cave behind the waterfall that you can enter. I found this feature to be a delightful surprise and a great place to relax.
It is important to note when visiting the spa, that housecoats and locks are not provided with the cost of the admission. Both a housecoat and a lock for your locker can be rented, but I would suggest bringing your own as a way to save money. In particular, the lock you can rent is rather annoying as it is a key lock which means you need to wear a plastic wristband with the key attached the entire time you are at the spa. As someone with narrow wrists, I found difficult to keep the band on as it kept slipping off but for most people it should fit fine. The housecoat that you can rent on the other hand was warm and soft and had a hood if you don’t own a nice housecoat it is certainly worth the rental cost of $11.95.
For those visiting the spa who only speak English, the staff who worked there seemed to all speak English too but do note all the signs are only in French.
As the spa is perfectly located next to Mont Saint-Sauveur and a short drive away from many of the other nearby ski hills the spa would be ideal for skiers looking to relax their muscles after a day on the hill, or for people staying at cottages in the area. I enjoyed my experience, and while I was not brave enough to dip into the river as the water was freezing cold in the summer months I imagine the ability to alternate between the hot tubs and the river would be nice. Despite the fact all the hot tubs were nearly identical when I visited, I’d still enjoyed my visit and would be interested in visiting The Polar Bear’s Club again in the summer.