Nordik Spa Nature is my favorite spot just outside of Ottawa to pamper myself for a day and relax. The already massive spa, which is the largest in North America continues has expanded to offer a new Banya area (opening this fall), 2 hot spring inspired hot tubs, the shack a taco restaurant, and a bier garden since my last visit in the fall of 2016.
Nordik Spa Nature
Brand New Banya Treatment
Image courtesy of Nordik Spa
The new banya is a multi purpose 2 story building with a Russian sauna, exfoliation room, and yoga studio. The Banya sauna is the largest sauna at Nordik Spa Nature and is inspired by Russian traditional saunas that blend dry heat and humid vapors. Starting this fall you will be able to do the Banya Ritual, which is offered twice a day.
As a media preview, I got to experience the new intense 1 hour long Banya Ritual. For the Banya Ritual there are several different stages, with small breaks in between where you can go outside and refresh with infused water, tea and fruit. Each stage will increase in intensity so that after the hour you will leave feeling very relaxed. Dating back to the middle ages Banya will help to relax your skin, improve circulation, eliminate toxins, strengthen the immune system, and activate your sweat glands.
Image courtesy of Nordik Spa
For the first part of the Banya Ritual, you will get a venik massage, where fragrant bunches of wet birch leaves are tapped or stroked on your skin to help improve your blood circulation and warm up your body. When the venik massage is being done, make sure to keep your eyes shut as the branches spray a lot of water which has been infused with essential oils that you will not want to get in your eyes.
The second stage of the Banya Ritual is the use of salt to exfoliate the skin. Just outside of the sauna there are two large containers of salt with either lavender or eucalyptus that you can massage onto your skin, and wash off using the outdoor showers. Following a break, you will return to the third stage, where you will get another venik massage but this one more pressure will be used.
Image courtesy of Nordik Spa
The last stage is an Aufguss Ritual where balls of snow with essential oil are diffused into the sauna and the humid heat and scent are move around through swinging towels.
Be warned, this ritual is very intense and intended to push your limits. Even with the short breaks, the one hour long session with high heat had me reaching for an ice cold towel towards the end just to cool off. As you will be sweating over a long period of time, make sure to utilize the breaks to rehydrate with the water or tea provided just outside the sauna.
Later this fall the new yoga studio and meditation room will begin offering classes, and the surrounding terrace that is part of the Banya will be opened and they certainly will be well worth visiting. I loved the new Banta Ritual did an amazing job at helping me feel relaxed. The ritual is certainly unique and one you need to experience, as it not every day you get to be massaged with branches!
I would recommend allowing yourself some day to curl up in a hammock afterward as I know I left feeling sleepy from the relaxing ritual.
Finlandia Sauna Renovation
For those of you have tried the Aufguss Ritual in the Finlandia Sauna, will be happy to discover that the sauna has been renovated and it now feels much more open and brighter. (Read about my experience at the Aufguss Ritual at Nordik Spa Nature).
Panorama Area Expansion
Nordik Spa is divided into three areas, Borëa (where you are allowed to whisper), Kaskad (the silent zone), and Panorama (the social area). The Panorama area with the massive infinity hot tub where you can chat with friends and sip a cocktail has always been my favorite zone, so I was thrilled to discover all the changes to this section.
Since I last visited the Biergarden opened where you can lounge next to fire pits, order craft beer or grill cheese.
The extra seating in a lounge environment makes it a fun social space where there are lots of people laughing and having fun. If you are looking for extra seating, head to the right of the bier garden down the stairs where you can find the new Zen Garden which has minimalist decor and a small waterfall which is another great spot to chat with friends.
The Nordik Spa also had a menu overhaul at all the restaurants since Chef Norm Aiken (formerly of Juniper Resturant) started in January. Chef Aiken aims to bring more health-oriented things to the menus, which is great news. On weekends, you can now order Sushi provided from Tomo Resturant, but when I visited the bier garden and the lounge Panorama you can certainly still find unhealthy options that you might crave too, for example, all the sandwiches come with potato chips (hopefully soon they will add the option of a side salad instead) and there are a variety of desserts including cheesecake.
Next, to the large infinity pool, you can also find Shack which is open at lunch and sells tacos, which is exactly what I crave on a hot sunny day!
My absolute favorite addition to the Panorama area would be the two new hot tubs that are inspired by hot springs in the Canadian Rockies. The first pool flows into the next finally into the large Nakyma infinity pool so everywhere you look you will see large bodies of warm water perfect to relax in. One of the new baths happens to be a jacuzzi that will help your circulation and help muscles and joints. If you visit and the bubbles aren’t on just push the button beside the stand for your towel and prepare for a relaxing experience!
As someone who loved Nordik Spa Nature before, I couldn’t believe they managed to make the spa dramatically better since my last visit. Without a doubt for the perfect spa visit, make sure to try the two new hot tubs, purchase the new Banya ritual to help you reach a deep state of relaxation, and you absolutely need to do the Kalla Treatment which I redid on my visit and became so relaxed that I fell asleep in the soothing experience.
I’ve also heard that the Nordik Spa Nature will be opening a Japanese onsen in the future, which I think sounds like the perfect thing to try in the winter.
Curious about what else is available at the spa? Read my previous review about what you can find at Nordik Spa Nature.