Balnea Spa will saturate you with a strong feeling of well-being and make you grateful that it is only an hour away from Montreal. When you first step out of the changing rooms – it is almost intimidating to see just how big and beautiful the spa is. Where do you start when everything looks so aesthetically mesmerizing and peaceful? Immediately I am drawn to look out to the lake where you can see UFOs floating. What I mean is – there are very large black air mattresses in the water (think water bed). My curiosity had me and we had to try them right away. Driving through long roads in the eastern townships to get here, we are suddenly (finally) surrounded by water, dense forestry and a sense of peace drifting around not knowing where this uncontrollable flottie will take us. You have no choice but to relax, enjoy the incredible scenery and smell of nature. From that moment on, I knew why Balnea is one of the best spas in/around Montreal.
Design. The next thing we notice (with difficulty) was the grand wooden cocoons hidden between the trees. WOW – designed to blend in but once inside, feel isolated and cozy within a sea of pillows and a view on the water/forest. Just finding these sculptures felt like discovering a treasure we had to explore. Next, we end up in what felt like a hobbit’s home. A smaller than average well-crafted wooden door within a little green patch of grass had all the components to a mysterious home to a mystical creature. Of course, we went inside and found ourselves in a stoned cave lit by candle-like lighting. Considering the nature of Balnea, it was also a sauna which added to the pleasant surprise. We continued our journey throughout the spa enjoying hot tubs, steam rooms, dips into ice cold water and visiting other gorgeous and harmonious resting areas.
Summer of chefs. Time to sit down at the outdoor bar to enjoy Julien Robillard’s (Restaurant XO in Montreal) specially chosen lunch menu for Balnea’s Été des chefs. A meal (28$ with wine pairing or 22$ without) was a real feast for all senses! Smoke surrounded the cold dishes and included a unusual buzzing sound that persisted during the consumption of the entire meal. Stones were also carefully used in the presentation of our delicious and unique fish dishes. I quickly understood why the chef had explained that he was inspired by the spa itself for the creation of the plate. During its 7th edition, for ten consecutive weeks, Balnea hosts an accomplished chef on Sundays who creates his/her own version of an inspired Balnea plate. The singularity of the dish truly complimented the fine thermal experience. Also, it is a rare occasion to directly speak to a chef of that caliber about his gastronomic conception. Sunday, September 4th is your last chance to participate in the happening with chef Gregory Paul from restaurant Mile Ex.
All in all, Balnea Spa is a real getaway for the soul. Even road-tripping from Montreal was part of the pleasant experience. A little croissant & coffee and a stop on the road in an unknown area can help you get your mind off your daily life. Make it a day trip and enjoy every minute!
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