Why you need to get to the Nordik spa in Chelsea, Quebec!

As a wellness writer, I’ve been to plenty of spas in my day. But the big grand pooh bah of all Canadian spas is Nordik Spa-Nature situated in Chelsea, Quebec. Nordik Spa is not only Canada’s largest day spa, it was one of our first Nordic-inspired spa, too. Situated less than 20-minutes away from downtown Ottawa, it’s located in the town of Chelsea, which is super close to Gatineau. Here’s everything you need to know before you getting your Nordik on at this swish nature spa.

Need a reset? Why you need to hit up the Nordik Spa in Chelsea, Quebec!
This is merely one section of Le Nordik. It’s massive!

Nordik Spa Chelsea

This likely isn’t how your first Nordik Spa experience in Chelsea, Quebec will go down, but I opted to dive right in with a Banyä treatment. Here’s what happened:

“Bend over,” barks the blonde in a bathing suit. “Do you want it mild or Russian?” she asks.

“Errr, Russian?” I reply.

Moments later this enthusiastic Banÿa Meister strikes my back with birch branches, one, two, three, who can count the number of times? I remain face down on the sauna bench, trying not to flinch as the leafy branches hit my back and legs.

It doesn’t hurt, but I’m still perplexed as to the wellness benefit of getting (lightly) beaten with a branch. Increased circulation, perhaps?

Why you need to get to the Nordik spa in Chelsea now
You can get a gentle brushing with the birch leaves if you like, but what’s the phone in that.

The other spa goers get into it, clapping in time to the Russian folk music, while waiting their turn to get whipped. The hiss of steam sizzling off the sauna’s hot rocks add to the atmosphere. Dudes, it was freaking hot in there! 

After getting the full Russian, we’re encouraged to exfoliate with salts infused with essential oils. Whenever you want, you can grab face cloths sitting in buckets of ice water and apply them to your face. Some people hightail it out of the sauna having completed their whipping ritual, but the rest of us line up for the pleasure of having a  cedar bucket of freeing water doused over our heads.

“Yeah! It’s like a party!” affirms our Banÿa Meister, after all is said and done. 

When we depart, it certainly looks as though a party has taken place. Crumpled face towels are discarded, pools of water and dried birch leaves litter the sauna floor.  Stepping out of the Banyä sauna into the breezy autumn afternoon, I feel a tad dizzy, but elated. Hot yoga has nothing on this, my friends.

Birch branches are soaked in water before being applied to your back.

Nordic Spa Ottawa

This Nordic Spa, situated less than a 20-minute drive from Ottawa, is where you want to escape when the weight of the world is pulling you down. More than a spa, it’s a like an enchanted forest bubbling over with what looks like natural hot springs, tricked out saunas and thoughtful wellness treatments.

But there’s a twist. Here, Nordic spa rituals are woven into all these wonderful amenities. Additionally, Finnish, Russian and German sauna culture are integrated into the many treatments, too.

Unlike many Nordic spas, this Ottawa-region one has three separate areas for you to explore on 10 acres of property. Each zone has plenty of pools, saunas and relaxation rooms to suit your mood. Here for a day with your girlfriends? You’ll want to hit the Panorama section, where it’s totally ok to chat over a glass of wine and cheese plate. (Yes, it’s licensed!)

nordik spa treatments
Sauna Meister’s guide you through a sweat experience like you’ve never had before.

When you don’t want to be bothered by anyone else’s conversation, head to the silent Kaskad area, to cocoon in a winterized hammock or chill next to the wood burning fire in a relaxation pavilion. If you’re somewhere in between, explore the Borëa area, where you’re allowed to whisper and the pummelling jets inside the Gëser pool (the hottest on property) melt any muscle soreness.

How to Nordic Spa

Now how to do a Nordic spa is to submit yourself to a thermotherapy cycle of getting super hot, freezing cold and then resting at room temperature.

First, you spend 5 to 15 minutes in a sauna or steam room (there are 9 different varieties on property). Next, you’re to expose yourself to the cold so your body releases adrenaline after experiencing thermal shock. Best to do that in one of the bracing plunge pools or hey, why not underneath a waterfall?

Nordik spa chelsea
Get pummelled underneath the waterfall or chill in one of the many outdoor pools at Le Nordik.

Finally, you ought to spend at least 20-minutes partaking in some kind of relaxation ritual. There are hot (and warm) tubs to plunge into, and numerous comfy relaxation areas where you can catch a nap. Or your breath.

On this front, I’d recommend a float in Källa, a saltwater floating pool (so buoyant, you’d think you were in the Dead Sea).

indoor salt bath spa
Experience weightlessness inside the Källa salt bath. It’s especially heavenly when you’re preggers.


Another unique spa experience you’ll find here is the Aufguss ritual. It takes place in the Finlandia sauna with an Sauna Meister, who arrives with a bunch of snowballs. Since aufguss means ‘infusion’ in German, you know these aren’t no ordinary snowballs.

Aufguss sauna therapy
We Canadians certainly know how to get creative with all our snow.

They’re infused with essential oils and are placed on the hot sauna rocks. As the snowballs melt, they release the fragrant oils, which the Sauna Meister fans using a large towel.

The Aufguss ritual is set to music, making it a totally sensory experience. You’ve got the heat, the scent of the oils and the sounds of the curated music. Bliss. 

Massage Gatineau 

If you’re looking for massage in the Gatineau region, look no further. At Nordik Spa-Nature, you can get close to a dozen different types of massage on site. There’s your Swedish, deep tissue and hot stone massages. For mom’s to be, there’s a gentle, prenatal massage that does wonders for alleviating the aches and pains associated with pregnancy.

It can be hard to find proper Thai massage (incorporates more dynamic stretching) in the Gatineau region, but you’ll find it here, as you will lymphatic drainage, which sounds gruesome, but I can assure you no drains are involved. Elevate your experience with a massage in nature – inside a wooden pavilion in a thicket of trees.

In addition to massage, you can get facials (for men, too!), footcare, salt scrubs and wraps. It’s a full service spa, y’all!

Nordik Spa Hours 

Good news! The Nordik Spa-Nature is open late! Its hours are 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday to Thursdays. On Fridays and Saturdays, they stay open until midnight.

It’s open no matter the weather (rain, sleet, snow) and is only closed one day a year – Christmas. If you’ve made an appointment for a treatment like massage, you need to arrive at least 30 minutes before.

But know this, a girlfriend of mine visited recently on a Friday morning around 10:30 a.m. and it was so packed, she wished she arrived an hour before her treatment. She really cut it close and recommends everyone show up an hour minimum before your treatment. They do have a new online reservation system, allowing guests to reserve both their treatment AND spa time.

Keep in mind, you have to be 16 years and over to visit Nordik Spa-Nature. Guests aged 16 and 17 need to bring ID to gain entry.

Hotels near Nordik Spa 

What’s different about this spa is that there’s hotels on property! Nordik Spa-Nature sports two cottages you can overnight in. Nordik Lodge is super near the spa – just steps away and sleeps 12. Nearby Alpina Lodge sleeps 10 in three bedrooms.

I’ve stayed at Nordik Lounge and can’t tell you sweet it was to saunter back and forth between my room and the spa all day and night.

hotels near nordik spa
You can’t help but relax when staying at the Alpina Cottage.

If you can’t secure either of those, Nordik Spa has partnered with over 20 hotels in nearby Chelsea and Ottawa. These hotels range from B&Bs to the Holiday Inn to more upscale properties like Andaz and Le Germain. You’ve got your choice of packages that include a thermal experience, bathrobe rental, plus treatments and meals.

Have you ever been to a Nordic spa? What was your experience like?


You may also be interested in reading:

Thermea Winnipeg: Where Scandanavia Spa Secrets are Revealed

Why you need to get to Kananaskis Nordic Spa

About The Author

23 thoughts on “Why you need to get to the Nordik spa in Chelsea, Quebec!”

    1. Lorry Dade

      I absolutely love Nordic Spa Chelsea . It is so relaxing and tranquil. I only wish I could spend more time there. The Kalla bath is amazing and my favourite.

  1. Tania Thompson

    The Kananaskis Nordic Spa is pretty sweet, but this one outside Ottawa, looks FANTASTIC!! It looks like a wonderful day to simply unwind. If I won, I’d give it to my friend, Laura who has just discovered that both of her parents are gravely ill.

  2. I have never been to a spa. It would be such a treat to indulge in the spa experience.

  3. I have always wanted to try a Nordic spa and have yet to! I have a couple friends in Ottawa that would love a great day like this including a fellow new mom! Would be fun to surprise them!

    1. I would love to try the rituals! My favourite experience is jumping into the very small and coldest pool in the spa. I always feel so invigorated especially during the colder months

  4. Fiona Tapp

    I ca never decide if I like going to outdoor spas better in summer or winter – they both have their benefits!!

  5. JulieLynne McCann

    Love that’s it’s so close to me, all the options to make a fabulous experience! This would be a dream come true! Thank you for this wonderful chance to win
    ¸.•´¸.•*´¨)✯ ¸.•*¨)
    ✮ (¸.•´✶????????????

    Following on FB ~ JL McCann

  6. Lisa Lundsrom

    My last experience was at Chelsea while on holidays in Ottawa. I must say it was the most incredible experience since giving birth.. lol. I have not felt so relaxed and peaceful since that day

  7. I have been with my sisters…50th birthday, been by myself, been with friends and once persuaded my husband to go ( he fell asleep in a hammock). I haven’t been for awhile (we live 2 hours away)…..I need to take my daughters-in-law..SOON!!

  8. Nancy Hibberd

    I adored all the treatments, from the pools, hot and cold, hot stone massages, the food and the outdoor fireplaces. It’s heaven on earth!

  9. Kristen Kunz

    Sounds amazing! Such a beautiful location. This would be my FIRST spa visit ever!

  10. Laurie Livingstone

    This is on my bucket list, my husband and I have never had a spa day, would be so exciting to surprise him with this. ????

  11. Could really use this after the last four months I have had, youngest son died, and I had a cancer scare. R & R would be good now.

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