Bota Bota began its life on the water as a ferryboat. Then called the Arthur Cardin, it sailed between the cities of Sorel and Berthier, just east of Montreal, back in the 1950s. Many years later, someone had the idea to transform this mothballed boat, docked in the old port of Montreal, into a floating spa. Mission accomplished. With its 25,000 square feet, 21 treatment rooms, 6 terraces, and 40 different types of services, the Bota Bota makes a pretty grand spa, if you ask me. What’s even greater about the spa is the location. Docked in the old port with stunning views of downtown and Old Montreal, the Bota Bota offers its passengers (not customers!) the healing benefits of a spa while they are lulled by the natural movements of the St Lawrence River.

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Relax and Be Pampered

What with the dreadful weather Montrealers have to endure 5 months out of the year, it is only natural that there would be a surprisingly large number of spas spread throughout the city. Such shoveling and ice-navigating efforts must not go unrewarded! Spas are actually quite popular date spots amongst Montrealers, with most spas offering the option of a candle-lit, soothing massage pour deux—a nice shelter for two away from the hustle. Two of the most popular spas are located in a former bank (Spa Ovarium) and in an old ferryboat docked in the Old-Port (Bota Bota), which only adds to the singularity of the already memorable experience. Un massage, s’il-vous-plaît.

Bota Bota

Truly Montreal’s most original spa, Bota Bota is located on the very water of the Old Port, in a docked boat. The vantage point from its sauna is absolutely unique, allowing you to gaze onto the water and the city beyond as you melt into the cedar planks. Visit for a few hours of relaxing in the Nordic spa, or treat yourself to a massage or body treatment, like the signature 90-minute Babor Escape Treatment which includes a head-to-toe exfoliation, a body wrap and a neck and head massage, all to the aroma of your choice (a personal fave is the lavender, for ultimate decompression). Bota Bota also offers great beautification services, like facials and mani-pedis, as well as a restaurant on-site. Photo: Susan Moss

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