Sunday, 7 December 2014

Bring me Bota Bota

It seems everyone's in the same boat, and that small boat it leaking, taking on water fast and very, very slowly making its way towards Christmas.

With any luck, we'll all make it to shore alive on 25 December... maybe without having tossed a few people over the side along the way (either to lighten the load or just because we feel like it).

It all gets a bit frantic and crazy at this time of year doesn't it?

This weekend, I was craving some time out, but felt even flopping on the bed just didn't cut it.

I needed a place where I could go for a few hours and completely switch off.  I needed a place like Bota Bota.

Bota Bota - a boat with so much more

Sadly, Bota Bota is in Montreal, Canada, but that won't deter me from torturing you and myself reminiscing about this amazing place.

Bota Bota is a day spa, but so much more, located on an re-purposed boat permanently moored in Montreal's Old Port.

The boat itself is a black beast of a thing, sitting among the old industrial port that is gaining new life as an urban recreation wonderland.

Stepping aboard Bota Bota
Sure, Bota Bota has massages, treatments and all the usual trappings of a day spa, but what I signed up for was the Nordic bath circuit.

In short, this is a self-paced rotation through dry saunas, steam baths, cool plunge pools and outdoor hot tubs.

This circuit is ridiculously relaxing, with the hot and cold treatment melting tense muscles and leaving me slightly light headed.

You can spend as little or as long as you want in each place - no one is there telling you to move on.

In fact no one is saying much at all.

Bota Bota with downtown Montreal just steps away
One of the rules at Bota Bota is that talk is to kept to a minimum (a tick of approval from me already).  Any mobile phones, cameras and other electronic devices are left in the bowels of the boat along with your clothes (you are wearing your swimmers and a white fluffy robe).  

So no one's taking selfies, and no one's talking on the phone to friends.   It's peaceful and quiet.  Just bliss.

In between sweating in the sauna and freezing in the plunge pool, I take some time out in some of the indoor and outdoor spaces throughout the boat designed to chill out, relax, or in my case pass out and sleep.  

One of the chill out areas - the lounges on the deck
What makes this place so phenomenal is how utterly relaxing it is - all while being just footsteps away from Montreal's Old Town.   I can see the bustling city right in front of me from the bubbling hot tub, but I feel so detached it's as though I'm watching it on a giant television screen.

Even more amazing is the price.   This isn't a lifestyle retreat with a hefty price tag.

You can lounge around for as long as you like for as little as $45 for three hours.      There's also a bar and cafe on board should you want to make a day of it.

If I had my way, Bota Bota would pull up its anchor and motor on up the Brisbane River.  I'd be there every weekend.

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