Thermea by Nordik Spa-Nature: Putting the ‘aaahhh’ in spa

(Story previously published in Canstar weeklies)

IMGP7398The wait is over. After years of preparing, partnering and constructing, Thermëa by Nordik Spa-Nature is officially open in our city. It’s unlike anything most North American spa-goers have seen.

Nestled on the edge of the forest beside Crescent Drive Golf Course, Thermëa is intentionally set in the heart of nature. The thermal spa ritual involves cycles of heat and cold, allowing the body to eliminate toxins, stimulate circulation, release adrenaline, and increase flow of endorphins. This results in purification, relaxation, and rejuvenation. IMGP7438

Winnipeg is the second Canadian locale chosen by Nordik Spa-Nature Group, for creating this exceptional Nordic spa concept popular across Europe for centuries. The first location, Nordik Spa-Nature, has been offering the benefits of thermotherapy to Chelsea, Quebec, since 2005. Now it’s our turn.

Thermëa is an indoor-outdoor haven, open year-round. Its world-class facilities were carefully and thoughtfully planned, with the owners taking into consideration every little thing from proximity to the trees, wind patterns, sightlines, and the path of the sun across the sky, in order to give spa-goers the best, most zen-like experience possible.

IMGP7419On site are baths, saunas and relaxation areas, connected by heated stone pathways. Walking around in bathrobes and sandals, with steam rising and spa music playing, it doesn’t feel like you’re outdoors. It’s a little bit surreal. And a whole lot relaxing.

The Finnish sauna, Finlandia, is lined with cedar benches and varying heat depending on where you sit. Stones radiate soothing dry heat with essential oil infusions. Two wet saunas, Vaporo Eucalyptus and Vaporo Orange, are both luxuriously hot and steamy. The Exfolia room lets you scrub down with essential oil-infused salts, choosing from calming lavender or refreshing menthol.

The baths go from hot, to cold, to colder. Gëser is the hottest and the one you’ll linger in the longest. The temperate pool, Tempër, is a cool 21 Celsius. Only the bravest will venture into the aptly named Polarbër plunge, or stand beneath the Iceber waterfall, both of which are a teeth-chattering 10 Celsius.IMGP7412

While I’m normally not a fan of cold-water, I made myself try the Polerbër plunge after sweating it out in Finlandia. And am I ever glad I did! Yes, it was horribly cold, I won’t lie. But the feeling you get after exiting is so completely invigorating: a slow rush of coolness starts at your toes and spreads inch-by-inch up your body, right to the top of your head. I kid you not. It was so amazing that I willingly went back into the cold plunge for a second time after a nice long steam. I can see this process becoming quite addictive.

IMGP7414The Relaxa pavilion houses heated stone benches, picturesque views, fireplace, and quiet room with heated stone beds and mattresses. Sip herbal tea while listening to the sounds of babbling brooks, or slip on a pair of headphones and drift away to spa music, nature, classical, and other tranquil selections.

Right in the middle of the site you’ll find Fläm, an open-air log cabin with an enclosed fire pit, circled with Adirondack chairs. You get the sweet smell of woodsmoke, the warmth of a fire, and the freshness of the great outdoors, while feeling warm and sheltered.

In addition to all this, massages and body treatments are available, and a fully-licensed restaurant serves locally-sourced dishes and impressive variety of wine. So really, Thermëa put in place everything you could want in a spa. And now it’s your turn, Winnipeg, to go ahead and take the plunge. The coldest one.

I dare you.

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