PHOTO BY BIANCA DES JARDINS
When Strøm Spa Nordique opened its first Quebec City location last fall, the retreat’s designers took inspiration from and advantage of the provincial capital’s signature feature: the Saint Lawrence River, which flows just below the spa and its Bassin Brown park home.
“As an example,” says interior designer Erika Marcil, “we used pebbles in the layout to recall the natural pebbles we find on the banks of the river.” In summer, guests can lounge in hanging chairs and watch ships pass, while in winter they can listen to crashing icebergs while staying warm in a 102-degree riverside pool.
If that sounds luxe, even more watery pampering awaits inside the 350-guest day spa. Attractions include a hot-water lazy river, two steam rooms (one black to contrast with the steam, the other white Italian marble so visitors feel as if they’re inside a cloud), and Zerobody Nu Relax waterbeds. “The water starts flowing, and you have this massage sensation,” Marcil says of the beds. “You have headphones, and there’s a guided meditation. This is not something that has been seen in Canada.”
Perhaps best of all, the spa boasts North America’s largest float bath, a black room lit only by candles and underwater lights with an instrumental soundtrack pumped in through underwater speakers. The bath contains 1,500 pounds of salt, raising the salinity to about 25 or 27 percent. “That’s really, really salty,” Marcil says. “It’s like you’re floating in the Dead Sea.”
THE PHRASES: FRENCH
Hello/Goodbye • Bonjour/Au Revoir
Pronunciation: bo(n)-zhoor / oh reuh-vwahr
Yes/No • Oui/Non
Pronunciation: wee / no(n)
Please/Thanks • S’il vous plaît?/Merci
Pronunciation: seel-voo pleh / mehr-see
Excuse me, where is…? • Excusez-Moi, où est…?
Pronunciation: ex-koo-zeh-mwah, oo-weh
How’s it going? • Comment ça va?
How do you say…? • Comment dit-on…?
Pronunciation: koh-ma(n) dee-to(n)?
I love Quebec! • J’adore Quebec!
Pronunciation: zha-dohr keh-bek
Want to really learn French? Visit mangolanguages.com.
In parts of Quebec, “poutine” is slang for a mess. It’s also the name of one of the region’s most beloved foods: fries smothered in cheese curds and gravy. Order yours like a local, with Montreal-style smoked meat, or go all out and get the decadent $19 (USD) poutine with foie gras at Montreal’s Au Pied de Cochon. —Hilary Hodge