Typically relegated to remote rural hideaways, the Scandinave Les Bains Vieux-Montréal is the only Scandinave spa in a city centre. The others are near Mount Tremblant, Whistler and Blue Mountain.  

Located in the heart of Old Montreal, you have to cross horse-drawn carriages trotting on cobblestones to reach this Scandinave’s doors.   

Inside the mood jumps from romantic to sultry. The sex appeal doesn’t seep just from the speedo clad men laying languidly but from the walls. The Scandinave Les Bains Vieux-Montréal combines the therapeutic experience of Scandinavian baths with arousing… and award winning architecture.   

Designed by Saucier + Perrotte Architects, the spa scored an Excellence in Architecture Award from the Ordre des architectes du Québec in January.

Tightly joined Beams of wood stretch across the ceiling and dark limestone plates the floors. Rushing waterfalls set the soundtrack for the powerful and soothing scene.  

Inside the sauna, golden slates of light stream between wooden panels and reflect off an opposing black paned glass wall. The effect makes for a rustic yet sleekly modern sauna experience.   

In the eucalyptus steam bath, I took my first full clear breath since the Fall. The aromatherapy infused air cleared my winter-afflicted sinuses. The warmth was gently penetrating, not suffocatingly scalding like some steam rooms. And droplets gathered on the roof, falling on my face sporadically like a warm summer rain.   

My experience came to a close with a swedish massage from massage therapist Fadila Touati. As someone who writes for a living this was particularly welcome. I know I’m not lifting beams or drilling into sidewalks but the computer screen back hunch, keyboard typing inspired carpel tunnel and blackberry thumb spasms were deeply southed.  

Verdict: This city-center Scandinave is as beautiful and relaxing as it’s country-getaway counterparts… and maybe just a little more sexy. But after all it is is in Montreal. What did you expect?  

Swedish Massage (60 minutes): $128
Scandinavian Baths Access: $54
Open: From 7 a.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. weekends.
For more info, here’s their Website: http://www.scandinave.com/en/montreal/
For reservations: 514-288-2009