Last Friday, I indulged in a Finnish meets modern meets hammam water spa experience. I wanted to try it since Balnea opened a few years ago in the Eastern Township.
Sitting next to Lac Gale with a superb view of the Appalaches, the site is designed around the balneotherapy. I liked my day but Balnea felt short on the drinking water part and in helping me getting the most of the balneotherapy.
How My Day Goes By
Balnea simply provides a small water bottle for the day. Unlike many spas, they do not have a self-served cucumber water station. But you can stop by the café anytime for a complimentary herbal tea.
We booked the Sukhasana package which includes a semi-private yoga (our trio), one hour of massage and the lunch. The lunch is up to $13, which means that you eat a soup and a healthy sandwich without extra. Their salad meal bowls are $12-$13. The food was good.
Even though my knee is not really fit for yoga yet, I went ahead because I wanted to try yoga on one of the several outside platforms overlooking the lake. It was raining heavily one hour earlier. So our yoga class took place inside, on the top veranda room. If they would have told me at the desk, I would have switched to a scrub treatment and a massage instead.
Saunas, Hot Tubs And Sun Bathing
Three Finnish saunas oversee the lake. Cool showers and an icy plunge pool reestablish your body temperature after each sauna session. I tried the dry sauna eucalyptus and a dry sauna with rosemary. The hot Turkish steam room complete the inside water complex.
We also enjoyed a series of hot tubs outside, including the renowned heavy fall cold pool (you have to try it) and a cold pond.
Next to the lake, the cedar tub and sun bathing lounge area is pleasing. You can swim on the lake. A small sauna pavilion with a fireplace and the new Fatboy outdoor chairs near the lake can be reserved by a group. Otherwise, it is available for everyone.
Pleasing Spa Treatments
The personnel at the yoga class and the massage took into account my injury. My girl friends enjoyed their massages too. One girl took an express facial treatment and was happy.
The striking site with direct access to nature makes you feel good. The décor of the spa is hip yet relaxing.
We took the quick tour of the facility with a guide. Rooms are well indicated. But I expect more from an upscale spa. Why Balnea do not devise one or two ritual programs around the thermal water experience? You make your own as you go. Unless you are an expert, it becomes more a day at the park than a spa treatment.
Short on Being a Top-Notch Host
On the customer service area, we were well treated but it is not worry free. That is where an upscale spa must deliver. They failed on the small details more than once.
My massage took place at the old Stone House. The sky was dark gray. Plenty of umbrellas were available on the main building. I saw them on my way out and I assumed more umbrellas would be available at the stone house. The girl who showed me the way did not suggest I bring an umbrella with me. It rained heavily as I was ready to go back to the main building. I asked for an umbrella and was told they were none at the stone house. I had to insist, playing on my injury as an excuse, before they called someone from the main building to bring me an umbrella. They finally found one sitting at the stone house. I got my umbrella but the other guests ran, all wet, under the rain to get back to the main building. Plus, they charge you $15 if you want to get a new bathroom – I hope these people did not have to pay. Sorry but you do not pay top dollars for that level of service.
Overall, Balnea provided me with a satisfying experience. They have a lot of things going for them. To become a must go destination, Balnea must improve on customer service. They must learn the art of being a top-notch host. You go to an upscale spa to feel pampered every step of the way and not just for what is in the premises. After this visit, I understand why some of my girl friends were disappointed when they visited last year.
+ Balnea Spa Bromont-sur-le-lac – Web site is only in French