Where to warm up in Montréal this winter
When temperatures plunge and the city is covered in a blanket of snow, finding warmth and comfort is on the top of everyone's agenda. Here are my suggestions on how to stay warm during Montréal's glacial winter months.
Treat yourself to a tropical ritual
Head to the luxurious Ritz-Carlton Montreal and treat yourself to a tropical ritual with banana leaves at Spa St. James. Recognized for their antioxidant properties and therapeutic benefits, banana leaves are placed warm on the body and then covered by a warm and damp cloth. This ritual, performed in the ambiance of a tropical rainforest, is your one-way ticket to relaxation. Next, enjoy a soothing and invigorating 90-minute massage for a luxurious escape in the midst of the Montréal winter.
Envelop yourself in warmth
Developed in Finland, hydrotherapy is a great technique for reinvigorating and soothing the body. Nordic spas, with their alternating cold and hot cycles, offer a moment of tranquil relaxation in the depths of winter. Scandinave Spa in Old Montréal offers the benefits of this ancient tradition in a sleek and stylish setting. It makes for a highly enjoyable experience. You'll also enjoy the intimate setting and treatments offered at Spa William Gray, where the thermal circuit includes a Himalayan salt room, herbal sauna and a delightful seasonal outdoor pool. Book their Signature Treatment, a 100-minute massage on an innovative Gharieni heated bed filled with warm quartz sand and draped with soft linens. Ferryboat-turned-spa Bota Bota offers magnificent views of Old Montréal from the St. Lawrence River, to be taken in from the comfort of a whirlpool bath or curled up next to a porthole window. Finally, you’ll love the gorgeous design and spacious setting of Strøm Spa on Nun's Island, where you can connect with nature without ever leaving the city. The possibilities for relaxation are practically limitless!
Also check out: Get your wellness on at Montréal spas.
Sip some sake
A cherry blossom tree has taken root in Montréal's Gay Village. The latest creation by the team behind Le Red Tiger and Kamehameha, Le Blossom has Montréal's widest selection of sakes and an express handroll bar. This trendy and modern Japanese establishment is the perfect place to hide away and warm up with some hot sake (rice wine) while enjoying fresh gourmet handrolls. Reservations are strongly recommended.
Also check out: Cheers to cocktail bars in Montréal.
Enjoy a cup of tea (or coffee)
From delightful little scones to assortments of sweets and savoury dishes, afternoon tea at Rosélys, the new art deco-inspired restaurant at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth, will send your taste buds to seventh heaven. Accompanied by a steaming cup of tea, naturally. Another can't-miss spot is Kréma Café on the ground floor, with its round glassed-in fireplace. Zen out to the flickering flames as you smell the heartwarming aroma of fresh-ground coffee all around you.
Savour a hearty meal
When the mercury dips to polar levels, nothing beats a comforting meal. We particularly enjoyed the delicious, spicy and generous curries served up by the newly-opened Épicerie et Comptoir Pumpui, an unexpected find amidst the traditional Italian restaurants of Montréal's Little Italy. The verdict: pure delight!
Also check out: Hot food for cold days in Montréal.
How do you like your fondue?
A classic cold-weather favourite, fondue always appeals to a crowd and offers a change from Québec's traditional dish of poutine. Enjoy it French style at La Fonderie or La Raclette, or try Japanese-style fondue at Shabu Shabu Kagayaki. Whatever you choose, you’ll be sure to leave with a glowing smile.
Also check out: Best traditional Québécois cuisine in Montréal.
Laure Juilliard, blogger
Laure is a writer, community manager and the founder of the blog Une Parisienne à Montréal. She’s also an epicurean globetrotter who’s always on the hunt for innovative concepts and must-try restaurants. In 2016, she co-founded Slow Journeys, a webzine that focuses on ecotourism and design.