Three floors up from the vibrant streets of Old Montreal, I stepped out of an elevator into a haven of tranquility: Rainspa, the Place d’Armes hotel’s luxury spa. A balm for the overstressed senses, I was greeted by the sight of a wall of water splashing past azure and cerulean blue tiles, the sound of serene music, and perhaps most striking, a wonderful fresh scent that infused the air. When asked what accounted for the lush bouquet, Rainspa’s director Galia said they are often asked about it, but it is no one fragrance—it is the combination of eucalyptus wafting from the city’s first Hammam blended with the fragrances from the line of sumptuous treatment products designed exclusively for the spa. While Rainspa’s signature “perfume” therefore has no official name, I will just call it “the scent of blissful relaxation”. If I could have bottled the air, I would have.
There for a pedicure, I was brought to a clean, cozy treatment room that featured two large massage chaise longues set before foot spas filled with warm bubbling water. After settling me into one of the chairs and starting its massage program, the hand and foot specialist Amélie placed my bare aching feet into the cauldron. The entire pedicure was a lovely experience, from the typical (trimming, filing) to the unusual (a decadent and expertly executed exfoliating foot and lower-leg massage with a sinfully delicious-smelling Espresso Scrub from OPI that that buffed away any residual rough spots). Amélie then chose a hydrating mousse that penetrated deeply and left my feet and lower legs baby soft and quenched with moisture, but no greasy residue—perfect for the summer when you want to wear sandals with heels and not slip out of them! Rainspa carries the FootLogix specialty line of mousses that each target different foot issues, from chronically cold feet to deeply cracked heels and everything in between. She finished with an application of deep purple OPI polish (“Siberian Nights”) and some argan oil to help ward off smudging and all too soon (despite the fact that the treatment was a good 60 minutes) it was over. Sigh.
I walked back to the tranquil waiting area in my Rainspa-issued flip flops to allow my polish to dry and await my spa tour with Galia. Having worked at a spa for several years on the shores of the Dead Sea, Galia’s knowledge of how to blend pampering with treatment benefits has helped earn Rainspa legions of local and international fans. Recently expanded, the spa that brought Montreal its first Hammam Vaporium is committed to staying on the cutting edge of therapeutic aesthetics. The bonus is that most of the treatments are available for couples as well, whether romantic partners, mother-daughter days, girl’s day out…you can enjoy tandem pampering together in the same room, each with your own attendant.
For the uninitiated, the Hammam experience is a “must-do”. This traditional Middle Eastern bath envelops you in richly fragrant vapours that are reputed to be both soothing and healing, stimulating circulation to relieve muscle tension and help eliminate toxins. It is at once a relaxing and revitalizing ritual for the body and mind—and a very pleasant escape from the gray days of winter and early spring! Just bring your swimsuit and sandals, and Rainspa supplies the rest: bathrobes, towels, slippers, a bottle of water, and a locker. Hammam access is included for free when you book any of the treatment packages or massage therapy treatments, and is available for a $15 fee when you book any of the individual body care or aesthetic care treatments. For those who can’t get enough of this healing bath, there are daily, monthly, and yearly passes available.
Rainspa offers some signature care packages that are exclusive to them, including the Mauna Lua and Kahoolawe treatment packages. The Mauna Lua is a 90-minute tropical escape that features a coffee and mint exfoliation body treatment and a gentle rose petal butter massage, while the Kahoolawe provides a stimulating fresh ginger exfoliation and a gentle ginger butter massage. Both packages also feature a scalp treatment using essential oils.
If you really want to go all-out, there is the 120-minute Bora Bora package that provides deluxe pampering for dry and demineralized skin. This unique treatment uses Polynesian pearl and gold nacre extracts to restore skin’s radiance. This head-to-toe treatment features a marine extract body scrub, followed by a massage that combines Western and Polynesian techniques using seaweed-filled pouches.
Rainspa is renowned for its massage therapy treatments, including the more traditional Swedish “Relaxo-Thera”, Deep Tissue, Shiatsu, and Reflexology options. For something more off the beaten path, there are many alternatives—try them all! There is the Tropical Warmth massage using eucalyptus oil, given in the Hammam itself with warm vapours enveloping you for added relaxation. The Divine Rain massage is given under a veil of warm rain to help de-stress those tired muscles, while the Thai Yoga combines massage with deep stretching (you remain clothed throughout) for welcome relief from tense muscles. If two hands are good, four must be fabulous! The four-hand massage is the ultimate indulgence at the hands of two therapists working in concert to ease your aches and pains.
The body care menu features a variety of delights, including the Dead Sea salt body exfoliation treatment, as well as an array of deliciously indulgent, therapeutic body scrubs and wraps depending on your needs.
There are also the more traditional spa offerings, such as facial care (including anti-aging, teen, men, and White Perfect—for troublesome discolourations); hand and foot care; and waxing. Rainspa also has available Medical-Aesthetic care such as microdermabrasion, LED-non-surgical lifting, IPL Photo Rejuvenation, IPL hair removal, the VelaSmooth™
cellulite treatment, and pressotherapy.
It’s nice to know that utter relaxation has an actual address high above the street in one of Montreal’s most popular areas.
Address: 55 St. Jacques Street West, Old Montreal (QC), H2Y 3X2
Web site: www.rainspa.ca
Hours: Monday thru Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Sunday 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Gift certificates available
Valet parking available