Lifestyle

Spa Ofuro Review: Zen in the Laurentian Mountains

Spa Ofuro Review: Zen in the Laurentian Mountains

I’ve been to Spa Ofuro a half-dozen times in the past two years. This is an overall review of my experiences there.

Location

Spa Ofuro is located in the Laurentians, a few minutes from well-known Ski Morin Heights (where I use to go skiing as a kid!). The mountains provide a zen-filled location to come relax.

The spa also has guest rooms on site for overnight stays. The town is known as the cross country ski capital of the area and is about an hour and fifteen minutes from downtown Montreal. There are several competing spas in the Morin Heights area, just a few minutes from Ofuro.

What to Expect

There’s a lot of parking which is close to the main entrance. Once you register, you must go outside and around the front office building to the actual spa facilities. Upon arrival, everyone is offered a tour of the facilities. Many of the staff are bilingual so tourists don’t have to worry about not being able to communicate.

The spa also offers some esthetician services (e.g., manicure, pedicure) but I’ve never tried these.

There’s a tiny bistro / snack bar that serves healthy food and drinks. The room next to the snack bar is one of the waiting rooms where you go to meet your massage therapist. That room has complimentary fruits (e.g., apples, etc.).

spa-ofuro-hot-tub

I consider the main pool to be the focal point of the spa. Notice the two small waterfalls on the right which you can sit beneath. Sometimes I arrive in later afternoon and stay late into the evening which is why this photo is dark.

The Baths

A large whirlpool with a waterfall as is at the center of the spa grounds. Near the ladies change room there are three more including one that is designed like an infinity pool. There are two Eucalyptus steam rooms and two dry Saunas, which are all located upstairs from the central area. Cold dips are adjacent to the hot tubs as well as the river. None of the whirlpools felt overcrowded, and it was really pleasant to find some that were completely unoccupied.

spa-ofuro-locker-room

Of the many spas I’ve been to, the men’s locker room at Spa Ofuro is among the best I’ve seen.

Nordic Spa Style: The Hot – Cold Process

There are hot tubs spread throughout the spa so you are never far away from one. I like the idea that you can “try” different hot tubs. As you go from a hot sauna to cold water to a hot steam room to a dunk in the pool, you can really appreciate the process of easing your body’s tension.

The grounds are adjacent to a river which can be accessed for a cold dip. I’ve done it in the winter a few times. It takes nerve but a few seconds in that freezing water and you feel satisfied that you were able to do it. Besides, you go into a hot sauna soon after.

There’s a hammock which hangs over the river so you can relax with the natural sounds of the water flowing over the rocks below.

Asian Theme

The spa and its surroundings are Asian themed and quite beautiful, with Buddhist and modern sculptures. This adds a nice touch to the facilities.

A footbridge over the river will bring you to a Balinese style hut which is ideal for meditation.

spa-ofuro-statues

I took this photo on one of my visits during the winter (obviously!). This shows the spa’s Asian theme.

The Massages

On two occasions, I had a couples massage in the chalet near the main pool. Both of those were excellent and the therapists were attentive and made me feel very comfortable. A few other times, when I was on my own, the massages ranged from good to excellent.

My partner added that on one occasion, she went for a solitary massage in one of the huts and that particular therapist was a little intimidating and the massage itself was mediocre. It seems it can be hit or miss but to be fair, I expect that from all spas in the Montreal area.

All are certified therapists and can provide insurance receipts.

spa-ofuro-massage-cabin

One of the massage buildings.

The Ambiance

Ofuro markets itself as the most “Zen” of spas and as far as décor and natural surroundings are concerned, I tend to agree. Multiple rest areas exist as well, with hammocks, deck chairs and loungers both indoors and out. On one visit it was raining and one of the indoor rest areas was quite full.

The Gear

Ofuro sells its bathrobes (the bathrobe is fantastic) and tuques, some spa products and gift items.

The spa provides all guests with a bottle of water, which is a nice touch. Most spas that I’ve been to expect you to buy water or offer it on the side. My personal view on this is that if they truly want you to relax and feel good, especially after a massage when you’re supposed to drink a lot of water, the bottle of water should be included. It’s a small touch that means a lot to me in this case.

Other Notes of Interest

My experience at Ofuro has been that they can accommodate most timing requests, making it convenient and easy to book there. Pricing is very reasonable, most 60 minute massages include access to the baths for just over 100$. They also offer 90 minute massages which I prefer.

Getting around the spa requires quite a bit of walking up and down stairs. Some areas are quite far from others so trying to complete a bath circuit is a little more labour intensive than some people would like, particularly in winter.

The ladies and mens change rooms are quite far from one another as well, so finding your significant other can be difficult if you don’t have pre-arranged spots to meet at the beginning and end of your visit.

Competition

Aside from Ofuro, I’ve been to others in the Morin Heights area but I still prefer this spa.

Is it worth it?

If you’re looking for a spa getaway with multiple areas to try out, courteous staff, relaxing massages, and want the zen and peacefulness of a country setting, I highly recommend Spa Ofuro.

 

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