The Polar Bear’s Club is located an hour drive north of Montreal City (excluding morning and evening traffic). We left around 10am Friday morning and missed all the traffic going there (and back), arriving at about 11am. You are not allowed to bring any food; however, due to my many allergies and limited budget, my mom and myself (and our friend Jenn) packed little bags of nuts and dried fruits. Just something small in case we got hungry – which of course we did! You are asked to bring a towel, bathing suit, water bottle, sandals (that you are okay with getting wet) and a bathrobe/cover-up. You can also rent a towel and robe, and purchase water and food at reception. On their website it says to bring a lock; however, when we paid they handed us locks so we did not end up using ours. Be prepared to see and hear very little English.
The Polar Bear’s Club is designed to promote health and relaxation. They follow the Scandinavian principle of putting oneself through warm to intense heat and then immersing in cold water to improve ones health. “Thermotherapy contributes to better blood flow in the circulatory system. It promotes relaxation of muscles, stimulates the immune system and provides complete and deep relaxation allowing stress to leave the body while replenishing your energy” (Polar Bear’s Club website).
Here is a description from the Polar Bear’s website for what you will find:
“The Polar Bear’s Club is:
- 3 access points to the river
- 5 outdoor whirlpool baths
- 2 waterfalls
- 1 steam saunas
- 2 dry-heat saunas
- 2 outdoor pools
- Several indoor and outdoor relaxation areas
- On-site lodging
- Divine health, beauty and massage treatments
- An array of beauty and massage treatments”
The last time I visited Polar Bear’s Club was several years ago with my aesthetics class for a graduation trip. There have been some beautiful changes and I was much more relaxed leaving this time. We found a spot towards the end of the club, near a cold pool (with a waterfall) and a warm pool above. I like these two because the warm pool is not too hot, another pool (with a cave) closer to the changing rooms was so hot I felt as though I was in a hot bath. The kind of bath you want to spend 30 seconds in and get out. That’s me anyway, I much prefer the cold water, especially the river (which I spent most of my time in). Click here to view a map of the hot tubs, saunas, river access points, pools and general layout. Throughout the club there is relaxing music being played, which helps drown out the nearby highway.
Having grown up in a warm climate and cold ocean, I love spending time in water. After making my way up the left side of the river, through a very strong current by pulling the rocks (you cannot swim into this strong current) I made it up to the middle where I could swim up a less powerful current and let the river push me down. It was so relaxing. I did it several times and everyone who got into the river wondered how I had gotten there. Guess you all just learnt the secret 😛
We spent the day alternating between sun bathing and relaxing in the cool and warm pools. I began my day with a wet sauna that is to the right of the change rooms. Before you decide on a spot to settle for the day, walk around to the different rooms and pools and get a feel for the place. There may be a spot with fewer people which might entice you (as it did for us). You can also book a massage or body treatment. Maybe you would prefer more time there, in which case you can stay over night in their lodgings. If you wish to have a massage or body treatment make sure to book pre-arrival as this is a popular option for many people spending the day at the club!
Overall it was a wonderful day. When we left around 2:30pm the place had filled up and become a little too crowded for my liking. The best days to go are a Tuesday or Wednesday as people are more likely to take a long weekend and come on a Monday or Friday.
Enjoy your time if you make it to Piedmont and explore the nearby outlets, making a day trip of the whole experience 🙂