The need of sustainable design is now becoming instictive in today’s world. Less impact on the environment is the goal. Following this state of mind comes new ways of designing.

As an interior designer myself, I’m always on the lookout of what’s new in the design world. My latest discovery – floating architecture. Because of the problem of water level dramatically rising in the Netherlands, instead of fighting with water on the mainland, the Dutch turned what would be an enemy (water) to an ally, by creating floating residential projects, like their first one, The Citadel, seen below.

dutch, netherlands, waterstudio, new water, the citadel, floating apartment complex, floating residence

Just like the Dutch, but without water as an enemy, Montreal adds a design string to its bow as UNESCO’s city of design with Bota Bota spa-sur-l’eau (trans.: spa-on-water). If you’re a reader of this blog, you know that I love nordic spas and must imagine my excitement when I heard of Bota Bota’s opening last December.

© Bota Bota / SidLee

This spa calls home an old ferryboat. Young entrepreneurs Natalie and Genevieve Émond, in want of opening a spa downtown or nearby, weren’t keen with the idea of having it on top of a hotel or any building for that matter, especially when spa is synonym to water.

The opportunity presented itself when they heard of an old vessel on sale. The eureka moment stroke immediately. Turn the floating structure into their spa and BOTA BOTA was born.

© Bota Bota / SidLee

Whether you are familiar with nordic spas or not, BOTA BOTA is definitely a must go-to in the city. Large windows giving you a vista of the Saint-Laurent river or Old Montreal almost wherever you are inside – there is none like it. Sitting in the upper deck outdoor hot tub with the breathtaking panorama of De La Commune Street and behind it, did I find myself uttering out loud how beautiful Montreal is. Almost made me emotional.

© Bota Bota / SidLee

On a technical side, BOTA BOTA counts five distinct ship decks. The lower decks include the BOTA CHIC, a lounge dedicated to hand and foot treatments, a yoga and meditation studio for classes or personal momentary retreat, and glassed-wall bistro with a menu concocted by chef Eric Gonzalez of L’Auberge sur La Route, a menu exuding serenity, relaxation, meditation and weightlessness. This is also where you’ll find the 20 spa treatment rooms where they offer a diverse array of massages, like the esalen which puts a deeper emphasis on the recognition and well-being of oneself internally and externally… very sensual. Also can one travel the world through beauty rituals borrowed from ancient traditions… a tribal voyage.

© Bota Bota / SidLee

On the upper decks will you find the usual water circuit facilities like the saunas, the steam room, the hot tubs, the cool water sources and of course, the rest areas.

© Bota Bota / SidLee

The service at BOTA BOTA is quite impeccable from the reception to the bistro. On a fashion point of view, I do love the spa’s staff attired in 1950’s sailsman style with black and white striped tops and black trousers.  no img

The architectural design by Montreal firm SidLee kept the visual essence of the vessel’s look from inside out, like the 678 portholes seen all around the spa, The constant view of the water, the city’s concrete and natural jungle, the wooden elements as well as glass makes this space as an avant-garde design for the city and unique as well.

© Bota Bota / SidLee

A feast for the eyes and a vehicle to an exceptional moment of bliss, Bota Bota spa-sur-l’eau is a definite recommendation.

Live. Laugh. Love.


P.S.: (Update) They’ve recently added a new section to the spa, the Bota Bota Gardens, which you can read about it here.

This is an excerpt from the article Bota Bota-Spa sur l’eau – well designed bliss on water which originally appeared on