MONCTON – On a hill overlooking Moncton lies the Usva Spa Nordik, a thermotherapy provider that will be run by three mothers when it opens next month. The roughly 7,500-square-foot space has simple wooden walls and an outdoor hot pool, reflecting the Nordic inspiration behind the business.
“Really Iceland is what inspired this whole project from the beginning,” said CEO Geneviève Nolet, who is originally from Gatineau, Que. “I tried it first over there, and when I traveled back home, I found out about Nordic spas here [in Canada]. And I realized I can have the same experience as I did in Iceland in Quebec.”
Nolet is working with Martine Fontaine and Mélanie Gaudet-LeBlanc to launch Usva, with some financial backing from Assumption Life, BDC and private sponsors. Fontaine will manage the spa’s bistro, which will have a liquor license, and Gaudet-LeBlanc is responsible for massage therapy.
The $2.6-million spa consists of a two-storey building spanning 6,400 square feet, and a 1,000-square-foot sauna space. It will offer Nordic-style thermotherapy with dry and steam saunas, outdoor hot and cold pools, as well as quiet relaxation spaces. It will also offer massage therapy, but not aesthetic services.
Thermotherapy is a treatment that puts the body in very hot and very cold temperatures, followed by relaxation. Nolet says clients of Usva can experience the whole cycle for about 30 minutes and repeat as many times as they want.
Posted by Usva Spa Nordik on Tuesday, December 19, 2017
“There are lots [of Nordic spas] in Ontario, in B.C., it’s all over Canada but it’s not [popular] yet in the Atlantic. I just always thought that Moncton was a place where you can bring new things, it’s the kind of place that you can dream. So suddenly it just clicked. Why not Nordic spa here?” said Nolet.
“We have a feeling that this will be very different from everything else that we have in Moncton, there are lots of places where you can go for aesthetic services. We want to offer something unique, so thermotherapy is really the core of the project.”
Usva, located near the Magnetic Hill winery, will only be the second Nordic spa in the Atlantic region and the first in Moncton. It will be open to everyone 16 years old and above because of the quiet nature of the experience. That’s why the building is designed to ensure that when Nolet and her partners have to bring their children to work, guests won’t be bothered.
“This is really a family project. We’re really close together the three of us. We know what it’s like to try to work and have kids at home,” she said.
“When we designed this place with the architect, we emphasized that we have kids. It’s a possibility that one day, I have to bring one or two of my kids and they will stay in my office while I work. So the way that the office is positioned in the building would not affect the experience of the clients. So that’s kind of the way of balancing life.”
Nolet also has plans to designate specific times for families who want their children to try thermotherapy. Still, the calm needed for the Nordic spa experience means the bistro will be reserved for clients only.
“This place is meant to be very calm and quiet, so we’ll ask our clients to also respect that. That’s why we don’t want to bring people from outside who aren’t in that mood,” Nolet said.
Nolet wants her clients to feel transported to another place, so she chose the name Usva, a Finnish word that means mist.
“Mist around here in the Atlantic is part of what we see every day with the bay of fundy. And of course, with the hot pool outside, when it’s getting cold, you’ll see mist coming out of that. We wanted something different. Something that’s not in French, not in English, something that makes you feel like you’re somewhere else.”
Usva will be open to the public in February.