Bota Bota began its life on the water as a ferryboat named The Arthur Cardin, sailing between Sorel and Berthier, Quebec, in the 50’s and 60’s. This was followed by a stint as a Richelieu River show boat named L’Escale in 1967, with decades of shows featuring the likes of Ginette Reno. The Emond Family acquired the ship in 2008 with the crazy idea of transforming it into a spa.

The family entrusted the ambitious project to Jean Pelland of Sid Lee Architecture, and once transformed, Bota Bota, spa-sur-l’eau officially opened its doors in Old Montreal in December 2010.


45 000 square feet
678 portholes
274 cm of submerged hull
138 nail polish colours
70 employees
85 massage therapists
44 types of services
21 treatment rooms
14 metres below the level of the Saint Lawrence River
6 terraces
5 decks
4 cold showers
3 cold baths
2 basins
4 Finnish saunas
3 whirlpool baths
2 steam rooms (often referred to as a Hammam)
1 garden
1 waterfall
1 pool



Anchored in the Old Port of Montreal, Bota Bota, spa-sur-l’eau offers its passengers the healing benefits of a spa while being lulled by the natural movements of the St Lawrence River. With its enchanting ambiance, and Old Montreal as a magical backdrop, this mysterious and innovative floating spa offers all who come aboard privileged access to the river while enjoying the relaxing and energizing properties of the water circuit.

Bota Bota consists of five decks which house the various spa installations: two saunas with incredible views onto the river and the Old Port, two eucalyptus steam baths, three outdoor whirlpool baths, four cold showers and baths, relaxation areas, a restaurant, terraces and a garden.

Over and above its breathtaking Montreal location, this unique spa offers prolonged well-being through massage therapy, body treatments, facial treatments as well as manicures and pedicures.

You can also delight your taste buds at the Bota Bota, spa-sur-l’eau restaurant, La Traversée owned by Thomas Engasser with the chef Rita-Adèle Beaulieu at its helm. La Traversée allows its passengers to complement their experience with a fresh and simple menu, both original and comforting, for a serene healing of body and mind.

Step onboard into a universe awash with astounding contrasts. In an enchanting space, between two water worlds… float away.