Inside Vettä Nordic Spa, an indoor-outdoor Finnish pleasure palace in Oro-Medonte

Inside Vettä Nordic Spa, an indoor-outdoor Finnish pleasure palace in Oro-Medonte

According to the UN’s World Happiness Report, Finland is the cheeriest nation on earth. How does a famously cold and dark country become so gleeful? The secret might be thermotherapy, the centuries-old practice of heating and cooling the body into a relaxed stupor.

At Oro-Medonte’s recently opened 25-acre Nordic spa, patrons can make like a Finn. It starts with a visit to a steam room or wood-burning sauna (they have multiples of each spread across the property, with stone paths connecting everything), followed by a quick dip in a single-digit plunge pool, which shocks the system into releasing endorphins. Then, spa-goers can opt for a serene float in one of Vettä’s warm pools, recharge with a quick nap in a cozy hammock or refuel at one of the two restaurants before starting the cycle all over again.

Vettä is all about replicating an authentic Suomi experience—the sauna heaters, glass enclosures and even the wood used throughout the property are imported from Finland—but ISM Architects’ streamlined, folderol-free design ensures that Ontario’s breathtaking beauty is the focus. Two-storey windows and a giant glassed-in patio allow guests to feel like they’re luxuriating amid the hardwoods—even while indoors.


Here’s the entrance:

Technology is kielletty (Finnish for forbidden) here. Electronic wristbands allow patrons to pay for things throughout the day, so there’s no need to be tethered to your cellphone.

There are two cold plunge pools, two hot pools and a warm pool that’s fed by a waterfall.

This 70-seater space is the larger of the two wood-burning saunas at Vettä.

Here’s the other wood-burning sauna:

There are also two smaller electric saunas.

Visitors who are not brave enough to fully immerse their bodies in a cold pool can pull a cord, get pelted with icy water and move on to the next step: relaxation.

The hot-stone room is made of human-size slabs of granite that, when heated and reclined upon, facilitate total relaxation.

Before starting the cycle all over again, spa-goers can recharge by a crackling fireplace or at a relaxation zone.

There are two restaurants on-site, Koivu for fine dining and Savu Bistro for casual fare.

A smoked rainbow trout platter served with viili (fresh Finnish yogurt), pea shoots, pickled radish and sunflower seeds ($21).

This zero-ABV Pear and Black Current Spritz is available at both on-site restaurants ($8).