To commemorate Scandinave Spa Vieux-Montréal’s 15th anniversary, let’s take a deep dive into our history through an exclusive interview with the key players in this adventure: Vincent Damphousse, owner and visionary of Groupe Scandinave, Steve Arsenault, President of Groupe Scandinave, and Kim Malczewski, the passionate General Manager of Scandinave Spa Vieux-Montréal. This blog post will take you behind the scenes of this jewel of urban relaxation, its significant evolution, the challenges it has faced, and the key moments that have forged its unique identity.
Founder and owner
He takes us back to the early days of the spa, when the idea of building a second location in Old Montreal began to take shape.
Looking back over the past 15 years, what inspired you to create Scandinave Spa Vieux-Montréal?
“We wanted to build a second location in Quebec, and the decision to establish ourselves in the Montreal area was a strategic one. I knew the Old Montreal area well, having lived there in the past, and it was here that we found an ideal location to launch the project. Once we found the location, the environment guided the rest. We decided to take a completely different approach to our Mont-Tremblant location, creating an indoor urban spa rather than a rustic outdoor space, offering a distinctly modern experience for our guests.”
Can you tell us about some of the milestones or key moments in the spa’s history?
“The transformation of a space originally intended to house boutiques into a modern urban spa was an ambitious challenge. Under the guidance of renowned architect Gilles Saucier, we navigated from the acquisition of the 13,000 square feet to the realization of our vision. Several brainstorming sessions were completed with both feet planted in what would become our massive bathtub.”
The challenges weren’t long in coming, from remodeling a century-old building to managing the complex logistics of building in a historic urban space. Vincent also reveals the fascinating history of the building, which once received goods by rail and port, underscoring the importance of respecting the site’s heritage.
President, Groupe Scandinave
His perspective offers a look at the constant evolution of the spa since his arrival over 6 years ago.
The perspective of Steve Arsenault, current president of Groupe Scandinave, offers a look at the constant evolution of the spa since his arrival over 6 years ago.
Can you tell us about some of the milestones or key moments that marked your arrival as president?
“In 2018, a year after my arrival, we expanded the area dedicated to massage therapy, because due to our success, we were running out of rooms to meet the demand of our guests.es. This expansion phase allowed the spa to reach a volume of business that would have been unthinkable before! More recently, of course, there was the pandemic, which hit us hard, especially since the Montreal area was the epicenter of the epidemic and forced us to close. All in all, this episode was a positive one, as it allowed us to prove our resilience and also to take advantage of the situation to renovate and improve our guests’ experience.”
What were the main factors that contributed to the success of Scandinave Spa Vieux-Montréal?
“It is a combination of elements. At the risk of sounding cliché, it starts with the quality of our team, which has been delivering an exceptional relaxation experience every day for 15 years. I also firmly believe that our rigor in staying true to our DNA has also played a big part in our success; we’re one of the few spas that still offers a traditional relaxation environment, without electronic devices and in silence. Finally, our commitment to maintaining the quality of our facilities is appreciated by our guests.”
General manager, Scandinave Spa Vieux-Montréal
She shares her experiences since arriving in 2019, a period marked by the spa's expansion.
How has Scandinave Spa Vieux-Montréal evolved since you arrived 5 years ago?
“In May 2019, we had just completed the major expansion that Steve was talking about earlier. I then joined a dynamic team that was motivated to handle this growth. And more recently, I noticed the impact of the pandemic on our industry. It has confirmed for many the importance of taking care of ourselves, making the relaxation experience and massage therapy a must.”
What makes Scandinave Spa Vieux-Montréal different from other spas?
“Scandinave Spa Vieux-Montréal offers a simple, traditional, quality relaxation experience without electronics. We’ve also renewed our vow to remain a silent spa, and our guests thank us for it.”
As we look to the future, Scandinave Spa Vieux-Montréal is full of enthusiasm and innovative ideas to enrich our guests’ experience. The recent launch of our “Celebrate” events marks the beginning of a new initiative to celebrate the changing seasons and promote the benefits of thermotherapy. This is in keeping with the vision of continuous improvement that has characterized Scandinave Spa since its inception.
As Scandinave Spa Vieux-Montréal celebrates its 15th anniversary, it remains true to its commitment to continuous improvement. The promise to evolve and offer exceptional experiences remains at the heart of the spa’s vision for the future. The years ahead promise to be as exciting as the first 15 years of Scandinave Spa Vieux-Montréal’s history.