The Mani(cure) for Sensitive Skin
When Pascale Khoury’s son developed a severe sensitivity to foods and skincare products, the mom and vegan entrepreneur created a full-salon experience using exclusively vegan and organic products. V&O Salon’s commitment to non-toxic, chemical-free, and cruelty-free materials has a way of attracting a range of customers. “We have a lot of moms who come so their babies have an environment that’s more healthy,” says the salon owner. “We have a lot of pregnant women and women going through chemo.”
The V&O Salon reflects Khoury’s culture and values that reflect her childhood in Lebanon where she practiced body sugaring for hair removal for 11 years before now offering at the salon. “We would make it at home, because it’s only lemon, sugar and water,” Khoury says. “That’s what Lebanese people do, so that’s how I started.”
After some body sugaring, clients can pick an express, classic, or gel mani-pedi. Khoury and her five-person staff also do facials. Our favorites include the aroma lisse hyaluronic acid facial, oxygenating matt and pure facial, and hydra floral moisture bright facial — all curated to your skin type and needs.
Khoury pays particular to attention to product sourcing, only buying from small businesses started by women. “I really like to try and stay local,” she says. “We do have the person that does all our scrubs and oils – that is, a local person that actually started her little company because she rescues older pugs and wanted extra income. So I like that.”
4288 Notre-Dame Street West, Montreal, QC H4C 1R6, Canada. Mani-pedis begin at $16.50 and the full facial experience at $34.
A Mountaintop Must
Standing in the city center, Mont Royal offers stunning views of the city’s bustling city below. The urban oasis was designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed Central Park. In the early fall, the orange and red trees line the five walking trails circling Mont Royal. Enter the 761-foot-high hill through one of seven entrances accessible. The entrances at Avenue du Parc and Rue Rachel allow a prime vieweing spot for the prestigious McGill University campus and renowned George-Étienne Cartier Monument. For the more adventurous traveler, this entrance also leads to the nearly three-mile-long Olmsted jusqu’au Chalet trail, looping around the entire park. For a peaceful journey free of the touristic masses, choose to climb Kondiaronk Belvedere. It also offers some of the best views of downtown Montreal, St. Lawrence River, and Monteregian Hills.
1260, Chemin Remembrance, Montreal, QC H3H 1A2, Canada. Free to enter but beware of small parking charges if you choose to drive here.
The Scandinave Spa Vieux-Montreal weaves in Montreal’s story of inclusivity and multicultural roots by giving guests a traditional Nordic bath experience. Try the hydrotherapy for an intensive three-phase session. Take a seat around live coals, which stimulate circulation, a detoxifying waterfall hot tub, and eucalyptus steam bath. Inside its stone walls, low wood ceilings, and deep blue decor, form-molding cushions and silent rooms invite serenity and seclusion. The “no phone” policy and “no talking” policy highlight the soothing tranquil hum of tumbling thermal waterfalls and slow instrumental tunes. For a real treat, try the intense deep tissue, authentic Swedish, Lomi-atsu, or nourishing Thai oil massage. Before heading back to the city, stock up on their plant-based shampoos, conditioners, cleansers, creams, and lotions.
71 de la Commune St W, Montreal, QC H2Y 2C6, Canada. Open every day between 8:30am and 9pm, relaxation is available whenever you need it.
Liberate Your Body
A few steps away from Mont Royal, Modo Yoga offers a small bubble of calm in the midst of the buzzing metropolis. The eco-conscious studio welcomes a maximum of 12 participants for each class to ensure each person receives individual attention from the instructor. Founder Dina Tsouluhas takes a 360-approach to wellbeing, a view that encompasses more than staying in physical shape. An anatomy teacher at Moksha Yoga Teacher Training, Tsouluhas shares a passion for building inner stability, calm, or energy. Classes ($15 each) range from relaxing yin to fast-moving powerflow. Several classes host live guitarists, singers, and DJs. Try the Yin and Tonic, which restores joints and muscles through long, deep holds to maximize muscle release. Tsouluhas says this fan-favorite sells out quickly so be sure to pre-register. The studio’s ambiance encourages pampering with soft music, candles, and registered massage therapists. But the positive vibes don’t end in your savasana. Moksha employees also conduct international work in Haiti to preserve the environment, reduce poverty, and do community karma work.
3863 St. Laurent Blvd., Suite 205, Montreal, Quebec H2W 1Y1, Canada. Yoga mats and towels are available for rent at the studio for $2.
Banner photo courtesy of Scandinave Spa.