Based on an old ferryboat remodeled by Sid Lee Architecture, Bota Bota is floating on Saint-Lawrence river, offering a relaxing experience in Old Montreal. Since its opening in 2010, it attracts curious tourists, epicurean locals seeking for a completely different detente environment and business people looking for a quick way to relax (only five minutes away from downtown).

We had the chance to meet up with Geneviève Emond, general director, to talk about their new venture: Bota Bota Gardens. bota2

“We were already using this terrain as a relaxing area but it wasn’t used to its full potential. Only people who knew about it were enjoying its peacefulness. With a growing demand for a pool installation and a desire to offer more relaxation areas, we sat down with MU Architecture who took our ideas to a whole other level.” 

Established on dry land for the first time, Bota-Bota added to its roster a few relaxation zones : a solarium, beanbags, nautical themed detente room and a cozy fireplace ideal after a run into the steam and the whirlpool baths. Let’s not forget the perched hammocks alongside the waterfall and a 60 × 100-foot pool, which combined to the Saint Lawrence’s breeze makes a perfect match for hot summer days.





“Every decision is made for our customers, with their needs and comfort in mind. We try to be innovative in our design and installations, but also in the activities we propose.”

While the name may suggest a place full of plants and leafage where you can hear birds sing, the Gardens were created like the Bota Bota boat, a minimalist aesthetic, pure lines and noble materials. Still, with a will of keeping grown trees and existing greenery the Gardens are helping us to forget about the city during our short escape. Rooftops made of grass add a touch of green to the built environment. It’s also a strong architectural element that distinguish the Gardens from the boat’s point of view.





I fell in loved with this roof that allows rays of light to come through. Catch it at noon and you’ll be charmed by the stunning mirror effect it creates.


The recycled shipping containers used for the steam bath and the relaxation room remind us of ferryboats and how Sid Lee expanded the restaurant last year. MU also brought their single touch with different wood essences as pine and ipe, with an amazing furniture selection. The beanbags and lounge chairs are a must, I would have stayed all day to write this post.

Thanks again to Genevieve Emond who took some of her precious time to show us her new Gardens. We are looking forward on all the special activities happening on the boat this summer.


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Michèle Beauchamp-Roy
Montreal Correspondent
Michèle is a young designer with a prominent fashion background. That challenges the way she does things design-wise but mostly the way she looks at it. For her, the design has to be well-thought and useful to be beautiful. The thing that fascinates her the most is how natural light, a single piece of artwork or a subtle texture on a wall can define a space. Sometimes less is more, but sometimes less is also not enough.