It’s a fact – cold winds, sub-zero temperatures and decreased sunlight can take their toll on even the toughest of us. To help melt away winter blues, a spa getaway might be in your future.
The Canadian spa industry has something for everyone, delivering unique experiences that combine nature, cultural influences, convenience and the ultimate in relaxation. It is catering to athletes and couples with day-long and weekend retreats.
There’s research to prove a little pampering goes a long way. From relieving muscle and joint pain, to increasing blood flow and speeding tissue repair, a massage is one of many spa treatments that can benefit both mind and body. So, whether it’s sore muscles, dry skin or just a break from the business of life, you are sure to find something on our list of winter spa getaways that will help you relax, recharge and boost your levels of healthy and happy.
Here are five luxurious retreats that will melt away your woes this winter.
Scandinave Blue Mountain – The Blue Mountains, Ont.
There is no better way to complement a long hike on the Bruce Trail or a day on the slopes of Blue Mountain than a getaway to Scandinave Spa. If you are seeking quiet for the mind and body, Scandinave is truly a unique spa brand with other locations in Whistler, B.C., Mont Tremblant, Que. and an urban spa in Old Montreal. There is no Wi-Fi on site; so plan to leave your phone at home and connect with the surroundings as you soak in a series of outdoor baths of varying temperatures. Other features include outdoor fireplaces, hammocks, Muskoka chairs, a solarium and bistro. Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain offers only registered massage therapist treatments.
Signature Services: The baths, Hot Stone Therapy, Swedish and therapeutic massages.
Price: $55 access to baths (excludes treatments), $145 Swedish Massage.
Millcroft Inn and Spa – Caledon, Ont.
Millcroft is a friendly and intimate country inn, 30 minutes from Toronto. It welcomes day-trippers and overnight guests to its 52-room property 365 days a year. In addition to its indoor amenities, it recently added a year-round outdoor hydrotherapy area consisting of a main pool, hot spring pools and a plunge pool — the hot/cold water therapy increases circulation, helps detoxify your body and boosts your metabolism. A beautiful waterfall graces the pool area and is visible from the dining room. The spa boasts a wellness centre with certified practitioners offering reiki, reflexology and chakra balancing. A unique offering is the Indian Head Massage where clients have their head massaged and hair gently pulled as a therapist uses essential oils and reflexology to work key pressure points.
Signature Services: Head to toe reviver, Reiki,Indian Head Massage.
Price: Massage, $160 for 75 minutes; Hotel — $322/night.
St. Anne’s Spa – Grafton, Ont.
If you are looking for a mid-winter weekend retreat, St. Anne’s Spa will most definitely fit the bill. This is Canada’s largest destination spa located in Grafton, Ont., about 90 minutes northeast of Toronto. It’s set in the rolling hills of Northumberland County and the expansive property is anchored by the main inn, a fieldstone castle from the 1800s. It operates on an all-inclusive model, so you aren’t always reaching for your wallet to pay for extras. The resort offers a family feel and has its own bakery, vegetable gardens and raises its own beef which is served at the on-site restaurants. Guests come to St. Anne’s to unplug and take advantage of nearby cross-country ski trails, work on the farm and take wellness classes. The spa has 25 treatment rooms and offers 40 different services. Relax after your treatment in the Fieldstone Grotto, hot tub, plunge pool or eucalyptus steam room. All water used on the property is fed by a natural aquifer of spring water. The resort also offers spa cottages and executive chef service.
Signature Services: Contouring mud wrap with hot basalt rock massage, skin nourishment body therapy, Chakra therapy.
Price: all-inclusive rate starts at $329 per person and includes one night accommodation, four meals and $120 worth of spa services.
Elmwood Spa – Elm St., Toronto
Walk through the doors of Elmwood Spa and immediately leave busy city life behind. Elmwood is celebrating its 35th anniversary and is both the largest day spa in Toronto and destination spa in Southern Ontario. Many visitors plan a staycation at Elmwood Spa and overnight at the nearby Chelsea Hotel. The historic building (formerly the YWCA) has four floors of treatment rooms, a hydrotherapy area, co-ed lounges, a juice bar and two restaurants. Prepare to be pampered and wowed by all that is offered here. Athletes may enjoy the Bamboo Massage, where a piece of cylindrical bamboo is used like a rolling pin penetrating deep into tense and knotted muscles.
Signature Services: Li’Tya healing rituals, Lava Shell massage, Sea Flora firming and toning body treatment.
Price: Bamboo massage — $195, Exotic Escape for two includes water therapy, couple’s massage and four-course dinner at Bangkok Garden Restaurant — $350.
Miraj Hammam Spa – Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto
Drawing on the Middle Eastern belief that the Hammam (Turkish bath) is the silent doctor, the Miraj Hammam Spa in downtown Toronto blends old world remedies in a modern facility at the Shangri-La Hotel. Traditionally, Turkish people would gather in a communal bath for an ancient cleansing ritual. But today, it’s a highly sought after private spa experience. The journey begins with a hot steam session (110F) to detoxify the body. Then, you move to a low intensity steam area (95F), where a warm marble bed awaits. Here, a technician exfoliates (Gommage) your entire body with a traditional black Moroccan soap and a mitt known as a Kessa. This experience can be a bit intimidating at first, but once you relax your body and mind, the “silent doctor” begins its work detoxifying the body, stimulating the immune system and repairing muscles. The Hammam and Gommage is truly a one of a kind experience.
Signature Services: Hammam and Gommage, crushed Cabernet body scrub.
Price: $435-$485/night (Spa packages available).
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