Treat Yourself

Looking for a little luxury? De-stress, detoxify and rejuvenate your body and mind at these four fabulous Toronto spas.


When the luxury hotel chain Shangri-La decided to open a location in downtown Toronto, its savvy management reached out to Canadian spa owner Surinder Bains, whose first spa, Miraj Hammam, is a Vancouver favourite. But the Toronto location offers more than the Middle Eastern detoxifying ritual of the hammam.

Fans of French skin-care brand Caudalie Paris will be thrilled to be able to get one of its vinotherapie treatments that utilizes the antioxidant benefits of grapes taken straight from Caudalie founder Mathilde Thomas’s family vineyard in France. Start your head-to-toe therapy in the spa’s marble-clad steam room. The mist opens your pores, ridding your body of toxins in preparation for gommage: full-body exfoliation.

As you lay on a cool slab of Jerusalem gold marble, surrounded by the dense fog of the hammam, your personal attendant slathers on authentic, eucalyptus-infused, black Moroccan soap to further cleanse and soften your skin, followed by an invigorating scrub and gentle rinse.

Next up: the wonders of wine production remnants. The folks at Caudalie say that grape-seed polyphenols are the most powerful antioxidant in the plant world and are skin youth protectors to boot. The Caudalie vinotherapie facials can be customized to your skin type, from Vinoperfect, focused on restoring radiance and anti-dark spot care, to the firming and lifting of the Vinexpert treatment. We settled in for the Grand Facial with anti-oxidant treatment: it promises to improve skin texture and did we mention it includes a relaxing massage? It’s all vino heaven from where I sit, or rather lie. —Kim Izzo and Tara Losinski

188 University Ave., Toronto, 647-253-5770,


Considered the grand dame of Toronto spas, the Elmwood is celebrating 30 years in its heritage brownstone just off downtown’s Yonge Street strip. Blazing a trail, the spa’s founder Sherry Brydson launched one of the country’s first day spas, envisioning it as a place of peaceful escape for women that offered beauty, health and wellness services all under one roof. The building’s stone exterior has been standing since 1889 and has hosted women for much of its history.

It was, in fact, in keeping with its roots, as it served as a YWCA back then; in the 1950s, it was The Elmwood Women’s Hotel – until The Spa at the Elmwood opened in 1982, evolving into the current day retreat. Nowadays, services are updated as often as wellness trends are, and this year, the spa has added the Fire and Ice body treatment. Designed to “detoxify and cleanse the body, by stimulating the lymphatic system, improving circulation, reducing water retention and removing toxins.” The alternating intense heat and cold makes this treatment truly unique.

After a full body exfoliation, large seashells are employed as massage tools, working with fire (hot) and ice (cold) over the skin. “The heat warms up the muscles, reducing aches and draws blood into your veins; the cold flushes it out by drawing out excess heat in the muscles,” says spa services manager Giovanna Manchisi. The treatment sends a signal to your brain “to send a fresh supply of warm blood to the area, which is full of oxygen and nutrients.” I say, ahhhh.
—Vivian Vassos

18 Elm St., Toronto,416-
977-6751; 1-877-284-6348; [email protected];


Couture skin care forms the basis for the My Blend Regenerating Facial Therapy by Clarins. Available for the first time outside of Paris, this personalized treatment is exclusive in Canada to The Ritz Carlton, Toronto.

Each facial starts with a 20-minute analysis, using diagnostic imaging technology. A trained Skin Coach then custom blends a personalized face cream, using one of eight possible bases to target skin type and adding up to two of seven boosters, like Redness Rescue or Jet Lag Juice depending on age, needs and lifestyle.

The super-individualized facial that follows includes a cryomassage of the eye area that does wonders on fine lines. Be sure to make time before or after your treatment to unwind in the spa’s luxurious lounge or to soak in the green tea-infused vitality pool. —Athena McKenzie

181 Wellington St. W., Toronto,


The women-only Body Blitz spas combine the experiences of the owners (and sisters) Laura and Rena Polley in the best bathhouses and thermal water spas around the world and is based on ancient restorative water therapy that is proven to de-stress, detoxify and rejuvenate the body and mind.

Cycle through Body Blitz’s unique water circuit at the new east-end location (the second; the original is on Adelaide Street West): the five-part process starts with a warm Dead Sea salt pool, and rotates through an aromatherapy steam room, an infrared sauna, and a hot Epsom salt pool, taking a dip in a cold plunge pool between each. Supplement the healing power of the pools with a facial, body treatment or massage, offered in one of Body Blitz’s 20 treatment rooms. —AM

497 King St. E. and 471 Adelaide
St. W., Toronto, 416-364-0400;