Pampering getaways

Sometimes a great escape isn’t just about the destination: it’s about some serious indulgence too. What better way to escape everyday life than a relaxing massage in an peaceful setting?

Luckily, the spa getaway trend shows no signs of waning. In fact, it continues to expand with new treatments and new packages ready to tempt guests. Always a treat for a girlfriend getaway, spa vacations are also a perfect way to spend some mother-daughter time (and all the ladies in your family too).

Here are some top places to enjoy a little pampering with the ladies in your life.

Ancient Cedars Spa at the Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino, British Columbia

You don’t have to head to the tropics for some seaside luxury. Located along Vancouver Island’s west coast, the Wickaninnish Inn offers an ideal setting to lounge on a patio by the ocean, or relax at nearby Chesterman Beach. However, you’ll also be enjoying the view through picture windows at the Ancient Cedars Spa’s two treatment rooms: the Cedar Sanctuary and Rainforest Haven. Choose from a variety of side-by-side treatments like the traditional Lomi Lomi massage or West Coast Sacred Sea — a full-body exfoliation and moisturizing treatment followed by a soak in a Jacuzzi tub.

Spa packages include two nights accommodation for two guests, two yoga classes and an hour-long spa treatment for each person and run $1,269 to $2,811, depending on the room type and time of year.  While its four-day package isn’t available during the summer, you’ll enjoy the same great accommodations, twice the yoga and a Signature Spa Treatment in addition to the one-hour treatment per person. (Rates range from $2,540 to $5,720.)

For more information, visit the Promotions & Packages webpage.

The Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff, Alberta

Maybe mountain views are more your style? You can’t go wrong with this “Castle in the Rockies” — or, more specifically, resort in the heart of Banff National Park. When you aren’t exploring the great outdoors, rest up in a waterfall whirlpool or European mineral pool. Can’t tear your eyes away from the view? There’s an outdoor whirlpool and heated pool too.

Each spring, the resort offers “Spa Season” packages where you can enjoy 20 per cent off spa treatments, spa products and personal training. (Packages start at $249/person per night, based on double occupancy.) The spa also offers packages for small groups like its Willow Stream Spa Package with gourmet breakfast and spa treatment with accommodations, or it’s SPA’RTY day package were groups of three or more get a free gourmet lunch along with their spa treatment. 

For more information, visit the Fairmont Banff Springs website.


Ten Spa at the Fort Garry Hotel, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Did the thoughts of a luxurious soak catch your attention? This spa may just be one of the best places to take a bath, says — who named it the “Best Haman.” If you’re not familiar with the term, haman is an ancient Turkish-Roman bathing ritual which includes elements like a detoxifying salt scrub, rest on a heated marble platform, a good soap scrub, stretching and massage. The spa even looks the part with its deeply hued mosaic tile tubs and steamy atmosphere.

There’s a little something for everyone, including the “Self Administered Haman” ($75 and perfect for those preferring a “hands-off” experience) to its two-hour long “Haman Fully Loaded” — which includes a foot massage, gommage (an exfoliation treatment), full body scrub with olive oil soap, hair wash and stretching massage ($185).  All of the experiences are communal and ideal for pairs or groups Larger parties of six to 12 people can book a private “Warm Mud Party” ($95 per person) with options like a foot wash and foot massage.

Of course, the spa offers a selection of typical treatments too. For more information, visit the Ten Spa website.

Spa Eastmen Health and Wellness Retreat, Eastmen, Quebec

It’s not hard to see why you’ll find this retreat on many “top spa” lists. This destination spa is a triple threat with spa treatments, fitness and fine cuisine — all in a charming country escape in Quebec’s eastern townships. The retreat’s postcard-worthy facilities are surrounded by 15 km of hiking trails, forests and gardens. The idyllic setting overlooks the water and affords a view of nearby Mont Orford.

You can even enjoy this view with an outdoor massage under the gazebo, or head indoors to take advantage of the variety of spa treatments.  Treat yourself to a hair or make-up session, or book an appointment for a personal consultation.

If you’re looking to treat a friend or family member, try the “Discover Spa Eastman with a Loved One” package. Starting at $668 per person, double occupancy, the package includes accommodations, three meals daily, access to all fitness classes, three guided walks per day, lectures and workshops.

For more information, visit the Spa Eastmen website.

Spa at the Ritz Carlton, Toronto, Ontario

Perhaps you’d prefer a city escape instead? You won’t be wanting for activities in Canada’s largest city — like museums, musicals and site seeing, not to mention the shopping. Keep with the sophisticated, uptown feel of the city with an indulgence at Canada’s largest spa. Imagine: 16 treatment rooms, three relaxation lounges, spas, saunas, pools, yoga, a nail salon with private pedicure stations and a state-of-the-art fitness facility.

The hotel’s Escape to the Spa packages start at $505 per night, including accommodations, a $200 spa credit and breakfast. However, you don’t have to be a guest to take advantage of all the spa amenities — they’re complimentary with any treatment. You’ll find a full compliment of spa treatments and a number of packages, including Mother’s Day packages starting at $180 for two and “Les Petites Spa” — a manicure and pedicure party for four including a special “mocktail” and gift — for $460.

See the Ritz Carlton Toronto website for full details and prices.

Fox Harb’r Golf Resort & Spa, Wallace, Nova Scotia

If you’re looking for a sporty getaway — and if you appreciate all the little ways a resort makes you feel at home — this spa gets the nod from experts. Each of the twelve manor-style guesthouses has its own distinct style — not to mention features like heated granite bathroom floors and variety of welcome amenities to surprise your guest. Located on the shores of Wallace, the extensive grounds include a championship golf course, hiking trails and outdoor sports as well as indoor fitness — complete with on-site experts and perks like music players and fine linens.

The spa offers a wide variety of treatments, including signature and age-defying treatments. However, even their spa packages offer a little something extra. For instance, the Golf & Spa package includes a round of golf and a $100 spa credit along with accommodations and breakfast. (Prices range $570 to $757/person per night, depending on the time of year.)  The Spa & Sport Shooting Escape includes clay-shooting opportunities (complete with firearm, ammunition and expert instruction), a $100 spa credit, breakfast, accommodations and lunches. (Prices range $640-$752.)

For more information on packages, visit the Fox Harb’r Golf Resort & Spa website.

Of course, this list is just a small selection of the many soothing spa experiences you can find across our country. Whether you’re thinking a day package or longer getaway, use these ideas as inspiration for your planning. Many spas offer packages for couples and for men too, so there’s an option to suit just about every preference and budget.

Any favourite spas on your list? Share with other readers in the comments.