Guaranteed to leave you feeling brand new and ready to ski another day, spas conjure up connotations of warm, sweet scented rooms, mood lighting and relaxing music. Spas date back to prehistoric times where people started to believe that mineral can heal and rejuvenate – and the word spa originates from water treatments.
I’ve been lucky enough to travel to beautiful hotels and their spectacular spas, and as an avid spa user myself, I’m ready to judge the best that Canada and the USA has to offer. Sit back, relax and allow me to take you through my favourite spas in Canada and the USA.
The first spa I want to mention is the Four Seasons in Whistler. What really stands out is how much the staff enjoy their job – they really take great pride in being as friendly as possible. They show a genuine interest in you and really want to make sure you get exactly what you want – and their expertise really shines through when they recommend treatments for you. In total they offer 48 treatments, ranging from the expected facials and massages to something different, such as Thai massage – which is what I decided to have. Here they used their thumb, palm, elbow, knee and foot to gently rock me into a state of inner peace. At the end of the treatment I felt especially calm and tranquil. They explained that the aim of the treatment was to harmonise vital life energy.
If you’re after a spa with a reputation that’s second to none, then Willow Steam Spa in Fairmont Banff Springs is what you’re looking for. Forbes Travel Guide and Conde Nast Traveler voted it one of the top five spas in Canada and Trip Advisor’s “Certificate of Excellence” rating of 4.5 shows the quality this spa offers. To get the best out of your experience, I would suggest a day spa treatment. These range from a 2 and a half hour treatment to a full 8 hours. The treatment I had was the “Pure Indulgence- 8 hours Decadent”. This package consists of 6 treatments: a Wildflower Body Polish, an Alpine Aromatherapy Massage, a Customized Deep-Cleansing Facial, a Willow Stream manicure and pedicure followed by a shampoo and blow dry. As if this wasn’t enough, your also get a delicious and nutritious lunch.
I debated as to whether I should include this next spa in my list. Not because the spa is anything less than a beacon of well being and relaxation, but because it isn’t actually part of a hotel. However, I decided it would be a travesty not to include such a fantastic spa in our Top 5 spas. So without further ado, the next spa on my favourites list is the Scandinave Spa Tremblant. They describe themselves as “An authentic tradition”. This is a spa with a difference.
Naturally the spa offers traditional massages along with a few unexpected treatments, such as Prenatal Massage, designed for women more than 13 weeks pregnant. Nevertheless, the reason why people flock to this spa is the Scandinavian Bath next to the Diable River shore. I decided to give it a go. The procedure is designed to change your body temperature from normal to very hot and then very cold in a matter of seconds. It’s this “hot/cold” contrast that really makes this spa unique.
The first stage is Body Warming. You can relax in a Eucalyptus steam bath, a Finnish sauna or the hot baths. The idea of the warming is to cause excessive perspiration,which cleanses your body of toxins and releases negative energy. The second stage is the Refreshing Rinse Station. This is where you close the pores with a short cold rinse in the Nordic waterfalls, cold showers and baths or in the river itself. The spa has created a large hole through the ice on the river so you’re able to take a dip. It’s a surreal experience but definitely one I would recommend, even though it seems a bit scary.
The final stage is the Relaxation Areas. This stage allows your body to regulate its cardiovascular system. This is where you can truly relax in the solariums, zero-gravity pavilion, hammocks and terraces. The spa has a guide showing you what pools to use and in which order, but obviously it’s your choice. If you wish to follow the guide, you can, but the majority of people stick to the warm baths. So there really is something to suit everyone at this spa. Once finished, you can replenish with a healthy meal and a cold glass of freshly squeezed juice. I am a tea lover and regularly drink 10+ a day of English breakfast tea or herbal tea so I was very impressed with the array of organic teas on offer. I had a detox tea that had been created for the spa – and it was delicious. The whole experience left me feeling amazing.
I couldn’t talk about the Four Seasons in Whistler without talking about the Four Seasons in Vail. Being a Four Seasons you can expect impeccable service with a smile. I went here with my partner. Being a “manly man”, he claims that he doesn’t do the “spa thing”. So he decided he would try a “4 Brew and Renew” treatment. He went for the “Scout Scalp” which was a relaxing head massage using froth from a speciality beer mixed with honey. His hair felt wonderfully soft and he seemed converted to the world of spas. We both then decided to indulge in the Skier’s massage. This firm, sports massage works on your tired back, neck and shoulders. I felt re-energised and de-stressed – ready for another day on the slopes.
My final spa on my favourites list is the Peppermill Reno Spa Toscana. I loved how grand this spa was. The white marble and ornate fireplaces with plasma TVs make you feel you’re in a luxurious spa. I decided to try “Reflexology”. This was a 25 minute long treatment. As this was something I’d never tried before I was a little nervous. I told my therapistS and they were so lovely and explained the whole treatment to me. They said that sometimes they will come across a sore spot, and when that happens to let them know as every part of your foot is connected to another part in your body. During the treatment the “sore spot” turned out to be my stomach. This made me laugh as I’d eaten like a queen since I’d been there. I couldn’t help but think it was a sign that perhaps I should take it easy for the rest of the trip. Overall it was fantastic and I felt very aware of my health after the treatment. I then went into the Cedar Wood Sauna, followed by a dip in the pool.
I’ve come to the end of my top spas. These 5, in my opinion, are the best Canada and the USA has to offer. If you’re looking for luxurious spas in beautiful surroundings, wonderful customer service and an experience not to be forgotten then these spas are for you. Where’s your favourite spa? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.