Diving into Ontario’s Spa Life
Especially nowadays, taking time out to rejuvenate is crucial. But how to actually do it? First of all, get away — from work, home, responsibilities, and commitments. Second, head to Ontario, home to some of Canada’s most spectacular spa, health, and wellness havens. Third, surrender. These oases of pampering specialize in helping you to unwind, unplug, recharge, and remember what really matters in life. It’s time to get started. Here are some of Ontario’s finest.
Escape to the countryside
Ste. Anne’s Spa, Grafton
Imagine a charmingly rustic old stone farmhouse, rambling and romantic, set in the English countryside. That’s St. Anne’s — laidback and welcoming — an institution for 30 years. The 400-acre property is an all-inclusive, adult-only resort overlooking Lake Ontario. Picture cozy fireplaces and a full-service spa, seven cottages, an outdoor pool, stables for equine therapy, and walking trails meandering through the lush hills and manicured gardens. Just 90 minutes from Toronto, this place feels a world away. Guests don’t really wear anything but their comfy robes, even to dinner… that could become a tough habit to break!
Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie Paris, Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto
Wine isn’t just for sipping. Old World vinothérapie is front and center at exotic oasis-in-the-city Miraj Hammam Spa at the luxe Shangri-La. Guests shed impurities and tension in a Moroccan-inspired, mosaic, and marble hammam wet steam sauna and wine-barrel hydrotherapy pools. Post detox, there are exfoliating full-body scrubs à la Crushed Cabernet, created with Paris skincare maven Caudalie. Nibble on grapes and baklava, sipping chai, as you recline in the opulence of your private suite, just like the celebs do.
Dip into outside Nordic H2O-therapy
Scandinave Blue Mountain, Collingwood
There’s something so soothing about watching leaves rustle in a gentle breeze while listening to rushing water. Elegant and luxurious, Scandinave hits all that—and then some. Nestled in a 25-acre birch, pine, and maple-wooded sanctuary, it ranks 14th in Spas of America Top 100. Nordic-style Scandinave unfolds in a series of outdoor landscaped terraces with ambling waterfalls, steaming hot pools, saltwater cold plunges, and relaxation nooks, plus serene solariums, eucalyptus steam baths, and wood-burning Finnish saunas. There’s yoga, massage, and an upscale on-site bistro. Set aside at least four hours to nap in the hammock, read by the outdoor fireplace, and steam, dip, soak, repeat.
Indulge & recover
Spa at Claramount, Claramount Inn, Picton
After exploring Ontario’s 150 vineyards — and sampling plenty of its world-class Icewine — you’ll need to counteract the indulgence. A restored neo-colonial mansion-turned-boutique-hotel surrounded by leafy vineyards is what you need — and its health-focused, full-service Spa at Claramount. Peppermint leg and foot massage? Pear and green apple body polish? Hot stone massage? Yes, yes, and yes. Combine that with a view of Picton Bay, handsomely appointed antique surroundings, pristine, seasonally-inspired menu, deep soaker tubs, and heated saltwater pool. After you rejuvenate, head out into pastoral Prince Edward County for more sip ‘n swirl. Cheers!
Get away with the girls & go organic
Invite your friends for a weekend yoga workshop or girls’ retreat to this clean-eating, farm-to-table, 200-acre refuge near Ottawa. Set in a fruit orchard, an 1860 stone farmhouse and renovated barn set the scene. Spunky and progressive, Strathmere recently debuted its 6,000-square-foot spa and wellness center: manis, pedis, facials, and massage, plus treatments, classes, cooking demos, and meditation study in the organic garden. Menus spotlight eco produce, super-food smoothies, and lean proteins. Linger at the outdoor hot tub and fire pit with a craft beer over great conversation. It’s a fresh take on R&R: that’s R&L, for “Relax & Learn.”
Go sophisticated & serene
Millcroft Inn & Spa, Caledon
There’s a gentle beauty to the Caledon Hills north of Toronto: lilacs framing brick Victorians, mist creeping up the velvety knolls, and the sun painting it all in a blush of pastels. That gentle tranquility sets the scene for toney Millcroft Inn & Spa, a restored mill on Shaw’s Creek surrounded by rolling 100 acres and meadows, where unwinding seems to happen organically. Take advantage of the superb French-inspired cuisine and expert spa staff, well versed in anything from Japanese healing to Swiss shower therapy. The spa has 17 treatment rooms, in- and outdoor pools, al fresco hot springs, herbal steam rooms, even an infrared sauna.
If it seems like you’ve been putting off that get-centered getaway for far too long, Ontario — and its sumptuous spas — have a white, fluffy robe with your name on it. The only thing missing? You.
Ready to unwind? Get more spa, health, and wellness ideas at Ontario Travel’s website.