To be clear, there are four different types of spas.
Granted there's overlap and the lines between them get blurred all the time but as a general rule spas fit into the categories of day spas, destination spas, resort and hotel spas, and mineral and thermal spas.
There are very few true destination spas (also known as health resorts) since the experience is intensively immersive with every facet of the stay dedicated to the pursuit of wellness. Think of a remote retreat in the Swiss Alps with no WiFi or cell service and where food, drink, and classes are pre-planned for an ultimate detox.
Most people aren't looking for something that extreme, instead they want a weekend of pampering and relaxation which is exactly what these spas across Canada provide.
Ste. Anne’s Spa, Ontario
Canada doesn't have many castles let alone any castle spas so this 1800s heritage fieldstone castle in rural Ontario is really special. Ste. Anne's is an all-inclusive spa 90 minutes outside of Toronto in the Northumberland countryside. It's the largest destination spa in Canada and the property is a stunning ode to pastoral life.
The spa facilities include outdoor hydrotherapy pools, a dry-heat warming room, a eucalyptus steam room, fire circle, and stream-fed swimming pool. The extensive treatment menu is broken down into body wraps, massages, and facials with some intriguing-sounding seasonal options. The Pumpkin Spice Paradise Body Treatment runs from October through November and the Hydrating Hot Chocolate Wrap is available in February and March.
There's also a gluten-free bakery and farm onsite as well as a seasonal patio and dining room serving breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner. Or guests can opt for a private chef.
Accommodations range from guest rooms in the main inn to spa cottages and group farmhouses.
The Ten Spa at the Fort Garry Hotel, Manitoba
The Ten Spa is located on the 10th floor of the Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg and features a co-ed hammam spa. The space is made up of glimmering tile and heated marble with ambient steam throughout. In addition to massages, facials, and body treatments guests can engage in different guided hammam rituals one of which starts with tea and Turkish delight followed by a salt rub and steam before applying therapeutic mud and clay to your body and face.
Other treatments include cocoons performed on an "envelopment" bed that cradles you as the various body wraps sink in. Or there are aesthetic treatments like the Cryo Time Freeze Facial which uses ice-infused botanical extracts and hyaluronic acid to revive skin.
Spa guests receive 15 per cent off room bookings on the day of their spa services at the Fort Garry Hotel which is a luxurious stately building in the centre of downtown Winnipeg and genuinely resembles the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver from the outside.
Hotel William Gray, Quebec
This spa located in the historic yet modern designed William Gray hotel in Old Montreal boasts a hot and cold thermal circuit, Himalayan salt room, Finnish sauna, steam room, experiential showers, cold room, herbal sauna and a beautiful outdoor pool exclusive to spa guests.
The spa's signature treatment is a 100-minute full-body acupressure massage on top of a bed of heated warm quartz sand draped in linen that tilts up for a foot massage with a Kansa Wand and down for a decongesting facial massage using quartz poultices. The bed gives the impression of being zero gravity as you're massaged.
Food and drinks including wine and cocktails can be ordered to enjoy poolside as part of your spa experience and guests are asked to select time slots so the area doesn't get too crowded. The same goes for the thermal experience which moves from the salt room to a rain shower, sauna, steam room, herbal aromatherapy sauna, ice room, relaxation lounge, and ends at the pool.
Fox Harb'r Resort, Nova Scotia
The expansive Fox Harb'r Resort has 88 ocean view accommodations ranging from modern villas to maritime golf manors. The property houses a golf course and largely caters to golfers but the spa has something to offer those that swing clubs and those who don't.
The Dol-άs Spa Retreat menu covers mani-pedis, lash services, waxing, and makeup application as well as facials, massages, and body treatments. Their signature service is a clinical anti-aging facial that tones and firms using Swiss Cellular and Phyto-Cosmeceutical (extracts from plant or bee products) therapies. There are also massages designed specifically for golfers.
Beneath the spa is the Wellness Centre which has an indoor junior Olympic-sized swimming pool and a mineral pool. The greenery, arch windows, and vaulted ceilings give it a retro but sophisticated feel.
Currently Fox Harb'r is offering a package that includes a one-night stay in an ocean view studio or executive suite and a $100 spa treatment credit per person. Plus 20 per cent off spa services and breakfast.
Kananaskis Nordic Spa, Alberta
This unique oasis in the mountains outside Canmore is like a 50,000-square-foot mini village of saunas and pools. It's not technically a destination spa since there isn't anywhere on the property for an overnight stay however, the facility is partnered with the neighbouring Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge and offers a package 'Spa + Stay' package. The hotel is steps away from the spa and has restaurants and a water park onsite. The package includes a one-night stay and two hydrotherapy sessions at the spa per night.
The first Nordic Spa in Alberta, Kananaskis has five pools, two barrel saunas, an exfoliation cabin, a eucalyptus steam cabin, a finish sauna, a Russian steam bath, and fire pits with hammocks and loungers dotted around. Not to mention treatment rooms and two bistros.
Guests can book relaxation or therapeutic massages which also grant access to the hydrotherapy facility.