Spaaaaahhhh! Why indulge? And where….

“Spa’ing should be a healthy habit, not just a luxury earmarked for once a year”

That is the quote I wrote when I was visualizing and planning to open my luxurious boutique style spa in 2007. I firmly believe that to be true.

A lifestyle consisting of healthy diet, restful sleep, fresh air and rounded out by frequent massages (even once a month) is proven, study after study, to have significant positive impact on a person’s health.

Apart from the therapeutic benefits of massage for injury and pain, there are a vast list of additional benefits. Here is a brief overview:

  • Boosts immune system and flushes toxins out of the body
  • Reduces fatigue and improves the quality of sleep
  • Relaxing and emotionally balancing; rejuvenating
  • Mood enhancing, increases the overall quality of life

Of course, massage is just one discipline in the world of spa’ing. Recent studies suggest that upwards of 90% of disease is stress related. Really, any chance you have to indulge in any spa treatment is beneficial for your overall health ~ physically and physiologically. And at the very least, if you are not able to go for a spa vista, then create your own tranquil oasis ~ epsom salts, a few drops of your favourite essential oil, a few slices of cucumber and run yourself a warm nourishing bubbly.  Short of that, I recommend lots of hugs.  Hugs get the endorphins going and bring about a sense of calm, joy and love ~ all very powerful tranquil vitamins!!

Note: Just because “indulge” sounds like luxurious verb, I encourage you to interpret it as a beneficial personal care initiative; an investment in your health.

In frequenting spa’s in Canada and around the world, here are a few of my favourite indulgences:

BEST spa treatment in Canada: Ten Spa at The Fort Garry Hotel & Conference Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba
The Hamam ~ Fully Loaded” topped with the rose oil massage and the essential oil toning facial
Absolutely out of this world. Divine. Soul shifting.

BEST spa setting in Canada: Ancient Cedars Spa at the Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino, British Columbia
“The Hot Stone Massage for Two” in one of their oceanside treatment rooms perched on the rock is out of this world. Most treatments begin with a seated foot soak outside, overlooking the ocean. Your feet are luxuriously submerged into an essential oil hot water bath in an old copper bowl with marbles on the bottom. Quintessential.

Relaxing oceanside, under a wool blanket with my feet immersed in a copper tub of warm water, essential oils & round rocks. The massage treatment 'room" is that cedar cabin you see in the background....BLISS @ Ancient Cedars

BEST steam rooms experience in Canada
: Kurspa at Sparkling Hill Resort, Vernon, British Columbia
Aqua, Rose, Salt, Crystal, Herbal, Panorama, Finnish and Igloo. All themed. All state-of the-art and decidedly different.

BEST hydrotherapy tub experience in Canada: Island Currents Spa ~ Spa at Sonora at Sonora Resort, Sonora Island, British Columbia
“Sea to Cedar Body Renewal Hydrotherapy”
~ Indulge your senses in this 252 jet, Bouvier Royal Atlantis tub, complete with light therapy and tranquil music playing in the tub’s chamber. After the “bath” you are pampered with a myriad of body treatments. Honestly, when you come to your senses, you wonder whether you were dreaming! (Did I mention that this is in a treatment room overlooking the Pacific Ocean)

BEST spa fare: Grotto Spa at Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort & Conference Centre, Parksville, British Columbia
A perfect way to end a day of bliss is with their endless tapas high atop the Tree Top Tapas and Grill. Sublime.
Also, if you are planning to spend a day at the spa with your loved one, I highly recommend reserving one of their couple’s rooms which feature hand-crafted, oversized copper soaker tubs.

BEST overall spa I’ve ever experienced: Spa Grande at the Grande Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, Maui, Hawaii
The service, the menu ~ east meets west with a Polynesian flare.  The entire facility is state-of-the art and appeals to the heart.

My FAVOURITE spa for personal reasons: The L Spa and Wellness Centre at the Podollan Inn & Spa, Grande Prairie, Alberta

I vividly remember drawing the spa, at my desk, overlooking the water.  My spa is a gift that my husband afforded me ~ I could draw whatever I wanted and he fully supported my vision.  I wanted to bring together amethyst (my birthstone ~ and the first gift David gave to me), together with all of the earth’s elements ~ the rock, marble, water, fire and light. The spa was a project of passion. It was much more than co-ordinating a space that incorporated massage and pedicures into a relaxing ambiance. It was the first time ever that I could literally dream a big dream, conceptualize it, direct it to fruition and call it my own; in some senses it was a reflection of my inner spirit. Every colour swatch, curve in the wall, placement of light, trickle of water was precisely intended to be where it was positioned….I planned and oversaw this project all the while being true to my highest priorities and commitments ~ my family.

The spa opened it’s doors in November of 2007. Life was, and still is very much about juggling. But being wife and mom has always been my highest priority.  My husband has several other businesses that I was involved in overseeing on a daily basis; and being mom to a 3 year old (who as I mentioned was stricken with serious allergies) meant several appointments with  allergenist’s, naturopaths, specialists and a visit to Children’s Hospital on a regular basis. Notwithstanding,  our daughter also had a 30 hour per week training schedule (a member of the Canadian Rhythmic Gymnastics Senior NAtional Team) that I tended to; all while overseeing the detailed unveiling of the “L” spa’s concept, it’s literature, it’s image and it’s essence. My maternal grandma died 6 weeks prior to the spa’s opening and my mom died 2 weeks after the opening. I oversaw the funerals, wrote the eulogies and took care of the closing down of their estates ~ all while juggling motherhood, marriage, hotel businesses, and projecting an inspirational and uplifting health & wellness image for the newly opened spa.  Like I said before, “I had to lead myself ~ and keep everything and everyone all around me held together, as life went on.”

Since 2007, I have worked extremely hard to create a fresh and inspiring image for the spa. Each piece of literature is designed with great thought and attention to detail. Each spa project is juggled with the several other life projects going on around me. I  trailblazed with an innovative membership program that took me 2 1/2 years to have the courage to execute:  “The Spa Junkie Membership Program”, and I did so with belief and confidence that it would be delivered exactly as I intended. It was. And to this date, the spa is experiencing tremendous growth.

In the past year alone, it’s been nominated for “Employer of the Year” by the Grande Prairie Chamber of Commerce, it was one of 4 finalists in the Alberta Chamber of Commerce Business Awards of Distinction in the “Employer of Youth” category.  It was highlighted in Alberta Venture Magazine as being one of the “Best 25 Things in Alberta” , and for the past two years it has been recognized as a “Top 50 Spa in Canada”.  The spa is a member of the Spa Industry Association of Canada and is an esteemed member of the Leading Spa’s of Canada coveted Quality Assurance Program.

The spa, my team, the passion we all share in the name of wellness is a very rewarding journey ~ to be passionate about wellness and to be able to wake up each day and love what I do and am involved in is a gift I am dearly grateful for!