For some, saying goodbye to the end of 2016 was a relief and welcoming the start of 2017 was a breath of fresh air while for others, 2016 was great so 2017 can only be as great or even better. Whatever the case was, with a new year comes a new start full of fresh opportunities, motivating challenges and of course new adventures.
Relax, Unwind & Rejuvenate
What better way to start the new year then with a relaxing day, night or weekend at a spa. Breathe in the fresh air and relax your mind while your body is soothed and rejuvenated by a water circuit of hot baths and cold plunges. Canada is scattered with relaxing Nordic spas that are perfect for single-day or weekend relaxation getaways. Whether you plan a rejuvenating retreat with some friends, your partner or alone, starting the year off with a fresh and revitalized body and mind is a step in a positive direction.
You can enjoy a relaxing massage, a calming facial or even just spend a few hours following the water circuit. Most locations will have a calm and back-to-nature atmosphere and are most magical experienced at night especially when there’s snow on the ground. I recently spent an evening at the Spa Nordic Station which is located in Magog, Quebec and it was amazing. The environment was very tranquil and the eucalyptus steam room was a highlight.
*Photo by Richard Whitaker
What Should You Bring?
Before heading off to your spa getaway, it’s best to check out the facility whether it be by reading a paper pamphlet or checking out their website. Check out whether there are any restrictions or recommendations so you can ensure that you are prepared and can get the most from your relaxation retreat.
In most cases, the spa will supply you with one or two towels so save one to be your dry towel at the end. The other will travel with you throughout the facility as you go from bath to plunge pool to sauna and so on. If you have a cozy towel of your own that you prefer to use, feel free to bring it along. Some spas may ask that you use the facility’s towels but others will allow you to bring your own.
• Bath Robe
If you have a robe, you can check ahead if you will be able to bring it along with you. Spas will generally have robes available to rent at the counter but if you have your own, you can make your visit an ecofriendly one with one last spa robe needing to be cleaned. A robe like the PackTowl RobeTowl is a great choice because it is not only a towel, but a robe as well. It is also made from quick-drying, ultra-soft materials so while you relax in the pools, your robe will dry and be ready for when you get out.
• Swim Suit
Depending what type of spa you are vising, you will of course be required to wear a swimsuit. Pick a swim suit that is comfortable and won’t interfere with you spa experience so you can enjoy your time. Because steam rooms and saunas are generally hot, it is best to avoid swimsuits with metal pieces or clasps as they will heat up and may burn you.
• Water Bottle
During your visit, it is important to stay hydrated especially if you are spending a lot of time in the sauna or steam rooms. When you sweat you are losing water which needs to be replenished by drinking more. Most facilities will have water sources throughout the property so you can refill your water bottle when needed. Keep in mind that if you are bringing your bottle into saunas or steam rooms, metal bottles may not be ideal as they will heat up.
Footwear! Most spas will ask you to wear footwear on the property so don’t forget to bring along a pair of sandals. During the winter months, you will be relieved to have a pair of sandals to slip on in between baths as the ground may be very cold. If you are worried about your sandals being stolen, bring along a basic pair of flip flops like Havaianas and leave the Birkenstocks at home.
• Hair Elastic or Headband
For those folks with long hair, you may be asked to tie your hair up or it may be a personal preference. In this case, make sure you are prepared and have a spare hair elastic or headband handy. On cold days when the snow is falling, you may even want to bring along a toque to keep from catching a chill while sitting in the pools and baths.
• Change of Clothes
After a few hours of relaxing in hot baths and steam rooms, the fastest way to bring back all the stress and tension you have just released is by struggling into uncomfortable clothing whether it be a pair of nylons, too-tight pants or tops. Bring along a pair of comfortable clothes that are easy to change into and will enhance your zen feeling after leaving the spa.
*Keep in mind that your feet may have swelled from the heated pools so trying to shove your feet into too tight shoes may not be so relaxing.
Once you’ve got your spa bag packed, you’re ready for a few hours of relaxation and rejuvenation at a spa of your choice.
Top Picks for Spa Getaways:
For those looking for a spa getaway, here are a few destinations within Canada that are worth checking out:
1. Spa Nordic Station – Magog, Quebec
Nestled in the forest alongside the Castle Brook River, Spa Nordic Station is a peaceful spot to relax and unwind in one of the many steam rooms or saunas, or watch the stars from one of the hot tubs. Whether you choose to spend your time relaxing in the relaxation rooms, pools, saunas and steam rooms or you get a massage in one of the massage cabins in the forest, Spa Nordic Station is a spa destination you won’t want to miss this winter.
2. Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain – The Blue Mountains, Ontario
Escape the hustle and bustle of every day life and head for the rejuvenating spa atmosphere found at Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain. Enjoy the natural surroundings as you Spend the evening soaking in hot baths, steam rooms and saunas and taking the plunge in the Nordic waterfall or one of their cold showers or plunge baths.
3. Scandinave Spa – Whistler, British Columbia
After a long day on the mountain, treat your body to some relaxation at Whistler’s Scandinave Spa. Nestled in a luscious spruce and cedar forest just out of the village hum, you can watch the sunset and count stars from one of the many pools. Soothe tight muscles in a hot bath or perform light and easy stretching in the Finnish sauna. When you’ve had enough of the water, saunas and steam rooms you can close your eyes and relax in one of the relaxation rooms.
4. Bota Bota – Montreal, Quebec
Found in the heart of Montreal’s Old Port, Bota Bota is a serene escape from the busy city life. The spa facility itself is an old ferryboat which has been converted to accommodate spa services. You can relax in one of the many hot tubs on the deck while watching the sun set over the city. Follow the water circuit for the ultimate relaxation experiences and take a nap in one of the hanging chairs while gazing across the fleuve.
Next Stop: Relaxation
What are you waiting for? With so many spas to choose from and New Year deals to take advantage of, you’d be silly not to go. Your body and mind will thank you.