Spa Eastman

By Irvina Lew / September 14, 2011

Spa Eastman, a 315-acre “country village estate” is located about 90 minutes from Montreal in Canada’s idyllic Eastern Townships. It’s a region where tiny towns, lakeside properties, and woodlands line the rural roads. The woodlands surrounding the spa are studded with quiet (marked) walking paths called sentiers; in winter, they are used for snow shoeing.

The main house is a tri-level lodge-like structure with windows that face the swimming pond and organic flower and vegetable gardens. Its entry is on a slight slope and leads to the hotel’s reception desks, a gracious living room and meeting rooms. The window walled dining room fronts the pond and gardens. The spa facility—with its reception, boutique, medical offices, and 35 treatment rooms—is located on ground level from which there’s access to the sauna and indoor pool, as well as outside to the gardens, fitness pavilion, and cottage accommodations. High-efficiency thermal windows, low-flow toilets, faucets, and shower heads and energy efficient light bulbs are intrinsic to its green status.

Since the spa’s inception in 1977, Jocelyna Dubuc, president and general director, built gardens where organic produce—including fine herbs, edible flowers, sprouts, vegetables, and berries—provide gastronomic ingredients, enhance dinner plates, and decorate the landscape.

Guests find items grown on site on the buffet table and on the menu year round. These include blueberry preserves, eggplant spreads, and pureed carrot, leek, and other vegetable-based soups which are made in-house daily. Organic wines and what is not grown on site is sourced from local producers. According to Dubuc, “Spa Eastman has a rule of thumb to guide its actions called 3NJ (naked, near, natural, and just).” This means that purchasing focuses on items that use the least amount of packaging and processing possible, those that can be sourced locally, and those from businesses that respect their workers and the environment.

From the onset, there was a moral priority to avoid chemical fertilizers and pesticides on the property and to reuse, repair, recycle, or donate furniture and viable goods. In recent years, the spa has made efforts that go beyond using and sourcing organic products. These incorporate sustainable development programs and have been successful in reducing the destination spa’s ecological footprint. The implementation of the 3RV (reduction, reinvestment, recycling, and validation) is done systematically with impressive results. The spa recycles 81 percent of its waste products, uses EcoLogo cleaning products, saves thousands of kilowatts of electricity and tens of thousands of litres of water (the pools use naturally filtered salt water).

The spa’s contribution to the “development of sustainable health” was recognized for its environmental consciousness with Canada’s Phénix de l’environnement 2008 award in the Sustainable Development category. The spa also holds a Recyc-Québec’s “Ici on recycle!” certification. Spa Eastman is proud to be one of the first 10 hotels to get Réser-Vert Certification, a green certification. These Quebec hotels voluntarily try to achieve a balance in environmental, social, and economic issues based upon 140 specific actions in 10 sectors with 24 objectives all linked to sustainable development and include greenhouse gas reduction, reinvestment, community, ethics, and economic development.

In addition to raw food weeks, comprehensive wellness weeks, and a varied menu of spa treatments, the bilingual spa offers educational programs and advocates efforts that many guests can adopt at home.

Irvina Lew
Irvina Lew

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