Feature Photo: Rockwater Secret Cove Resort
If you are planning to head north, here are 10 spas in British Columbia to have on your radar
The days when British Columbia was solely regarded as a mountain destination for skiing and winter sports are long gone. Canada’s westernmost province offers everything from hiking, mountain biking and wine tasting, in the region’s Okanagan Valley (approximately 240 miles from Vancouver), and some of the world’s finest luxury spas. From Vancouver to Victoria, here are 10 not-to-miss spas that feature treatments with everything from Canadian maple sugar to mineral-rich magnesium.
Spend the day at Vida Spa at Fairmont Chateau, Whistler and enjoy the 60-foot heated lap pool with underwater music, an indoor-outdoor heated swimming pool and two tennis courts. The 4,250-square-foot facility offers spa menu options from a skin-brightening Ayurvedic Facial to an Ancient Thai Massage. The Scandinave Spa is a rustic haven for relaxation with a green roof, an outdoor area with hammocks and an outdoor fireplace, a wood-burning Finnish spa, a course of thermal baths and a eucalyptus steam room. Choose from an assortment of massage options and packages from Deep Tissue to Thai Yoga.
Taking cues from the scenery along the road from Vancouver to Whistler, the 80-minute Sea-to-Sky Massage at the Four Seasons Resort and Residences, Whistler uses warm river rocks, hot towels and a seaweed exfoliation. The tranquil spa is also equipped with a glacier rain shower, outdoor whirlpools and a eucalyptus steam room.
At the RedCedar Boutique Massage Suite at Four Seasons, Vancouver, book the Thermal Stix massage, with a blend of Shiatsu and Swedish techniques, along with heated batons to help stretch tight muscles and release extra tension, or the Ancient Cedar, a combination of Japanese modalities and acupressure.
Nestled in the forest overlooking the ocean, the Rockwater Secret Cove Resort’s cozy Winter Spa tent is fashioned with heated floors and a fireplace. After a long day of travel, book the Bliss Massage (customized based on areas of muscle tension) or the soothing Éminence Classic Facial, using the eponymous organic skincare line from Hungary.
Take a dip in one of the spa’s healing mineral springs at Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa. The oasis is an hour-and-a-half drive from Vancouver, and provides a long list of body treatments from the Glow with organic cane sugar for gentle exfoliation and buffing, to the Reveal Facial with marine-derived ingredients for combating fine lines and wrinkles.
Located in Clinton, 142 miles north of Vancouver, the eco-friendly Echo Valley Ranch & Spa uses energy-efficient lighting and water-efficient plumbing and is a designated no-plastic zone. Guests are provided with stainless steel water bottles for their visit. The property features two spas, one modeled after a traditional Thai spa with hand-crafted Thai beds, and a western spa with aromatherapy treatments and classic Swedish massages.
At the Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Empress, Victoria check in for the nourishing Magnesium & Jade Wrap with infrared and magnesium (ideal for stress relief and to extract toxins from the body). Then stay for traditional afternoon tea with your choice of tea and an extensive menu featuring a variety of traditional tea sandwiches from smoked salmon pinwheels and cucumber and ginger mascarpone, to freshly baked raisin scones with strawberry jam and cream.
For the ultimate wilderness getaway, take the ferry from Vancouver, or splurge for a helicopter to Sonora Resort & Spa. The private island, replete with guestrooms, suites and villas, offers everything from kayaking and fly fishing adventures to hiking and mountain biking, and a 12-seat movie theater. For extra relaxation, head to the spa for treatments such as the Sea Salt & Kelp Body Scrub with local sea kelp and wild rockweed.