BEST SPAS IN WHISTLER
Whistler, British Columbia, has long been known as one of the busiest and most popular downhill ski resorts in North America but over the last several years it has become a true year-round destination. And, for wellness-minded travellers, downhill skiing almost takes a back-seat to the wealth of wellness type activities available in this inviting and beautiful mountain-based village.
Travel to Wellness visited recently for hiking, Nordic walking (walking with poles) and, of course, spa hopping. Here are a few of our Top Spas in Whistler.
Named for the Greek Goddess Artemisia, whose name means “nurturer who pours enlightenment,” the Artesia Spas are located at Whistler's two Pan Pacific hotels and at Sun Dial Hotel.
Signature treatments offer a sense of place by incorporating products such as Canadian Moore Mud and Outer Coast Seaweed hand harvested from British Columbia’s Pacific Coast. We tried the 60-minute Laminaria Wrap using the local seaweed products and found it to be simultaneously relaxing and reviving. www.artesiaspa.com
THE SPA AT FOUR SEASONS WHISTLER
With 14 treatment rooms, The Spa at Four Seasons Whistler is the largest in the resort area and considered one of the most luxurious. One of the things we most liked about it is the use of local products to create a sense of place. B.C. glacial clays and Pacific coast seaweed are incorporated into a number of treatments. Sea to Sky one of the signature treatments includes smooth, gliding Lomi Lomi strokes selected for this treatment to make you feel as if you’re being rolled in the ocean. We liked the special touches such as the small bunches of grapes presented to guests on a china plate and, in the locker room, a bowl of chilled towels set out near the steam room. Along with the usual spa amenities – there were lots of extras such as including mouthwash, hair products, hair ties and bags for wet bathing suites. Also this is one of the few spas I’ve been to with hairdryer diffuser attachments for those of us with curly locks. Product lines (when we visited) included Eminence (lots of yummy testers) Phytomer and Pevonia. A good size retail area also features light-as-a- cloud cashmere robes.
Across from the spa lobby there’s the hotel’s fitness centre and steps to the side, the hotel’s beautiful pool area - open to all guests whether you’re using the spa or not. www.fourseasons.com/whistler/spa.html
TAMAN SARI SPA
The most exotic spa in Whistle (and one of the most exotic in Canada) is Taman Sari with two locations in Whistler: the Summit Lodge and the Hilton Whistler. An authentic Indonesian spa and currently the only Taman Sari in North America, the spa employs only Indonesian-trained therapists, plus all products are manufactured and imported from Indonesia. That plus the traditional Indonesian décor combine to give the spa a truly exotic feel. Menu includes such treatments as the Javanese Royal Essential Touch which incorporates Thai stretching and Shiatzu. Aong with Indonesian-inspired décor, treatments, products and therapists the other feature that sets the spa apart is the Jamu & Tea Bar where guests are invited to sit to fill in their pre-treatment health questionnaire. www.tamansarispa.com
VIDA WELLNESS SPA, FAIRMONT CHATEAU WHISTLER
One of Whistler’s first spas, it was also was of the first to adopt the Ayurveda (a 5,000 year old science of life.) concept. The waiting area is relatively intimate and you’d never know that beyond lies 17 treatment rooms – including two couple’s suites and a mani-pedi area. We tried the signature Ayurvedic Swedana (word means “to sweat”) which includes a massage with Ayurvedic oils followed by a system cleansing in a hand-crafted West Coast cedar steam cabinet. Herbs are incorporated into the steam cabinet to work with the person’s dosha (Vata, Pita or Kapha). If you don’t know your dosha - not a problem, the treatments include an analysis. The heat is rather intense and the therapist remains with you to apply cold cloths and sips of water which helps you endure the heat and keep the body hydrated. Once out of the cabinet the body is sprinkled with flour – barley, corn or chickpea – to soak up the oils, sweat and toxins. That’s followed by a dry brushing and a shower. It’s a lovely treatment. The only downside to the spa is that the locker room is shared by the adjacent gym, or, you can choose to change right into robe and slippers in the treatment room. The bonus is that the Fairmont has one of the nicest pool terraces in the area and it’s just steps away. www.fairmont.com/whistler
Read about Top Spas in other destinations.