North America

Ontario’s Finest is a “Good Thing”

Stillwater Spa, Toronto
Photo credit: OTMPC/Lee Towndrow

Who says sleepovers are just for kids? Picture the stresses of winter melting away as you and your girlfriends, snuggled in soft terry robes, sit giggling and chatting after the soul-deep rejuvenation and pleasurable pampering of a warm and luxurious spa treatment.

Any spa displaying the ‘Ontario’s Finest Spas’ logo is pledging a high level of hospitality and cleanliness as well as a wide range of nurturing treatments and programs delivered by professionals. This established designation indicates that the spa has been anonymously inspected and successfully fulfilled a strict set of criterion.

Reserving accommodations or a spa package ensures a “Time Out” for you and your girlfriends to bask in the resulting feeling of complete relaxation.

And taking time to savour fine regional cuisine at an on-site dining facility and relaxing in the ambiance of the elegant surroundings are bound to enhance the benefits of your collective spa experience.

Everyone loves a little pampering and our spa professionals are sure to indulge your heart’s desire. Feel your anxieties slip away with the restorative power of aqua massage or the healing touch of traditional eastern therapies. Join a yoga or pilates class, re-fuel with delicious spa cuisine then benefit from the pleasure of aromatherapy or the comfort of an herbal body wrap. Whether it’s a girlfriends getaway, Mom and daughter escape or a retreat with a loved one, our idyllic locations should be your next destination.

Signature spa treatments are spa services that are unique to a spa, and are most often found at resort, hotel and destination spas. Signature spa treatments often use local ingredients and traditions, so are also sometimes called indigenous spa treatments. They’re often in a special part of the spa menu and are called “rituals” or “experiences”.

Signature spa treatments tend to last longer and cost more than the usual massage or facial. They can be wonderful, and if you’ve been to a lot of spas it’s fun to experience something new. Sometimes you get master therapists and have transforming experiences.

Prince of Wales Hotel
Photo credit: OTMPC/Ben Flock

Here are some of the most important points of spa etiquette, according to The Day Spa Association.

Arrive at least fifteen minutes early for your appointment, to give yourself time to check in and get into your robe. If the spa has special facilities like steam or sauna or whirlpool baths, you should arrive even earlier to enjoy them.

You will usually undress completely for massage and body treatments, but your therapist will keep your body draped in dry services and only expose area to be worked upon. Some spas use draping in wet treatments like body scrubs, while others do not.

Give the therapist feedback as to your comfort and special troubled areas. You can talk or be quiet, and he she should follow your lead

Relax, enjoy and allow others to care for you.

Understand that you are getting therapeutic massage, which is not a sensual experience.

Don’t talk loudly in the public areas.

Do not bring children and leave them unattended.

Gratuities of 15-20% are typical.

If the therapist says, “take your time getting up,” it means not to get up so fast that you get woozy. You generally have five or so minutes. The room must be prepared for the next client unless she or he says otherwise.

Things to Look For in A Good Spa Experience:

  • The therapist should be professional, courteous, pleasant and cleanly dressed.
  • The treatment should start on time. Therapists should wash their hands before they touch you.
  • Therapists should follow your lead in terms of how much talk occurs during the session. They should not discuss their personal problems with you.
  • For a good spa experience, massage therapists should be sensitive to the kind of touch you want in terms of pressure. There should never be a sexual quality to their touch.
  • You should not be left alone during body wraps, facials, or hydrotherapy baths. Some spas do this, but the best practice is for the therapist to be with the client at all times, enhancing the service and ensuring your safety.
  • Estheticians should ask about your home skin-care routine and offers suggestions, but should not make you feel pressured to buy products.
  • You should feel free to ask questions before, during and after your treatment. And before you book a treatment, you can ask to take a tour to make sure the spa is clean, pleasant and sanitary. Here’s how to tell if the spa is sanitary.

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