How to indulge when you’re tight on funds.By LAURA PELLERINE and SALLY MACKINNON
Let’s face it—the spa gets a pretty bad rap when it comes to people trying to penny pinch. However, you can still enjoy a fabulous treatment at a reasonable price tag, and though, it may seem difficult to justify parting with $100 for a pedicure, there are a lot of physical and mental benefits from being “forced” to relax.
Wanda Love, CEO of Leading Spas of Canada says that North Americans are starting to take a more European approach to spa going, where the focus is more on wellness than indulgence, and making the spa become a part of a personal health care regime.
“We’re starting to understand the negative effect of stress on our overall health, and spas are being recognized as a retreat to de-stress, detoxify and take care of one’s self,” Love says.
For those on a budget, Love says the spa can still be an accessible luxury with many health benefit providers subsidizing massage therapy. For other ways to stretch your dollar, Love offers a few tips:
• Express treatments are a huge trend and offer shorter treatments at a reduced price.
• Check the spa’s website or social media page for seasonal specials and promotions, or call to inquire.
• Take advantage of any amenities the spa has to offer. A 45-minute pedicure may also provide access to a mineral pool, steam room, sauna and more.
• Even if your spa of choice doesn’t offer extensive amenities, relax and enjoy the lounge area—sip a cup of herbal tea as you relax in a plush robe.
We’ve combed the city to find interesting treatments that offer good value for your hard-earned dollar. And the good news is, nothing is over $195—we even found some fantastic treatments for less than $50!
$195 & UNDER
Stillwater Silkpeel Facial
Few spas can claim to use diamonds in their facial treatments. But at Stillwater Spa, located in the Hyatt Regency Hotel, diamond is the exfoliator of choice during their signature Stillwater SilkPeel facial. A diamond tip is paired with a skin-specific serum, removing dead skin cells and allowing the skin to instantly absorb the solution. Stillwater also offers a whirlpool and lounge, and is a tranquil refuge from the chaos of the downtown core.
Price: $195 (60 min)
Thai Inspired Herbal Massage
The Spa Ritual
This treatment uses traditional Thai tools for exfoliation and relaxation. The tools, or Luk Pra Kob, are made up of herbs like turmeric and lemon grass and are then wrapped in unbleached cotton and steamed. These aromatic compresses are applied to the energy meridians of the body before massaging away aches and pains.
Price: $190 (90 min)
Leela Eco Spa & Studio
Health and well-being are the focus at Leela, a spa and yoga studio that forgoes aesthetic treatments in order to concentrate on massage, facials, body scrubs and reiki. For a taste of Leela’s unique approach, we recommend the Breakout Experience. First clients relax in the spa’s infrared sauna, warming the muscles in preparation for the next component: a therapeutic or relaxation massage. Next, clients are given a one-on-one yoga session, tailored to their skill level and physical condition. The experience is then finished with an ionic detox foot bath.
Price: $170 (3 hrs)
Inspiritu Hot Stone Ritual
Swizzlesticks Salon Spa
The Inspiritu incorporates both hot stones and aromatherapy. After a sensory journey to select your essential oils, hot stones are placed on the body to warm and relax the muscles. Your essential oils are then massaged into the skin, relieving tension and, through aromatherapy, create a sense of peace and relaxation.
Price: $159 (90 min)
Coffee & Sea Kelp Contour Wrap
This detoxifying wrap begins with an invigorating exfoliation using pumice. Next, a stimulating ground coffee and sea kelp mixture gets gently painted onto the body, which helps to decrease the appearance of cellulite, before the body is wrapped in a warm cocoon. You are then treated to a soothing Vichy shower as it softly rinses away the residue. Senses get awoken with the fresh scents of nanah mentha, vanilla and grapefruit extracts, while the skin is made soft and supple after an application of macadamia oil. For an added bonus, go for their signature pedicure—Santé’s recent $1-million renos brought new ultra-hygienic pipe-less footbaths, as well as Maestro pedicure chairs that feature music played over headphones synchronized to the waves of the massage chair.
Price: $140 (60 min)
$129 & UNDER
A Place of Peace
RnR Wellness, The Spa
A signature experience at the spa’s new location inside the Palliser Hotel, that combines aromatherapy, warm stones, reiki, and reflexology. The amount of each component is up to you and your healing beliefs. It begins with deep breathing to allow the full impact of the aromatherapy, and continues as a mixture of therapeutic and hot stone massage, as well as energy balancing, and reflexology (pressure applied to specific areas of the foot to stimulate health). This treatment is so relaxing you may fall asleep for part of it.
Price: $129 (60 min)
Personal Touch Facial with Éminence Organic
This facial uses products from the Éminence Organic line, handmade in Hungary without parabens, petroleum, mineral oils or sodium lauryl sulphate. The facial begins with a gentle cleansing, followed by steaming, extractions, masque and moisturizing, and a relaxing hand massage. The Éminence products have a subtle, natural scent, and leave the skin feeling gently cleansed and hydrated.
Price: $125 (60 min)
Shea Butter Enzyme Facial
Whatever your skin type, Tranquil Escape has a facial tailored to it. The Shea Butter Enzyme Facial is for clients with dry skin, and draws on the moisturizing properties of shea butter. The skin is cleansed, a masque applied, blackheads extracted, and the skin hydrated.
Price: $100 (90 min)
Vanity Boutique Spa
This quaint spa offers a personalized, hands-on approach, and an open attitude to “European style” techniques (where the chest and posterior are also included in treatment). One of the best values is their body facial, which is essentially like the name suggests—a facial for your body. It includes a dry exfoliation, a salicylic and lemon grass acid treatment to brighten the skin, and a moisturizing oil application. Each treatment is tailored to the client’s specific needs like treating back blemishes.
Price: $95 (60 min)
Oasis Wellness Centre & Spa
Their new “Spa4$79” special allows clients to enjoy a decadent treatment for an affordable price. Clients can choose between their TEYE facial, massage, or the Oasis signature pedicure. We like the pedicure: It starts with a warm soak in a mineral bath, followed by an intensive sloughing of dry and calloused skin, and a gentle foot massage. This treatment is topped off with expert nail care and polish application.
Price: $79 (60 min) Mon to Thur, 9 am – 5 pm, otherwise $88
$65 & UNDER
Indian Head Massage
Head massage is a time-honoured treatment in India, where it is part of the Ayurvedic tradition. At Dharma, aromatic hair oils are massaged into the scalp and neck, with the purpose of clearing blocked energy channels. Clients also receive a foot massage, and both the head and feet are wrapped in hot towels.
Price: $65 (45 min)
Kansa Vatki Foot Massage
A soothing treatment based on Ayurvedic principals to rebalance energy. It begins with a cleansing foot bath and gentle exfoliation. Next, using warmed ghee and a three-metal bowl, chakras (energy meridians) represented along the sole, toes, heel, instep and ball of the foot are massaged to remove excess body heat, and for relaxation. This treatment also offers other health benefits like improving blood and lymph circulation and calming an agitated mind.
Price: $60 (45 min)
Soften and renew your skin with this luxurious bath, believed to have been a favourite treatment of Cleopatra. The lactic acid found in milk acts as a gentle cleanser for skin, removing dead skin cells and damage caused from environmental build-up. Other fatty acids, amino acids, minerals and vitamins found in the milk leave the skin silky and supple, while a special aromatherapy calms and soothes.
Price: $49 (25 min)
Skoah is both a line of skincare products and a facials-only spa. For those looking for a fast way to refresh their complexion, the quickie facial is a cheap solution: cleansing, exfoliation, and a hydrating facial massage. Skoah’s catch phrase is “personal training for your skin,” and the quickie facial also includes a skin analysis.
Price: $35 (20 min)
A RELAXING DAY
Spend the day lounging at one of these luxury spas for under $500
Riverside Ritual: Recover Touch Facial, Mineral Pedicure and Manicure, 60-minute Swedish Massage
4 hrs, 15 min, $340
What More Could You Ask For?: Paraffin Manicure, Chocolate Pedicure, Collagen Facial, 90-minute Massage
6 hrs, 30 min, $365
The Spa Ritual
The Golfer’s Path to Rejuvenation: 60-minute Therapeutic Massage, Sports Manicure and Pedicure, 60-minute Bamboo Back Scratch, 30-minute Back Waxing
4 hrs, 15 min, $450
RnR Wellness, The Spa
A Day of Peace: 90-minute Body Wrap & Massage, Deluxe Warm Stone Paraffin Manicure/Pedicure, Deluxe Facial and spa lunch
5 hrs, $475
Oasis Wellness Centre & Spa
Brilliance: 60-minute Hot Stone Massage, Essential Body Wrap, TEYE Facial, Signature Manicure, Vibran “C” Eye Regime & Brow Shape
4 hrs, $495
Enter to win a Personal Touch Facial with Éminence Organic from Riverside Spa