Enhancing the focus on women’s health and wellness
The traditional spa experience, generally speaking, often offers services and treatments meant to provide visitors with an environment of peace and tranquility. Many also centre their experience around the promotion of health and wellness. However, as we continue to foray deeper into an age of hyper-personalization during which differentiation is critical, some establishments are focusing more of their efforts on the well-being of women and developing unique therapies meant to address their particular needs.
Within this Spring issue of Spa Inc., we explore a number of spas across the country that are seeking to benefit women’s health and wellness, the ways by which they do so, and the business and marketing opportunities that have become available to them as a result.
We take a look at some of the changes that have occurred over recent years that have impacted the industry and the ways in which spa operators have adapted to these changes, leading to the need to develop a more benefit- and science-based approach to the mental and physical well-being of women.
In an attempt to provide at least a glimpse into the specialized woman-focused treatments and services that are available at various spa facilities across the country, a handful are highlighted, including those providing therapeutic massages to enhance proper breast care; those catering to the feet, applying pedicures to help lessen the symptoms of diabetes; as well as those servicing a women-only clientele with luxurious, pampering treatment.
In addition, we feature the women-only spa clinic Body Blitz Spa, its preservation of a centuries-old European water-centric tradition, and the ways the unique techniques and treatments are used to satisfy a range of different needs and desires.
Despite best-in-class treatments and therapies, however, they might be developed for nought if maintenance of the environment in which they are taking place is not a top priority. With this in mind, we highlight the efforts put forward by the Scandinave Spa to ensure a clean, sanitary, and peaceful atmosphere in which their guests can find relaxation and peace of mind.
And, always seeking ways by which the spa experience can be elevated, combined with an understanding of the significant role that food plays in contributing to good health and well-being, Québec’s Spa Eastman offers an incredible cuisine for its guests to enjoy. A special contribution from the spa’s Director of Marketing and Communications, Marjolaine Grenier, breaks down Spa Eastman’s Tonic Cuisine® — a gastronomic experience that goes a long way toward setting the Canadian wellness retreat apart from its competitors.
We also speak with Marion Le Gall, Director of Spa at the Guerlain Spa at Hotel X Toronto, about the experience the spa offers its visitors, the importance behind upholding exceptional service, and the plans the spa has underway to further enhance its offering.
We hope that you enjoy this robust lineup of content and that the insights provided help you and your teams continue to thrive and grow while consistently enhancing the spa experience and supporting the mental and physical health of Canadians across the country.Sean Tarry MANAGING EDITOR
ISSN 1710 -1727
Volume 19, Number 1
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CELEBRATING EXCELLENCE at the Leading Spas of Canada Aspire conference
To help recognize and honour the very best that the Canadian spa industry has to offer, Leading Spas of Canada hosted the association’s annual Aspire conference on April 24, 2023, in Toronto.
The Wellness Soirée, which was held at the newly renovated Park Hyatt Hotel in the city’s downtown core, featured an evening of networking and connections between industry colleagues and fellow professionals to share best practices and learning experiences.
In addition, a robust speaker lineup, included a “Navigating the Spa Industry: Overcoming Staffing Challenges and Developing Effective Compensation Strategies” Q&A Panel Discussion, as well as a “Top Innovative Spa Treatment” demonstration by Spa Phiane.
And, rounding out the evening, Spa Inc.’s Canadian Spa and Wellness Awards honoured and celebrated the top spas from across the country during a gala presentation.
Don’t miss full coverage of the event in the Summer issue of Spa Inc.
SALT THERAPY ASSOCIATION LAUNCHES
NEW INDUSTRY STANDARDS
The Salt Therapy Association (STA) — the world’s largest non-profit organization for providers and consumers of salt therapy — recently announced the launch of its Salt Therapy Industry Standards (STIS).
The standards, which have been developed in order to provide a baseline for implementation and marketing, are meant to ensure consumers receive evidence-based salt therapy and, as Leo Tonkin, one of STA’s founding members points out, “to educate the industry on the importance of adhering to consistent standards that maintain the industry’s integrity.”
STIS include the following:
• Dry salt therapy (halotherapy) can only be provided by utilizing a professional-quality halogenerator.
• Salt particle size emitted from the halogenerator must be 5 microns or less (the smaller the better.)
• Halotherapy can only be provided in an enclosed space to contain the salt particles in the area.
• Proper ventilation is required in the space to ensure proper air exchange.
• The length of a session is determined by the cubic volume of air space in the enclosed chamber, from 10 to 45 minutes or longer.
• The only salt to be used in a halogenerator is 99.99% pure-grade dry pharmaceutical/medical sodium chloride.
• Himalayan salt used on walls or floors, or as an architectural or décor element does not provide any direct respiratory health benefits.
• Never claim salt therapy is a “cure” or “healing” agent for any condition.
For more information about the standards, visit SaltTherapyAssociation.org.
Aurora Spa & Bathhouse promises an experience like no other
Langley, B.C., recently became home to one of the most luxurious spas in the country with the opening of the Aurora Spa & Bathhouse in December 2022.
Consisting of eight unique treatment rooms, the spa is equipped to accommodate singles and couples visitors and offers an array of treatments and services, including massages, detoxifying body wraps, facials and exfoliation, as well as pregnancy treatments, to name a few.
The bathhouse, which was developed around the philosophies and practices of ancient European curative water therapies,
provides guests with the regenerative qualities of temperature contrast therapy within a traditional bathing experience.
The Aurora Spa & Bathhouse also offers wellness coaching and mindfulness and meditation, which are led by the spa’s founder, Lyndall Mitchell, and delivered by an expert team of coaches, aimed at empowering guests with positivity, and providing them with greater clarity and conviction, in order to support their overall well-being. For more information about the Aurora Spa & Bathhouse, visit AuroraSpa.com.au.
GUERLAIN SPA IN MONTRÉAL RECOGNIZED FOR EXCELLENCE
It might be one of the city’s best-kept secrets, but the Guerlain Spa, located at Montreal’s Four Seasons Hotel, was recently recognized for its excellence by Forbes magazine.
Awarded five stars out of five by Forbes, the Guerlain Spa features eight treatment rooms, including a couples suite, and offers Montréal’s only Kneipp Hydrotherapy experience, a steam room and infrared sauna, and a spa concierge team, as well as a team of expert wellness advisors. In addition, the spa also houses an indoor pool equipped with an upstream current generator and relaxation area.
The Four Seasons Hotel itself also received a complete five out of five stars from Forbes, making the hotel and spa the only Forbes Ten-Star property in the province.
For more information about the Guerlain Spa and the Four Seasons Hotel Montréal, , visit FourSeasons.com/Montreal/Spa.
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Spa industry shiftingBY CHRIS RYALL
Let there be pampering. This was the rallying cry at most spas, especially those in North America, concerning the ways in which they chose to market themselves to consumers when the industry was in its infancy. Luxurious, over-the-top treatments were the focus du jour.
There is nothing inherently wrong with this. And many spas still feature pampering-style treatments. Who doesn’t want to make themselves look good or be relaxed in these stressful times?
There hasn’t been a seismic shift in
how most spas operate today, but there has been a positive change to offer more treatments and activities addressing women’s mental and body health.
Show me the facts
The Global Wellness Summit (GWS) released its annual trends report for 2023 in January. One of the 12 trends predicted was dubbed "From 'Clean' to Biotech Beauty." Past dubious and exaggerated claims around “clean beauty” products have shifted to data and science-based products. Today’s consumer is more educated and
to a more health benefit- and science-based approach to women’s wellness
There hasn’t been a seismic shift in how most spas operate today, but there has been a positive change to offer more treatments and activities addressing women’s mental and body health.
Spas can be a hub to provide much-needed physical and emotional support.
demands transparency and honesty about products and treatments.
Amy McDonald, CEO of Under Tree, a leading spa consulting firm based in Tucson, Ariz., has worked with numerous spas and resorts and says that, “The spa industry has had to evolve, and consumers are wanting more bang for their buck.” This includes learning about the science behind claims and benefits. Driven primarily by widespread shortages of staff, spas are set to be significantly impacted, influencing the ways in which they will operate in the
future, with an emphasis on technology and social wellness.
Wellness programming for women
Kathryn Gallagher, chair of Leading Spas of Canada, says there is a trend toward overall health from both the mental and physical perspectives. “Particularly for women entering the menopause phase of life, there’s a focus on finding ways to address physical changes of appearance, weight gain, loss of muscle mass, energy, sleeplessness,
and sex drive,” she says, adding that helping to address the mental aspects of health and wellness are just as important as addressing the physical aspects.
Menopause, like other health issues, is finally coming out of the closet and women don’t need to feel alone. Spas can be a hub to provide much-needed physical and emotional support.
The GWS expects that the menopause wellness economy will exceed US$600 billion by 2025. In that same year it’s estimated that over one billion women worldwide will be perimenopausal.
That’s an emerging market not to ignore. Answering the call to target women’s needs at midlife transition, spa resorts like Canyon Ranch and Lake Austin Spa Resort and others offer treatments to help address symptoms associated with perimenopause and menopause.
Wellness retreats and treatments
Viviana Quesada, corporate director of wellness & spas for The Pearle Hotel in Burlington, Ont., offers two services that are beneficial for women during the
menopause phases. The Eternal Glow Facial uses BIOFECT bioidentical EGF (epidermal growth factor) proteins because, during menopause, this depletes at a rapid pace. Supplementing these proteins helps keep the signalling of collagen and elastin to regulate skin during hormonal fluctuations. Their Eternal Glow Body Treatment has similar results, activating the EGF proteins and assists in circulation to
provide, a stronger skin barrier and smoother and softer skin.
Lake Austin Spa Resort in Austin, Texas, offers a variety of wellnessrelated programs, including one on menopause to other sessions run by Maria Carbonell, an Ayurvedic practitioner who conducts sensual and sexual vitality sessions.
Canyon Ranch has been an innovator in medically based treatments and is offering a program specific to menopause in the fall of 2023. They currently provide a range of wellness immersive programs.
Lake Austin Spa Resort in Austin, Texas, offers a variety of wellnessrelated programs, including one on menopause.
“Hormonal shifts can bring about significant temperature-related and sleep-related challenges,” says Allison Howard, founder and CEO of U.S.-based Nollapelli, which manufactures innovative cooling bedding materials. Howard is co-chair of the Sleep Initiative at the Global Wellness Institute. The company has partnered with Fairmont Century Plaza Spa in Los Angeles to offer a biohacking treatment that helps regulate sleep, promotes the body’s natural reparative, functions, and adapts to prevent hot flash triggers.
A changing landscape
The Canadian spa industry, just as every other industry across the country, has undergone an extraordinary amount of change and evolution over the course of the past three years or so. And, in light of these changes, spas need to adapt their services, leveraging more science and data to support them, while continuing to provide an oasis of relaxation and well-being. Those that are able to achieve this will differentiate themselves from their competitors and satisfy the needs of today’s savvy spa-goer.
Seizing the opportunity around women’s wellness
Today’s spa-goer is savvy with higher expectations. This is a perfect opportunity for spas to increase their market share while addressing the specific needs of women.
How can spas adapt?
REVIEW your treatment descriptions on your website and brochures. Reduce flowery language and focus on fact-based benefits.
RESEARCH product brands before offering at at your spa insist on science-based data on claims.
TRAIN staff (including reception, as they are the first point of contact) on the benefits and the science behind the products and treatments.
TRAIN staff to communicate benefits to clients.
HIGHLIGHT benefits on small tent cards or labels beside products in your retail section.
ORGANIZE special event sessions for women only on wellness-related topics and invite key professionals to give presentations.
To your health!BY SEAN TARRY
As we exit, slowly but hopefully, surely, out of the pandemic environment and into a post-pandemic era, Canadians are increasingly placing significantly more emphasis on improving their physical and mental health and well-being. As a result, spas and other hospitality facilities across the country are beginning to take note, enhancing their treatments and services and innovating to arrive at more effective results for their guests, particularly when it comes to improving the health of women. With this in mind, here are three spas offering treatments that help to augment women’s wellness.
Breast care treatments
For most women, breast tenderness or pain is experienced at one point or another in their lives. The tenderness or pain can be brought on by a number of different reasons, including breast disease or injury, premenstrual symptoms (which can involve tenderness and swelling), as well as symptoms related to post-surgical procedures (such as reductions and biopsies), to name a few.
Despite the cause of the tenderness or pain, Spa Utopia in
British Columbia offers its guests a range of therapeutic massages that have been developed to improve the blood and lymphatic circulation to the breast, resulting in the enhanced blood flow that’s so critical to tissue nourishment and lymphatic flow, which is an important factor in ridding the body of harmful toxins.
The spa’s website says that the facility’s goal is to “decrease pain and tenderness, improve the mobility of scar tissue and to lower the risk of breast disease.” To do so, before treatment is undergone, visitors to the spa receive a consultation with a senior registered massage therapist who will help develop the most appropriate breast care treatment plan, which will be administered by a practitioner who has a minimum of 1,000 hours of clinical practice experience and has successfully completed advanced training in breast care.
For more information about Spa Utopia and its breast care treatments, visit SpaUtopia.ca.
The power of pedicures
For those suffering with diabetes, a little bit of love for the feet might be just what the doctor ordered. According to Curafoot — a leading pediatric care clinic — a pedicure, applied
Exploring the latest in spa treatments and services specific to the betterment of women’s health and wellness
by experts in a professional environment, can do wonders to help the body better process blood sugar by helping to increase insulin absorption within the body.
The clinic, which is run by pediatric specialists, offers a range of services, from consultations with doctors and medical pedicures to sports injury assessments, and works with visitors to find treatments and products that can help improve their foot care.
More importantly, however, for those suffering with diabetes, CuraFoot also specializes in diabetic foot assessments, which include an examination for corns, calluses, and changes in foot shape; tests for numbness or changes in sensation; questions about diabetes management and foot care; assessment of footwear to ensure it is not contributing toward any problems; and
Rejuvenation and relaxation
One of the most often overlooked aspects of ensuring one’s overall health and wellness is providing the opportunity to find mindfulness through rejuvenating relaxation. At Sweetgrass Spa, it’s what its experience is centred around.
Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, within an elegantly restored 19th-century building, the women-only spa offers a plethora of treatments and services aimed at relaxing visitors, providing them with a luxurious and peaceful space where they can unwind and find the peace and mindfulness they not only crave, but require.
The spa’s services — which include facials, massages, manicures, pedicures, and more — have received numerous awards, and promise to cater to visitors’ every need.
For more information about the Sweetgrass Spa and its services, visit SweetGrassSpa.ca
Taking the waters to health and wellness
Centuries-old water therapies are central to Body Blitz Spa’s unique services and offeringBY SEAN TARRY
The calming, healing, therapeutic properties of water have been realized for millennia by people all over the world and put into practice to help bring about a greater sense of health and well-being within individuals. However, few today can claim to have taken the unique style of treatment to heart quite like Body Blitz Spa.
Located in downtown Toronto, the facility preserves the centuries-old European tradition of “Taking the Waters” in order to promote health and well-being. As an urban spa, Body Blitz Spa is the only women-only spa in the city that offers a therapeutic waters
circuit that includes a Dead Sea salt pool, cold plunge, Epsom salt pool, infrared sauna, and eucalyptus steam room. It’s a range of water-oriented treatments that stand the spa apart from its counterparts in and around Toronto. And, according to Laura Polley, the spa’s president and CEO, it’s a range of treatments that serve to satisfy a host of different needs and desires.
“Our mission is to continue making a positive impact on women’s lives by providing natural solutions for health, well-being, and looking and feeling good,” she says. “This is achieved through our therapeutic waters circuit, spa treatments, and massages. Guests visit Body Blitz Spa for many reasons, and we
respect this by not aligning ourselves with other health and wellness concepts. For example, guests may visit us to obtain relief from physical ailments, muscle fatigue, and injuries. They may want to ease emotional stress, disconnect from external distractions, deeply relax, feel good, or simply get a good night’s sleep. Or, they may come with family or friends to laugh, socialize, and catch up."
Range of treatments
In addition to the many reasons that might drive visitors to the Body Blitz Spa, Polley says the treatments that they are seeking are also as widely varied.
“The Body Blitz Spa, Health by Water concept provides natural solutions for physical and psychological health and well-being," she explains. “The therapeutic waters circuit is the core of our concept, and this has not changed since we opened our first spa in 2005. However, we have seen a growth in women putting importance on their health and wellness. We have also seen a shift in guests having body treatments for an added level of relaxation and pampering, to also include looking after their skin’s health. Our body scrubs, muds, and glows are designed to improve skin's health by removing dead skin cells, hydrating and nourishing skin, and calming and soothing irritation. Skin looks brighter and rejuvenated. However, massage is a timeless treatment, and again, we’ve seen a growth in clients understanding the importance and benefits of having a massage.”
Polley goes on to explain that the spa is also currently in the process of designing two facial treatments as a result of overwhelming demand. These facials, however, will differ from the traditional facials offered at Blitz Facial Bar, and will be designed to align with the body treatments offered. In addition, they will also take into consideration the skin’s condition due to prior use of the therapeutic waters circuit.
The body treatments that Polley refers to, which include mud, scrub, and glow treatments, are Korean-style inspired and also incorporate water therapy in a way that further differentiates the Body Blitz offering.
“Unlike most other spas, our body treatments are performed in a wet room on a wet bed,” she says. “This means, the client does not have to walk to a shower to rinse off. Rather, our spa therapists use water from a spa-designed hose to rinse and wash off products after they treat the skin. This ritual includes the use of both warm water and a hands-on approach, which provides a nurturing element. Incorporating water into our body treatments adds an extra layer of relaxation, and the water provides a calming, soothing, and comforting component. All spa treatments and massages include use of the therapeutic waters circuit prior.”
Serene and relaxing environment
Complementing the spa’s unique offering, adds Polley, is the environment within the facility that’s been carefully curated to most effectively promote health and wellness among its visitors.
“With an open-concept communal pools area, and body treatment rooms that include a wet bed and spa-designed water hose, Body Blitz Spa doesn’t fall under the serene and luxury-spa type category,” she asserts. “Its design marries urban sophistication with casualness and functionality, inspired by a European-style waters spa.”
It’s also an environment where women can go in order to get away from the stresses of everyday life and seek out a refuge of sorts, finding peace in other women within a serene and relaxing atmosphere — a piece of the spa experience that Polley believes is lacking at most establishments within the industry.
“I think one of the most important things spa-goers are looking for is a place to tune out the outside world and stressrelated distractions, perhaps more so now than ever before,” she says. “We have a no-phone policy, which allows our guests to completely immerse in the experience and themselves. As a women-only spa, we also place a high importance on nurturing (women nurturing women), which, in my opinion, is another important element women are looking for in a spa experience. We have seen a growth in the importance of skin health, which is evident through our treatments. Body Blitz Spa also owns Blitz Facial Bar, and, as a result, there is an element of skin health crossover. And, we have also seen an increase in guests who are physically active and use the spa to relieve muscle tension and fatigue, reduce inflammation, and ease soreness associated with fitness.”
Everlasting power of water
Considering the suite of treatments that Body Blitz Spa provides its visitors, its success to date is not surprising. Nor is its commitment to continue down the same stream of thinking, perfecting the flow of its services. And it’s all, says Polley, focused on meeting the physical and mental health and wellbeing needs of women in Toronto and the surrounding area.
“As therapeutic waters spas have been around for thousands of years due to their numerous health and well-being benefits, we believe there will always be a need for this timeless concept. As such, we have no plans to change it. However, we continually look at ways to update, tweak, and improve our products and services because spa-goers are more educated on, and aware of, their physical and emotional health needs. As a result, we believe they will seek out natural solutions to address them.”
LEVERAGING THE DIGITAL WORLDBY SEAN TARRY
It can likely go without saying for most people working in the industry that operating a spa today can be tricky business. Creating an environment that helps meet the needs and desires of guests and keeping them engaged while attempting to figure out how to appeal to prospective visitors can be a daunting task on its own. However, given the recent accelerated digitization of the world around us, spa owners and operators can leverage the power of digital technologies to enhance their businesses and deliver exceptional experiences that will be remembered by those who receive them.
There are a whole number of ways in which technology can positively impact an operation. Here are five of the most powerful results that can be driven by the digitization of the traditional spa.
Collection of powerful data
Whenever you accept debit or credit card payment from a guest, or take online reservations for your services and products, you’re receiving a significant amount of data from the customer. If you’re
not capturing it for use, each transaction represents an opportunity lost to better inform your business and get closer to the customer. To bridge this gap, there’s a whole range of digital software that’s available and easily integrated into any existing POS, CRM, or inventory management software, opening up a whole new world of information and laying the foundation for endless possibility and opportunities. The collection of data does come with a legal requirement to govern it in accordance with existing data privacy laws. However, with an understanding of these laws and adherence to them, the sky’s the limit.
Once the data’s collected, analytics software can be leveraged to make sense of the information, helping to more easily glean insights from its output. Some of the most powerful insights are often centred around the guest, revealing patterns and tendencies that can allow business owners to better understand their customer and the experience or product they seek. It enables
greater personalization through pointed offers and enticements
— the type of service that today’s digital-savvy consumer is increasingly expecting from the brands and businesses that they shop and interact with. In order to show your guests that you care, it’s becoming more important to leverage the capabilities of technology to know them on a deeper, more personalized level.
A more seamless experience
In combination with the personalization of the journey and experience that a guest will enjoy with you, digital technologies can also help make that journey and experience much more convenient and seamless. Providing multiple channels through which your guests can communicate and interact with you will provide them with the choice and flexibility that they’re looking for. And allowing them to digitally manage their purchases, packages, and reservations empowers them, facilitating a relaxing and mindful trip to the spa, rather than an experience that’s bogged down by the friction of lineups and transactions.
The more channels you provide your guests to communicate and interact with you, the greater your engagement will be with them, enabling a significant and valuable amount of pre- and post-visit dialogue. It also helps spa owners and operators understand the ways by which their guests prefer to communicate with them and the ways they are most likely to be receptive to messaging, arming, and honing marketing efforts and strategies. This is where a confluence of data-informed personalization and an understanding of the customer can prove to be a substantial differentiator for any business.
Ensuring that all online materials and sources, including websites and multimedia, be developed as mobile-friendly content is becoming critically important. Ever-increasing adoption of smartphones among the general public means that it’s imperative to be accessible and legible on mobile screens, lest you miss the opportunity of being in the palm of consumers’ hands all day and night. Allowing for an experience on mobile that’s at least halfway consistent with the experience provided online and in person will go a long way toward engendering a trust with consumers, keeping you top of their minds when it comes to their next spa trip.
Enabling your business with the right technologies, digitally transforming your operations and offering, allows for more informed business and marketing decisions, creates greater internal efficiencies in processes, and ultimately increases the profitability of your spa, serving as a platform for further growth, success, and customer acquisition.
MAINTAINING an environment of WELLNESSBY SEAN TARRY
Achieving the age-old art of peace and serenity within today’s spa
There are many spas throughout the country offering a kaleidoscope of treatments meant to support the facilitation of a range of comfort and relaxation levels. From facials and pedicures to water therapy techniques and massages, each spa’s menu and suite of services is often catered to meet the relaxation needs of the visitor. However, just as important as the services and treatments that are developed and offered within a spa is the care and consideration paid to maintaining its facilities, ensuring an environment and surrounding that nurtures and best promotes health and well-being.
Ensuring a healthy experience
It’s a commitment that’s taken incredibly seriously by operators of the Scandinave
Spa, which has locations in MontTremblant, Vieux-Montréal, Whistler, and Blue Mountain in Collingwood, Ont. Each is impeccably maintained, offering guests picturesque outdoor surroundings and sets of indoor and outdoor facilities that are pristinely cared for and upkept to the highest standards. The work that’s involved in achieving this is immense. And, as Mylisa Henderson, director of marketing and sales at the spa, points out, because the Scandinave Spa locations are open all year-round, combined with the experience that the spa provides, ensuring proper maintenance on their grounds is paramount.
“At Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain, exploration is a big part of the experience,” she explains. “Providing guests with wellmaintained indoor and outdoor facilities
means that throughout the year, in any weather conditions, there are enough spaces to relax, rejuvenate, and embrace our natural surroundings. We prioritize a regular schedule for maintenance and refurbishment to ensure our facilities are safe, but also to demonstrate to our guests that we are committed to providing a quality product throughout the entire year. Guests have peace of mind knowing they can trust their surroundings and the integrity of our spa experience.”
Featuring indoor massage facilities and spaciously designed changerooms, the spa also boasts a eucalyptus steam bath, Finnish sauna, infrared sauna, and beautiful outdoor thermal baths. And, for the peak of mindfulness and relaxation,
there are also solariums, as well as hammocks, Muskoka chairs, and loungers situated around roaring outdoor fireplaces. Ensuring that each element of the Scandinave Blue Mountain experience meets the expectations of visitors requires an ongoing cleaning and sanitization schedule, leaf and snow removal equipment, and personnel. And, when something out of the ordinary might occur, Henderson says that the spa is able to count on the dedicated services of its longstanding local partners who are on call to address anything outside of routine maintenance.
Upholding peace of mind
Henderson goes on to explain that because ensuring the guest experience — which includes an element of escape and peace of mind, surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature — is the No. 1 priority for the staff at Scandinave Blue Mountain, there’s an
etiquette attached to the maintenance of the grounds and facility. An etiquette meant to uphold the experience for guests while providing them with the supreme cleanliness and groomed aesthetics with each and every visit.
“One of our ongoing challenges we experience when maintaining our facilities is working on and completing maintenance, upgrades, and new projects without interrupting our guests’ experience,” she says. “So, many initiatives have to happen after-hours. And, as a result, many also take longer to complete because we value the integrity of the experience for all guests.”
In fact, each Scandinave Spa location throughout the country provides a quality guarantee to its guests centred around a commitment to providing a safe and healthy spa experience. In order to support
this commitment, Henderson says the spa at Blue Mountain is constantly investing with an aim to consistently modernize, refresh, and improve the overall quality of its daily operations and to ensure the guest experience remains the spa’s top priority and area of focus.
One example of the ongoing upgrades and after-hours projects that Henderson refers to was just completed at Blue Mountain — the installation of a new, more energy-efficient mechanical system for the outdoor thermal baths, which includes state-of-the-art heat trace and snow melt systems — and will surely be appreciated by the spa’s throngs of visitors.
More to come
Henderson says that Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain is actively exploring further upgrades to its grounds, facilities, and overall guest experience that it offers, suggesting that the spa’s maintenance schedule is set to be fully booked for some time to come.
“We are planning more outdoor spaces for guests to relax and discover in 2023 and beyond. As well, over the next two years, all six outdoor pools will be resurfaced and refurbished. In addition, over the next three years, interior spaces in our main reception building, as well as the massage pavilion, will be updated and refreshed.”
The Scandinave Spa Blue is constantly investing with an aim to consistently modernize, refresh, and improve the overall quality of its daily operations.
Spa Eastman’s Tonic Cuisine®: gastronomy and well-beingBY MARJOLAINE GRENIER
As a pioneer in the wellness industry (and recognized in 2022 as the “Best Wellness Retreat in Canada”), Spa Eastman has been, since 1977, demonstrating the vital role that food plays in contributing to good health and well-being. Based on solid, scientific research, the spa's team has developed Tonic Cuisine® — a gastronomic experience that does not mean sacrificing taste or pleasure.
Cuisine that does you good
The magic of this cuisine lies in the many health benefits that are observable in the short to long term. In addition to allowing the body to reach a healthier microbiota and maintain the immune system at an optimal level, there are the following tangible outcomes:
• Increased energy level
• Reduced inflammation
• Better sleep patterns
• More efficient weight management
• Lower risk of getting cancer
When the science inspires the gastronomy
Tonic Cuisine® was inspired by numerous international works. Foremost among them was the research of Dr. Seignalet.
Seignalet was a French researcher, doctor, surgeon, and rheumatologist. His research is based on the following premise: the majority of our health problems are caused by an intestine that has become too permeable and that lets molecules through (undigested food particles, bacteria, toxins, pathogens) into our blood. As these molecules should not end up there, our immune system perceives them as foreign bodies and goes into defence mode, which leads to inflammation. At first, this inflammation is “silent”, but then degenerates to cause different health problems, including headaches, painful menstruation, arthritis, osteoarthritis, cancer, and more.
In order to demonstrate his premise, Seignalet prescribed a specific diet to more than 2,500 patients (for whom the treatments for their diseases were not giving the expected effects) suffering from some 115 different diseases. This diet was based on topquality products and consists mainly of foods that have not been
The Spa Eastman kitchen is run by chef and nutritherapist Jean-Marc Enderlin, who also specializes in raw food and hypotoxic (gluten- and dairy-free) cuisine. A graduate of the European Centre for Research, Development and Education in Nutritherapy at Brussels, Enderlin has worked in various restaurants around the world, including in Switzerland, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Greece, and Belgium. He was also kitchen manager of the famous Restaurant TAN in Brussels before settling at Eastman in 2012. For 10 years, his knowledge and experience has guided the culinary’s mission; namely, to create a cuisine that is just as gastronomic as it is healthy.
genetically modified, preferably organic, with as little processing involved as possible. It also relies on foods without gluten or dairy products, which are difficult for the body to assimilate. The animal proteins that that comprise it are cooked at low temperatures to avoid the production of glycotoxins which are responsible for inflammation. The work of Dr. Seignalet spanned over 20 years and the results were spectacular in terms of remission. More than 91 (out of 115) diseases have shown a positive response to the diet.
Many other doctors inspired Spa Eastman, including Dr. Catherine Kousmine and her book Soyez bien dans votre assiette jusqu’à 80 ans et plus; Dr. Thomas Seyfried and his work Cancer as a Metabolic Disease; Dr. Barry Sears, author of Zone; and Dr. Jacqueline Lagacé, immunologist and microbiologist and author of Comment j’ai vaincu la douleur et l’inflammation chronique par l’alimentation, each inspiring the eight principles of Tonic Cusinie®.
• Priority given to local products, preferably organic, high quality, and unprocessed
• No dairy products
• Cooking animal proteins at low temperature
• Low in carbohydrates (sugars)
• High content of quality lipids (good fats)
• Inclusion of lacto-fermentations
• Inclusion of shoots and sprouts
No sacrificing taste
Even before taking into consideration the many ways in which it can boost your well-being, Tonic Cusinie® seduces you through the creative way it is presented on the plate. The appetizing menus alone are both tempting and visually appealing.
At Spa Eastman, guests enjoy three Tonic Cusinie® menus a day. The day always starts off on the right foot with a tasty breakfast. Its six-course menu selection includes as many surprising vegetarian experiences as it does delicious meat and fish dishes. If you have a sweet tooth, you can satisfy your taste buds with buckwheat pancakes and caramelized apples, vanilla coconut cream and roasted almonds. Those whose tastes run more to savoury, can choose avocado toast, salmon gravlax, cashew cheese, and cherry tomatoes.
After a morning of connecting with your inner self and with nature, and perhaps indulging in some treatments, it’s time to enjoy
The work of Dr. Seignalet spanned over 20 years and the results were spectacular in terms of remission. More than 91 (out of 115) diseases have shown a positive response to the diet.
round two. And lunch is just as tasty as breakfast. The most discerning gourmets will have no argument with the tender poultry and meat dishes, such as the succulent flank steak with Cajun spices served with puréed squash and celeriac, or the fresh fish and seafood, not to mention the richly flavoured vegetarian dishes.
In the dining room, clients can choose from a number of options. They can enjoy a memorable meal, dining on their own, looking out over majestic Mount Orford. Or, if they’re travelling with another person and want to chat one on one, they can then sit at a table for two. Those who enjoy company can opt to join a table with fellow guests. Stimulating conversation is sure to follow — not least about the local-fresh cuisine. During the sunny season, guests can also be seated outside on the terrace.
The day ends on a high note with the evening menu. Six colourful dishes and a suggestion from the chef rounds out the gastronomic experience. Among the choices, diners typically find marinated giant prawns on a bisque of shellfish with cashew cream, brown rice noodles, vegetable tagliatelle, raw oil flavoured with paprika and dill, or the exquisite cauliflower roasted Tandoori style with button mushrooms, acorn squash, and pesto.
The taste of social connection
Many studies show how social connections yield positive benefits concerning physical and mental health. As technologies continue to reshape the way we connect with one another, more and more people around the world are feeling lonely and isolated. The restaurant offers a friendly table as a way to foster authentic, supportive, and meaningful relationships. Experts, employees, and guests can share a meal together and chat about their wellness journey. Many friendships are born at this table.
Canada's best wellness retreat
Ever since 1977, Spa Eastman has been offering unique programs that have earned it international recognition as one of the leading spas in the world. A pioneer in the wellness industry, the spa offers packages and all-inclusive “retreats” that allow guests to recharge their batteries and to escape the daily grind, in a gentle, pleasurable manner. The overarching themes of the spa’s offerings are how to achieve a balanced lifestyle and the importance of following good health practices. In addition to the renowned Tonic Cuisine®, guests will interact with dedicated professionals (naturopathy, kinesiology); enjoy innovative, focused therapies (more than 40 body treatments using natural products); attend mind-and-body workshops and activities; and boost their energy by using the thermotherapy facilities and exploring 15 kilometres of nature trails — all amid a stunning, natural environment where well-being is front and centre.
A Beautiful Destination
Spa Eastman is located in the heart of the beautiful Eastern Townships, only a short drive from Montréal. It’s a region known for its breathtaking views, lush rolling hills, crystal-clear lakes, and small, family-run farms. Les Cantonsde-l’Est (as it’s known in French) starts 80 kilometres southeast of Montréal and sprawls across endless picturesque landscapes, not far from the New England states of Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire.
TRUE BOTANICALS Chebula Active Serum
A hydrating anti-aging serum that helps fight visible signs of aging while supporting your skin barrier. One of the most bioactive and powerful antioxidants that nature has to offer, chebula, an Ayurvedic fruit, helps to target five signs of aging by minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, visibly balancing skin tone, and smoothing roughness, providing the look of firmer and brighter skin.
100% PURE Multi-Vitamin + Antioxidants Ultra Riché Treatment
This ultra-rich multivitamin and antioxidant night cream helps to fight the signs of aging through its special formula, which includes correcting vitamin C and reparative vitamin A. Applied nightly, the cream helps to combat daily damage of the skin, soften and moisturize, and restore youthful suppleness and glow.
A seaweed-infused gel cleanser, containing a pH-balanced formula, wakes up your skin and senses. It removes everything from surface impurities to excess oils, gently exfoliating to unclog pores without stripping skin, delivering mineral-rich hydration that results in a noticeably radiant complexion.
COCOKIND Raspberry Vinegar Toner
This revolutionary toner uses antioxidant-rich raspberry vinegar to help brighten, cleanse, and pH-balance skin. Useful for anyone, the Raspberry Vinegar Toner is particularly beneficial for those who might have oily or blemishprone skin. Simply spritz the toner onto a cotton pad and gently apply to the face or other oily or blemished areas.
ONE LOVE ORGANICS Brand New Day Microderma Scrub & Masque
A new formula has been introduced to this classic scrub and masque, reimagining it as a cream application. Delivering plant-powered exfoliation without stripping the skin, this hybrid scrub-masque clears, congestion, enhances skin clarity and softens the complexion for a flawless, touchable finish. Made using tropical enzymes and polishing minerals, impurities are extracted, refining the appearance of pores.
URSA MAJOR Making Moves Milky Cleanser
Daily cleanses will never be the same with this rejuvenating, nonfoaming, enzyme-powered facial milk. Even the driest skin will become hydrated, nourished, and refreshed, providing a complete clean and residue-free rinse every time.
HERBIVORE MOON DEW 1% Bakuchiol + Peptides Retinol Alternative Firming Eye Cream
This plant-based retinol alternative eye cream smooths, firms, and tightens the appearance of eyes in no time at all. With 1% bakuchiol and plant peptides, the cream significantly reduces the appearance of wrinkles and eye creases. And, as an ultra-hydrating product, it layers seamlessly with makeup.
REED + GWEN Supercharged Reishi Body Melt
Combining adaptogenic reishi mushrooms, hyaluronic acid, and vegan ceramides, this body melt has been developed to provide an intense moisturization. Transforming upon application from a soft balm to a silky oil, this incredibly effective formula results in velvety smooth skin.
Stem Cellular AntiWrinkle Moisturizer
Made with certified organic ingredients and formulated without the use of potentially harmful ingredients, this luxuriously hydrating moisturizer leverages a proprietary blend of fruit stem cells and vitamin C infused into a resveratrol-rich grape formula to help significantly reduce the appearance of fine lines and
WELL PEOPLE Dew Your Makeup Mist 3-in1 Setting Spray
This three-in-one hydrating makeup setting spray does wonders to prime, set, and revitalize the skin, leaving a beautifully dewy finish. Enriched with plant-based ingredients including aloe vera, snow mushroom, and willow bark, its remarkable hydrating qualities soothe and balance the skin, providing an energizing boost throughout the day.
NATUROPATHICA Oat Cleansing Facial Polish
This three-in-one cleanser, scrub, and masque provides skin with a noticeably soft, supply, and radiant appearance. Dry skin is swept away by soothing oats and exfoliating jojoba beads, eradicating impurities. For a deeper cleanse, blend the Oat Cleansing Facial Polish with a splash of water, place hands over the nose and mouth, breathe deeply to allow the benefits of aromatherapy to relax the mind, and use gentle pressure to lightly massage polish onto damp skin in small circles.
WELEDA Skin Food Face Care Nourishing Oil-to-Milk Cleanser
Starting as a gentle oil, this special formula transforms into a soft, milky cleanser as it's rinsed clean, removing dirt and impurities from your skin. Formulated with vegan-friendly ingredients and nutrient-rich sunflower seed oil, this nourishing cleanser works to replenish, maintaining moisture levels while effectively melting away makeup, dirt, and daily skin stressors.
MARION LE GALL UPHOLDING THE ART OF BEAUTY
Director of the Guerlain Spa in Toronto talks about the challenges and opportunities inherent in providing an exceptional spa experienceBY SEAN TARRY
Guerlain Spa at Hotel X Toronto is dedicated to providing its visitors with the utmost in beauty and well-being. It’s a dedication that’s evident within its scope of service, which includes its signature treatments such as the imperial rejuvenation, honey repair, or black orchid rejuvenation, in addition to body treatments, personalized facials, massage rituals, hand and foot treatments, and more. And, tucked away inside a tranquil and private setting, visitors are soothed by relaxing music while their senses are aroused and their mind are calmed before a beauty consultant helps them select an olfactory theme to further add to the peacefulness and serenity of the environment.
It might sound like some sort of sensorial paradise. And, according to Marion Le Gall, director of spa, it very much is, adding that it’s a major point of pride for her and her dedicated staff to be able to consistently provide this type of luxurious and
pamper-centric experience for their guests. Le Gall recently sat down with Spa Inc. to discuss the very latest at Guerlain Spa, the challenges in sustaining such high levels of service, and what the future might have in store for its loyal guests.
Spa Inc.: In it's short time operating within the Toronto market, the Guerlain Spa at Hotel X has already developed a reputation for providing exceptional service and an experience unmatched by most spas. What can visitors expect when they visit?
Marion Le Gall: Guerlain Spa at Hotel X Toronto invites guests on a unique sensorial journey dedicated to beauty and well-being. Inside a unique boutique spa, soothed by relaxing music and a stunning view of the lake, the mind is calmed. Before each treatment, our experts ask each guest to choose their own olfactory theme to create an atmosphere of relaxation and serenity. This theme helps encourage gentle relaxation and serenity to ensure the journey to well-being is enjoyed to the fullest. A complete menu with a top-to-toe experience includes our exclusive brand, Guerlain, which is used to enhance every touch and every move within a complete set of holistic treatments. Our lovely visitors-either hotel guests, locals, or members — can choose between multi-sensitive experiences for either man or woman, and targeted treatments, all truly exceptional revivals for the body and mind. Our mission is to service every guest with an unmatched experience, providing them with the most fulfilling and enjoyable spa visit possible. We want guests to embrace our mindful and holistic journeys and have full satisfaction.
SI: So much has changed over the course of the past three years, including shifts related to the market and consumer behaviour. With these shifts in mind, what, in your estimation, needs to be the top consideration for spa operators — in 2023?
MLG: Personalizing the guest experience is paramount to us. It’s a commitment that aligns with Guerlain’s pillars of luxury, elegance, and customization, and providing an exceptional offering that caters to each client’s individual needs. This involves a certain level of intuitive service in order to address the client’s needs well before they even think of requesting anything. By leveraging the right kind of technology to ensure this kind of personalization inside the very best end-to-end, completely fabulous experience, we can provide a truly stress-free, seamless visit for all of our guests, meeting — and even exceeding — their expectations.
SI: How has Guerlain Spa managed to uphold such high levels of service? How important are the staff of the spa's staff in achieving these standards?
MLG: We concentrate on the treatment at hand, and our lovely boutique spa will offer guests with the privacy and serenity that they crave. Our brand, techniques, and savoir faire is a commitment to total well-being. In order to maintain this philosophy, we need to constantly enhance our knowledge and skills, improving as professionals and consistently becoming better at what we do. To support this, we invest in ongoing training. We have our own online app with quiz challenges. Knowledge is very key, as well as having a full-time trainer on-site as the chief of quality. But we
also concentrate on our staff members’ overall well-being to ensure that the person looking after our guests is also well. They are the most important element of our experience, allowing us to provide the highest possible standards and quality for our guests.
SI: Looking ahead to the next one to three years, what does Guerlain Spa have planned for its guests?
MLG: Our Guerlain Spa has lots in store for our guests. From our loyalty program and settings to our facilities, retreats, and new elevated treatments, we are always looking at being the place to go for a break, and to also become a regular escape destination for guests.