I haven’t had the opportunity to get away for a vacation for quite sometime because of a new business venture, so I decided to visit Ste. Anne’s Spa with my dear friend, Erica Ehm, as a mini-vacation of sorts.
Ste. Anne’s Spa is about ninety minutes east of Toronto along the 401 Highway. Situated on 500 acres of beautiful farmland and forested area, this all-inclusive destination spa seemed like just the right place to spend a weekend away. I packed my yoga gear, flip flops, and a bottle of wine and prepared to be taken care of for twenty-four glorious hours.
As a first-timer, I learned some valuable tips about visiting Ste. Anne's Spa, which I'd like to share with you:
You can arrange ahead of time to arrive there earlier than the check-in time. The staff will hold onto your bags and take those into the room when it is ready. Be sure to pack a separate bag with what you'd like to have to visit the pools, steam room, and lounge areas -- they've got lockers that you can put your valuables into while your room is being prepared. We got there around 2pm, which I found I needed to decompress from the earlier part of the day but also to have extra time to experience everything. There is quite a lot to do (or not do!) so having more time is better.
Ste. Anne Spa is along the 401 Highway between Toronto and Kingston, so I suggest thinking about a good time of day to travel when traffic through the GTA (if you are in that area) is light. I live in London, ON, and because of a surprising stretch of good weather in January, we decided to drive there – I picked my friend up in Toronto along the way. You can actually take a VIA train to Ste. Anne’s Spa, which I know some of my friends from London have done. The spa staff picks you right up from the train station! Next time I'm going to take the train because I felt the three hour drive Sunday night didn't help me hold all the rejuvenation and relaxation I had accumulated from being there.
When I first walked in the door, the sight of adults wandering around in robes and slippers surprised me. There were robed people in the lounge rooms, boutique, and even the dining area. Seeing that set the tone for a wonderfully relaxing two days. They handed us a robe and information in a tote bag, which was a helpful thing to have. I used that bag the whole weekend and love looking at it here at home. The Ste. Anne’s Spa experience isn’t pretentious one: it has more of a country-feel. The motto, spa hair, don’t care was certainly being upheld by us and the majority of the other guests. I loved that I could roll out of my massage treatment with a hilarious massage-face right into dinner.
Do make sure you bring your slippers or sandals and a bathing suit.
Erica caught this picture of me heading down to the locker room area just after we arrived:
The food at Ste. Anne's Spa was absolutely amazing! There wasn't one thing that I ate that I didn't love. Erica and I decided to have afternoon tea at 3pm before our spa services, which was a wonderful idea. Sitting in a restaurant in a robe feels like such a silly and rebellious thing to do! I remember looking around and seeing smiling people everywhere in this restaurant, which was so lovely. This is certainly a place with a positive feel.
The property is not a licensed facility, but you are able to walk around with and consume alcohol on the premise. The staff were so good at offering fridge space and table-side chillers for our white wines., which was very much appreciated. We didn't need any snacks at all because we ate so much at meals times but I imagine that if you'd like some popcorn or chips at night, you'd need to remember to bring those with you.
We stayed in the Main Inn, in the "Cathedral Room."
There are a large number of services, treatments, relaxation areas, wellness classes, and excursions available. Some of these like the yoga or stretch classes need to be booked ahead of time. I made the mistake of not reading through the site well enough before my trip and was surprised on the day I was leaving that I had missed out on some things I would have liked to try (like the guided walk).
Erica and I spent our two days moving from one lounge area to another in between booked spa treatments, yoga classes, plunges in the various pools, and visits to the eucalyptus steam room.
Both Erica and I had a signature facial, which we highly recommend. In addition to receiving a facial treatment, we got a hand, foot, and scalp massages. I loved how my entire body felt after that experience.
The spa has created a line of skin care products based on plants they actually grow on the premises, which they use in the facial treatments. It’s wonderful knowing that plants, like the roses, in the products come from their beautiful gardens. These skin care products are actually given to you in the rooms to use while you are there. I loved the body lotion (called “hydrating lotion”) so much, I wanted to eat it! I bought a 1L size of that to take home with me along with most of the facial products. The products are available online so you can replenish them when you run out!
I have already been using a high quality skin care line because keeping my forty-six-year-old face (mostly) wrinkle-free as long as I can is important to me. The immediate difference I’m noticing between my old skin care system and the one I brought back from Ste. Anne’s Spa is the beautiful aromas and how nourished my skin feels. One of my friends was looking at a bracelet I had on and said, “Wow, you’re skin is so soft!”
The aromas are different than a smell or fragrance: rather the natural scents in the Ste. Anne’s products are so lovely, they invoke a feeling of relaxation. It’s good knowing these products are free of fillers and ingredients that are hard on the environment.
What was interesting was that after I got home, the calm environment that I had just left was remembered deeply in my body from putting the body lotion on – the one they had in all our rooms. It was like my system was conditioned to relax with the aroma of the lotion. I bought a little jar of eucalyptus oil to put in my shower so I can take spa-moments in my house until I can take another weekend away.
Sign up for their email list because I’m seeing great deals for services, products, and accommodations coming through those emails.
You won't see TVs at Ste. Anne's Spa, but you will see fireplaces, Scrabble boards, and massage chairs. Bring your favourite book, crocheting, or anything else you like to do in front of a fire.
I found the weekend was that much more special because I was there with a close friend. Being able to chat, laugh, and even vent helped me clear out what I needed to let go and take in the full spa experience to reset and step back into my regular life.
Note: I was provided with no-charge food and accomodation at this location: all opinions are my own.