Leave behind your worries and relax in some of Calgary’s best spas—we did. With more than 30 spas on the market, the choices can be overwhelming. To help you out, we’ve combed the city trying new and different spa sessions and have come up with a list of our favourites. We’re sure you’ll enjoy the results.
ROYAL BAMBOO MASSAGE
The Spa Ritual
Begin this treatment at one of Calgary’s newest spas, by closing your eyes and allowing your senses to tell you what kind of aromatherapy your body needs: ginger helps with circulation and digestion, lavender for better relaxation and grapefruit/mint to refresh and energize. After this is chosen, the therapist glides, kneads and rolls warmed bamboo and rattan sticks along your entire body. This Asian-inspired massage is deeply therapeutic, and relieves built-up tension, improves circulation and lymphatic drainage. If you like a hot stone treatment, but wish you could get a deeper massage out of it, you’ll especially enjoy this. Top it off with a blueberry matcha smoothie, or one of their signature teas, and then relax on one of their heated limestone chaises.
Length: 1 hr to 1 hr, 30 min
Price: $150 – $210
SAUNA SESSION WITH COLOUR THERAPY
De-stress at Inner Balance by soaking in warmth and sweating it out during a half hour treatment in an infrared sauna. Set at a lower temperature than a conventional sauna, an infrared sauna is a more comfortable experience. This type of environment also produces two to three times more sweat, which helps to rid the body of heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and fat-soluble toxins. It also has great effects for revitalizing the appearance of your skin, including helping to clear cellulite. Other health benefits include pain relief for muscles, arthritis, blood vessels and soft tissue injuries; a boosted immune system; and improved circulation. During your session you are able to choose which colour of light you’d like to be surrounded in: they vary in their benefits from creative stimulants (violet) to anxiety soothers (yellow). If you have a difficult time choosing, go for the colour rotating option.
Length: 30 min
Before beginning this treatment, you’re asked to fill out a questionnaire to determine your elemental constitution, known as your dosha. Once this, and your current state of health and mind are known, a specially trained therapist will decide what type of Abhyanga massage you’ll receive (e.g. calming if you’re stressed, energized if you’re feeling lethargic). This method of massage varies slightly, in that the therapist uses steady, smooth movements to work warm, herb-infused oil deeply into the body. A Shirodhara is then set up to gently pour a continuous stream of warm herbal oil over the forehead—this is thought to integrate the mind with the body, and to create a deep sense of inner peace. Be aware: the oil does spread to your hair, but afterwards guests are encouraged to use their granite shower and eucalyptus steam room to further develop the effects from the treatment. Depending on your dosha, you should feel relaxed or energized for days after completing the session.
Length: 1 hr, 30 min to 2 hrs
Price: $185 – $235
Referred to as a “facial for the feet,” this pedicure is as luxurious as Spa Europa’s décor of Roman columns and classical-period statuary. It begins with a soothing, hydro-therapeutic foot treatment and a gentle exfoliation up to the knee. A built-in lower back massager relaxes the rest of your body while a therapist applies a facial mask to your feet and lower legs, then treats your hands to a paraffin treatment. Once this is finished, your feet are massaged with hot stones, given a warm paraffin bath to seal in moisture, and then are wrapped in algae. It ends with your choice of a colourful nail polish application.
Length: 1 hr, 30 min
WILD ROSE BODY WRAP
The soothing scent of rosehips and calming cascades of water from a Vichy shower make the Wild Rose Body Wrap a truly sensory experience. The first step is a full-body exfoliation with rose seed scrub, followed by a lengthy rinse under the Vichy shower. Next, the skin is massaged with organic rosehip oil—an antioxidant oil high in vitamin C that hydrates and soothes the skin. In order to harness the oil’s full potential, the body is wrapped and warmed with a heating blanket, followed by a face and scalp massage. For the final 20 minutes, clients are left to relax in their warm cocoon, with low lighting and soothing ambient music. Afterwards, the skin is fragrant, refreshed and hydrated—a welcome change in the dry, high-altitude air of Calgary.
Length: 1 hr, 30 min
Oasis Wellness Centre & Spa
At 16,000 square feet, Calgary’s largest spa has the space to really make you feel as if you’ve “gotten away from it all.” This classic manicure begins with a soak in warmed lavender cream and is followed with a hand massage. Next, their professional team of estheticians gently groom, shape and smooth the nails before applying a colourful polish. Add $10 to turn it into a hydrating paraffin manicure, which includes an application of lavender paraffin wax to your hands and wrists. If you’ve got the time, you can further unwind by doing a drop-in class at their yoga studio.
Length: 40 min
Price: $53 ($63 with paraffin)
This full-body ritual begins with a warm, self-heating, red-and-brown algae wrap that gets massaged onto the body to detoxify, stimulate lymphatic drainage and increase circulation. It then gets washed away by a multi-jetted shower, and a fine fruit and floral mist is applied to your whole body through the use of a Lucca (a device designed to pulverize hydrosol into a fine mist). Next up is a mini-facial with a cleansing, toning and moisture application and a scalp massage done with essential oils. Finally, the body is re-hydrated with mango and cocoa butter and the treatment ends with a foot massage. The smells are fresh and colourful, and you leave with your skin feeling soft and moisturized.
Length: 1 hr, 30 min
SERENITY BODY TREATMENT
This soothing treatment begins with an herbal foot soak, complete with warmed stones. You’re next treated to a full-body exfoliation using sea salt, and are then covered in a rose clay mud wrap that absorbs deep into the skin with the help of a heating blanket. While still wrapped up, enjoy a facial and scalp massage by your therapist, who also guides you through peaceful meditation. A Vichy shower gently washes away the clay and a pumpkin body butter is massaged into the body. This treatment is finished with a cup of calming herbal tea while you comfortably lounge in their tranquil Serenity Room.
Length: 1 hr, 30 min
DETOXIFYING MOOR MUD BATH
EvelineCharles Salons and Spas
Mud baths are an ancient treatment, harking back to a time when spas were located next to thermal hot springs. In those days, mud baths were often a mixture of volcanic ash and water; today, the ingredient of choice is moor mud. At EvelineCharles, the mud is mixed with water in a European hydro tub, where clients are left to relax for 20 minutes. Moor mud is known as a natural detoxifier, relaxing the muscles and opening pores to minerals and nutrients. As you soak, calming music and the scent of pine create a serene refuge from the outside world. After the bath, EvelineCharles offers showers and a moisture application. This treatment is particularly recommended for sufferers of arthritis or muscle fatigue. Southcentre and Market Mall locations only.
Length: 30 to 45 min
CHOCOLATE SUGAR SCRUB
Scentorini Spa & Wellness
If chocolate uplifts your mood, this treatment is sure to brighten your day. This decadent scrub is performed in a pre-steamed Vichy shower room to help open your pores to better absorb the treatment. A combination of cocoa and sugar is used to exfoliate dead skin cells and clogged pores, leaving your skin bright and healthy looking. The scrub then gets gently washed off in the form of a mini massage from a multi-jetted Vichy shower. It completes with a light application of sweetly scented Chocolate Whip Cream body lotion to nourish the skin with willow and aloe.
Length: 45 min to 1 hr
SPA FOR $50 OR LESS
If your bank account is feeling the pinch, here’s a list of spa treatments that will make you—and your wallet—feel better:
• Detox Foot Bath $50 at Inner Balance
• Classic Massage $40; make it a hot stone for $10 more, at Dharma Studios
• Pedicure including polish $45 at Oraoxygen
• Quickie Facial $35 at Skoah
• Avenue Manicure $50 at Stillwater Spa
• Milk Bath $49 at Spa Europa
• Relaxation Massage, 30 min for $45 at Swirl Day Spa
• French Manicure $45 at Esthetica Salon & Spa
• Intermezzo Petite Facial $40 at Jadestone Spa
• Cosmetic Application $50 at Diva Salon Spa or EvelineCharles Salons & Spas
— Laura Pellerine and Sally MacKinnon