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The Soothing Touch: Toronto Spas

STILLWATER SPA
Park Hyatt Hotel, 4 Avenue Rd.
416-926-2389, www.stillwaterspa.com

The Stillwater runs deep. Located in the lower level of the chi-chi Park Hyatt, this deluxe spa is an underground oasis. The sound of water (and occasionally the distant rumble of a subway train) dominates the glowing space. Recline in the plush sitting room with an organic tea, or slide into the hot tub while you wait to be ushered into a treatment room. The aqua therapy treatment is a great balm for winter’s chill: A therapist moves your body through warm water, using pressure point techniques, stretching and movement therapy ($105). Full spa services are offered as well.

SHIZEN SPA
The Cosmopolitan Hotel, 8 Colborne St.
416-350-2424, www.shizenspa.com

Shizen, which is Japanese for “nature,” fulfills a spa’s unspoken obligation to soothe frazzled nerves. Softly lit—no bright white lights here—the elegantly appointed interior features a central solarium and large, 12-person hot tub. The Ayurvedic massage ($155) is a necessary and unforgettable indulgence: the body is lightly massaged from head to toe with warm sesame oil. Your skin will be supple for days. Shizen Spa offers the treatment works, from a classic facial and manicures and pedicures to reflexology and waxing.

TRUEFITT & HILL
Scotia Plaza, 40 King St. W.
416-214-4646, www.truefittandhill.ca

This exclusive men’s spa and barbershop—T&H have been barbers to British royalty since 1805—is a gentlemen’s club right out of an E.M. Forster novel. Rich dark wood adorns the interior where expansive wing chairs abound. A selection of executive services is on offer, including haircuts ($34) and the always-popular hot lather shave ($40). If you have a little time, linger for one of the stress relief packages. The Royal & Ancient ($220) includes herbal steam facial, mani/pedi, shoeshine and hand and foot massage.NOVO SPA
66 Avenue Rd.
416-926-9303

The sleek spa is a calm respite amid Bloor-Yorkville’s shop-till-you-drop atmosphere. Novo’s extensive menu of Ayurvedic and Tibetan-inspired services covers all the expected offerings—facials, manicures, pedicures, waxing, threading, etc. They also add a few unique temptations like an organic Babassu sugar cane glow ($69), avocado and honey hair mask ($39) and Indian Head Massage ($59). Spend a few minutes in the aroma- and colour-therapy sanarium to prepare yourself for the spa’s signature service: the T.H.A.Y. (Therapy Around You) Total Body Therapy ($139), which includes an Asian-inspired full-body exfoliation, steam bed wrap, followed by a hot stone massage.

METRO SPA
30 Hazelton Ave., lower level
416-866-8888, www.metrospa.ca

For the man who feels uncomfortable amid bamboo and orchids, Metro Spa provides a space as masculine as a tricked-out bachelor pad—big-screen TVs, loft-like exposed brick and a bar-themed manicure station. Aesthetic services continue the sports theme, from the Touchdown Facial ($88) to the Knockout Manicure ($35), which includes a mango hand-peel exfoliation and antioxidant paraffin treatment (how’s that for macho?). Go the distance with the Metro Grand Slam ($280), which includes a manicure, pedicure, facial and 60-minute hot stone massage.

ALIVIAR SPA
646 Queen St. W.
647-435-0903, www.aliviarspa.com

Good things do come in small packages. Aliviar is a tiny, eco-conscious, full-service spa on the busy Queen Street West strip. You’ll find only organic and vegan products used in the spa’s services and among its items for purchase, like Smudgepot cosmetics. Choose from a number of organic facials that are geared toward the needs of specific skin types. The Purifying Facial ($110) is designed for oily skin, while the Soothing Facial ($115) takes care of sensitive faces. Body treatments offered are a nice mix of sweet and savoury, from the decadent Chocolate Wrap ($150) to the detoxifying Herbal Wrap ($150).PANTAGES SPA
Pantages Suites Hotel, 200 Victoria St.
416-367-1888, www.pantagesspa.com

This swanky spa celebrates the healing power of water. The spa pairs each service with a glass of mineral water from an aqua bar that’s stocked with an international lineup of waters. Drown your woes in the Hydrotherapy Bath ($60), a private high-pressure-jet bath, before treating yourself to one of the spa’s divinely inspired body treatments— vanilla coconut exfoliation ($140) anyone? Those pressed for time can take advantage of the express 30-minute manicure ($30) or pedicure ($45).

VERITY SPA
Queen Richmond Centre, 111 Queen St. E.
416-368-6006 ext. 244, www.verityspa.ca

Verity is exclusively for women—so even modest types can feel free to stretch out on one of the deck chairs that surround the pool. Services satisfy every aesthetic whim—from anti-aging and hydrating facials to aromatherapy and Shiatsu massage. The spa’s signature Verity Detoxifying Wrap ($110) includes exfoliation, mud wrap and moisturizing massage. Stock up on your beauty shop booty: the spa carries a number of high-end lines like BioTone, Ingrid Millet and Toronto’s own Cake Beauty.ELMWOOD SPA
18 Elm St.
416-977-6751, www.elmwoodspa.com

This longtime local favourite has undergone extensive renovations in the past two years, adding a whirlpool and steam room to its impressive amenities. The rituals of Australia’s Aboriginal peoples inspire the spa’s exotic Li’Tya treatments. The Kodo Body Massage ($126), an aromatic, rhythmic body massage, aims to release physical and emotional tension. The Polama Hand Treatment ($105) nourishes skin and nails with pressure point massage, cuticle moisturiz-ing and polish change. This elegant spa also offers full range of traditional services.

ALIVIAR SPA
646 Queen St. W.
647-435-0903, www.aliviarspa.com

Good things do come in small packages. Aliviar is a tiny, eco-conscious, full-service spa on the busy Queen Street West strip. You’ll find only organic and vegan products used in the spa’s services and among its items for purchase, like Smudgepot cosmetics. Choose from a number of organic facials that are geared toward the needs of specific skin types. The Purifying Facial ($110) is designed for oily skin, while the Soothing Facial ($115) takes care of sensitive faces. Body treatments offered are a nice mix of sweet and savoury, from the decadent Chocolate Wrap ($150) to the detoxifying Herbal Wrap ($150).

HAMMAM SPA
602 King St. W.
416-366-4772, www.hammamspa.ca

Inspired by ancient Roman bathing rituals—steamy sojourns into public baths still popular in countries like Morocco and Turkey—Hammam is a sleek tribute to an enduring practice. Black slate tiles and onyx sinks dominate the 500-square-foot steam room, where you can sit back and let the essential oil-infused vapors perform their magic ($30). Or opt for a deluxe treatment: the Hammam Signature Body Treatment ($275) includes steam time, 45-minute full body exfoliation and 90-minute lymphatic drainage massage. Services cover all the body bases, with manicures, pedicures, body scrubs and massages.BODY BLITZ SPA
471 Adelaide St. W.
416-364-0400, www.bodyblitzspa.com

For melting your troubles on a frigid afternoon, there’s nothing like sliding into a bubbling pool of warm water. The journey at this women-only aqua therapy spa doesn’t end there. In addition to the warm Dead Sea salt pool—feels like an effervescent float in warm gingerale—there’s a hot green tea pool and, for the truly daring, a cold water plunging pool. Enjoyed together, the trio is intended to restore, detox and revive. A mere $45 gets you unlimited access to the waters, which also includes time in the infrared sauna and aromatherapy steam room. Don’t be shy: swimsuits are optional. Massages and body scrubs also offered.

CIVELLO SPA AND SALON
269 Queen St. W., 416-977-7755;
887 Yonge St., 416-924-9244; www.civello.com

A favourite among the city’s glam girls and boys. Downstairs in the salon (wash and style from $40), peruse well-stocked Aveda product shelves. A glittering panoply of hair care, makeup, bath and body items and fragrances will tempt pocketbooks. Upstairs in the spa, slip into a soft robe and slippers to enjoy a leisurely pedicure. Treatments include the Caribbean Body Therapy ($120), a detoxifying full-body mask and ginger, seaweed, lime and rose leaves wrap, plus a restorative scalp, face and body massage.

For more spa services, see Spa Daze.

Check out Jet Dry Nails for how to get a quickie mani and pedi.—Flannery Dean

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