B.C.'s most luxurious spas

by Erin Shaw

For many of us, the stress of daily life can be overwhelming; between work, family commitments, volunteering and socializing, self-care often falls to the bottom of the list. Visiting a day spa for an afternoon of rest and relaxation is a great way to recharge. Thankfully, British Columbia is home to a number of indulgent destinations that are designed to help you unwind.

Saschie MacLean of Tourism Vancouver says spa services, particularly in the Lower Mainland, are becoming more and more decadent. “Vancouver has a strong appeal as a luxury destination, so many spas offer experiences that fall in line with this,” she notes. Offering everything from restorative one-hour massages to elaborate full-day pampering experiences, these upscale spas provide a much-needed escape for B.C. residents and tourists alike.  [Photo courtesy of CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La Hotel]

B.C.'s most luxurious spas

Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Pacific Rim

The award-winning Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Pacific Rim in downtown Vancouver is definitely a boutique spa worth visiting. Whether you’re interested in anti-aging treatments, therapeutic massages, couples packages, or a day of poolside relaxation with friends, the comprehensive day spa offers unbeatable pampering in a world-class setting. Guests can also enjoy a variety of perks during their visit, including an infrared sauna, steam room, hydrotherapy shower, and a chic outdoor terrace complete with hot tubs and day beds.

Miraj Hammam

Located in Vancouver’s South Granville neighbourhood, Miraj Hammam is a Middle Eastern style spa specializing in hammam and gommage. Guests begin their journey with a relaxing steam in the spa’s beautifully designed hammam (steam room) before laying down on Jerusalem gold marble while estheticians perform a full-body gommage exfoliation treatment using black Moroccan soap. Afterwards, guests can reflect on their experience as they relax in the Sultana Lounge, which is adorned with luxurious velvet beds and silk cushions. As is the tradition in hammams around the world, tea and cake is served following each treatment.

KurSpa at Sparkling Hill Resort

If you’re seeking a truly one-of-a-kind spa experience, consider Sparkling Hill Resort in Vernon, B.C. The glittering building includes 3.5 million crystals, but perhaps even more dazzling is the KurSpa holistic health spa. Here, guests can enjoy more than 100 unique spa treatments and therapies in an impressive 40,000-square-foot wellness centre overlooking Lake Okanagan. The spa is also home to North America’s first European-style cryo cold sauna, which dips down to a chilly -110 °C.

Recent guest Leah Todd explains how this spa stands out from the crowd: “I went from sauna to steam to pool to hot/cold therapy pools and back again for around an hour and a half in complete bliss,” she recalls. “There were eucalyptus and rose steam rooms, a crystal steam room lit up by a diamond wall, and an iceberg room to chill down with the walls made of real ice.”

Scandinave Spa Whistler

Most spa-seeking Vancouverites know about Scandinave Spa in Whistler, located just a couple hours drive north of the city. One of the province’s true destination day spas, the scenic mountainside retreat is situated amongst the cedars on the edge of Lost Lake. The setting may be the main attraction, but the therapeutic benefits of the different pools and treatment rooms can’t be beaten. Staff members encourage silence from all guests to create a quiet, tranquil atmosphere. Now that's truly restorative!

The Rockwater Secret Cove Resort

Also a day trip away from downtown Vancouver, The Rockwater Secret Cove Resort is an idyllic waterfront getaway on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast. It has a little something special for hotel guests and day-trippers alike. The resort features two spectacular outdoor spa tents, which allow visitors to enjoy relaxing massages while admiring the picturesque views of the Georgia Strait.

CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La Hotel

Inspired by the ancient healing rituals of Asia, CHI, The Spa at the Shangri La is known for its elaborate private guest suites and invigorating body treatments that aim to get your energy flowing. The global spa menu focuses on restoring balance and vitality, and includes RMT massages, facials, body wraps and exfoliating treatments, as well as a unique Wushu massage inspired by Chinese martial arts.

The Grotto Spa at Tigh-na-Mara

If you’re looking for indulgent amenities on Vancouver Island, book a day of pampering at The Grotta Spa at Tigh-na-Mara resort in Parksville. The spa is renowned for its grotto-style mineral pool with underwater music and two-storey waterfalls; the cleansing water is infused with natural minerals and trace elements that will help detoxify the body. This is also one of the few places in B.C. to offer a “social-spa” experience catering to groups of different sizes.

Drift Spa at Black Rock OceanFront Resort

Farther afield and definitely worth a visit is Drift Spa at the Black Rock Oceanfront Resort in Ucluelet, B.C. This waterfront spa boasts an impressive list of treatments inspired by the natural surroundings, with many of the skincare products made from Vancouver Island seaweed. The aptly named Perfect Storm treatment includes a body wrap, as well as a water massage with jets designed to mimic the soothing effects of rain.

Whether you’re looking for an urban oasis in downtown Vancouver or a scenic mountaintop wellness resort, British Columbia is home a number of luxurious day spas that’ll leave you feeling truly pampered.

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