The road to relaxation leads to Canada’s top destination spa

spa-and-wellness Photo by Africa Studio/Shutterstock

To shine a light on Canada’s most incredible weekend destinations, we partnered with Chevrolet to create the Blazer Index, an exclusive lineup of our favourite luxury experiences. St. Anne’s Spa is just one of these essential excursions for when you’ve regained a sense of freedom in your life and you’re ready to explore the absolute best our country has to offer.

Set amongst 400 acres of rolling countryside in the bucolic village of Grafton, Ont., halfway between Toronto and Kingston, Ste. Anne’s Spa offers a getaway from the everyday that’s steeped in wellness and tranquility. Perfectly situated for both romantic weekend getaways and group spa-day excursions, it’s an all-inclusive resort with a comprehensive treatment menu, a healthy and wholesome dining program, and a wonderful rural setting that has features such as a fieldstone grotto and a lavender labyrinth.

The winner of the 2018 Canadian Spa and Wellness Award for Top Destination Spa, this popular property has a charming Old World atmosphere—the main inn features turrets, gables, and stonework dating from the mid-19th century—and a refreshingly inviting environment that invites rest and rejuvenation.

“The overall philosophy of healing through touch is very important here,” says Wanda Hoehn, the director of sales and marketing at Ste. Anne’s. “The owner of the spa likes to think of our little piece of property here as welcoming people into his home…you’re treated like family, with really genuine care and concern for your well-being.”

The experience

Ste. Anne’s hosts both day trippers and overnight guests at their homey country property, which encompasses a main inn as well as several outlying cottages. “You can book a group spa cottage, have your own cottage with its own deck and yard, or just be a couple in a room with a wood-burning fireplace and a Jacuzzi tub and be incredibly romantic,” says Hoehn.

A day at Ste. Anne’s starts with a customized itinerary, created with your input at booking, to optimize your time at the destination and your goals for the visit. “We try to pace the itinerary we create so that you’re not rushing from thing to thing,” says Hoehn. “We make sure there’s lots of time in between a meal or services to either chat and bond with the people you’re here with or as downtime for you to just use our facilities.”

Access to the grounds, a three-course lunch, an afternoon tea, and a spa allowance are included in each all-inclusive booking—you won’t need your wallet once you’ve checked in. Guests spend the majority of the day in their bathrobes, wandering the 400-acre resort at their leisure.

The treatments

The extensive spa menu at Ste. Anne’s offers heat and hydrotherapy treatments, body work and massages, aesthetic services, and special offerings that incorporate seasonal ingredients and a targeted focus. There’s a popular Canna-Massage, which uses a blend of essential oils, including hemp-derived CBD, and a Garden Harvest Massage, which incorporates infused oils distilled from plants and flowers grown on-site. “We also use all sorts of botanicals that we either grow ourselves in our garden or that are wildcrafted on the property, for the Golden Harvest massage,” says Hoehn. “They’re actually in our skincare line as well.”

Besides the scheduled services, you can look forward to a number of indoor and outdoor spa facilities during your visit—there’s a eucalyptus-oil-infused steam room; the Fieldstone Grotto includes a hot tub, a plunge pool, and a lap pool; and a spring-fed, heated outdoor pool is available in the warmer months.

The extras

The stunning grounds of Ste. Anne’s are a major draw, especially for city-dwellers. There are walking trails, a poustinia, a fitness facility, a garden and labyrinth, and even horse stables and a cattle farm that can be explored. Lounge areas for socializing abound, both indoors and out, and, if you’re looking for peace and quiet, there’s a dedicated quiet room, outfitted with massage chairs and comfy couches.

Like many other resorts, Ste. Anne’s offers a full complement of activities that are available to guests. “We have all sorts of wellness classes, things like yoga, meditation, stretch, and yoga nidra,” says Hoehn. “Those are lovely to get you out of your regular habits, and it really rounds out your stay in a lovely way.”

Finally, you can also enjoy garden tours, guided walks and snowshoeing excursions, demonstrations at the bakery, and a popular equine program where you can help out in the stables or help groom a horse.