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Ste. Anne’s Spa by Carin Harris

Love yourself. Love yourself. Love yourself!

Seasons of Change

In the part of the world where I live the lines between the seasons have been blurring lately. Now, we have lovely warm pretend spring days followed by the worst snowstorm in any number of years, and back and forth. Recently, winter has laid down a very convincing and deep layer of snow and I feel like I should have taken off south with friends instead of staying here to endure this freeze. 

Thank goodness I was invited to join a group of women at the world class Ste. Anne’s Spa right here in Ontario. Known as one of the best rejuvenation facilities in the world, Ste. Anne’s was the perfect place for a bunch of moms to go to be pampered and babied for a weekend. 

I love this paragraph from their website: 

“The Ste. Anne’s philosophy focuses on creating an atmosphere to help rebuild your strength, recapture your energy, and reflect on what’s truly important in your life. Taking time for yourself is crucial, otherwise your health, family, work and spiritual needs will suffer.”

That is exactly what I needed, indeed something I’d dreamed of experiencing at Ste. Anne’s for a long time. 

The Grounds

Situated in on 400 acres in Grafton, Ontario, just north of the 401, there are many buildings in addition to Ste. Anne’s main inn. You will also find walking trails, gardens, an outdoor pool, a horse stable, and a fully equipped fitness facility. 

 While we were there snow covered most of the gardens meaning we could enjoy snowshoeing on a brilliant and mild, sunny afternoon. If you haven’t tried snowshoeing yet, you really should. The snowshoes make it so that you can actually walk over the top of the snow – much easier than if you didn’t have them on. I believe all levels of fitness would be able to easily snowshoe around. One of the neat things about this place is that there are snowshoes stuck in the snowbanks by the doors. One fine warm day I’d love to go back to explore the serenity, rose, herb and kitchen gardens that were hidden under all that snow!

Accommodations

Whether you are there as a couple or a group, the perfect spot is waiting for you. 

There are cozy rooms in the main inn building but also a variety of cottages around the grounds. We stayed at a cottage – the Casa del SolMore than large enough for a group of 10, this beautiful and well-equipped cottage was not only huge but had special touches that made it feel very homey at the same time. With a wrap around porch complete with its own jacuzzi, it was a beautiful and comfortable place to lay our heads at the end of our relaxing day at the spa. 

And did I mention the turndown bed service? With chocolates? 

The Spa

When I first arrived, I was not at all sure what to expect. The walk from the parking lot to the Inn was enchanting with the old stone walls, paths, gates and the trees along the way creating a serene and natural roof. I love how there are original and very old field stones used throughout the property and buildings still. 

The lobby is warm and welcoming with big comfy couches scattered around. A hostess came over to me immediately with a big smile and gave me a plush white Ste. Anne’s robe and flip flops – the signature uniform to wear, for my stay. 

Flowers, crystal chandelier, fireplace and big comfy couches – and I wasn’t even past the front desk! 

I was given a tour and invited to leave my things in the locker room to get started on my relaxing. The locker room was fully loaded with all the creams, hair products and towels you could need – a good thing to keep in mind if you are not staying overnight. There is also a dry cedar sauna, a steam room, hot tub and rain showers as well.

If you find the need to leave the locker room, and really I could have spent a whole day in there quite happily, I would recommend taking a look around the Main Inn before settling on a plan. 

There is a quiet room filled with a row of massage chairs facing large windows, a reading and games room with a fireplace, (also part of the original 1860 building,) a sitting room where you await your attendant for your spa service appointments, a eucalyptus steam room, and the plunge pools. Don’t forget the boutique where you can try out a mud mask or have a hand massage. 

I loved that you could help yourself to a tea of the day or coffee, some of the Ste. Anne’s Bakery famous biscotti and granola, or a nice local apple. 

Not that I found myself to be very hungry between the amazing meals.

The Dining

The meals at Ste. Anne’s are fantastic – delicious, satisfying, flavourful, and crave-worthy. I wish you could stop in for a meal any day but the dining room is only for the guests. Most diners are in their robes – contrary to the calibre of the establishment. The staff makes you feel comfortable regardless of your attire and they bend over backwards to accommodate your every need.

I was very impressed with the variety of meals available at each seating. Everything is local wherever possible and the staff have great knowledge of where all ingredients were grown. The Ste. Anne’s Bakery naturally plays a big role in providing food at all meals and you can stop off to pick up your favourites on the way home. I highly recommend the blueberry scones!

There is a full range of meals available on a regular basis plus there are specials at every meal. I can’t begin to do the food descriptions justice so click this link for a full listing of the dining options. They are also extremely accommodating for all dietary requirements.

The Experience

I walked in feeling out of place at first but within a short amount of time I was strutting along in my robe and bathing suit like an old pro. I think I must have looked a bit shocked at first but every time I passed a staff member, they gave me big welcoming smiles. That really helped with the transition from ‘Mum’ to ‘Me’. 

There are many incredible spa treatments to choose from and I would love to try them all. This time I chose the ‘Coconut Breeze’ which involved having my skin exfoliated into submission by strong, lime infused scrubby gloves, a warm shower, a massage with coconut body butter and oh my I almost fell asleep. I enjoyed that treatment so much – my skin smelled terrific and soft. 

Later on I enjoyed the cycle of a dip in a hot jacuzzi/cold plunge/eucalyptus steam room repeated over and over and over…

My yoga wellness class took place in a turreted room complete with a fireplace. Wellness classes include many options from different types of yoga, stretching, and meditation to helping out in the horse barns on the property. 

Would I go back? You better believe it! This is definitely an experience you will thoroughly enjoy and want to share with all your friends.  

The mamas I went with all left with a joyful smile on their faces and a spring to their step. Mission accomplished! 

As I sit here writing this post, I am also enjoying the smell of the Skin Nourishment Hydrating Lotion, purchased from the boutique. This cream smells wonderful and reminds me of the spa every time I use it. It takes me back to the crackling fires, the bubbling waters and the soft robe. I will go back again one day but until then, the memories will have to do. 

Thanks to the Life With A Baby tribe for inviting me to come along. You are such a great, supportive group and I applaud all your efforts to help women suffering from postpartum Depression. Check them out – membership is open to all.

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