Spas for quieting the mind, calibrating the qi and pampering the body, all within a day’s drive of downtown
Scandinave Spa The day spa’s red-roofed solariums, nestled at the base of Blue Mountain, are surrounded by opalescent pools that range from bracingly icy to ahhh-inducingly warm. The Finnish hydrotherapy program is designed to boost blood circulation, soothe the muscles and, best of all, provide a serious endorphin rush that’ll make you forget about yesterday’s black-diamond face plant. From $60. 152 Grey Rd. 21, Blue Mountains, Ont., 1-877-988-8484, scandinave.com.
Grail Springs This sprawling complex sits on the shores of the naturally alkaline Chalice Lake, about 45 minutes north of Peterborough. It offers several programs, with names like Cleanse and Energize, Spiritual Enrichment, and Life Transformation, which combine interactive wellness workshops, wilderness hikes, meditation sessions, and alternative spa treatments like seaweed rejuvenation baths and crystal bed light therapy. From $335 a night. 2004 Bay Lake Rd., Bancroft, Ont., 1-877-553-5772, grailsprings.com.
Nordik Spa Nordik is for those who like to wander around in plush white robes and sip on mulled wine in between sauna sessions and yurt yoga. In other words, everybody. The gem of the venue is the Källa saltwater pool, which induces Dead Sea–style weightlessness through carefully controlled saline levels. Day access from $55. 16 Chemin Nordik, Chelsea, Que., 1-866-575-3700, lenordik.com.
St. Anne’s Spa Waking in these stone cottages evokes a simpler, iPhone-freer time. The day starts with the ultimate non-urban experience: mucking the stables (optional), followed by a soak in the stone grotto, yoga or meditation. The Festive Flare Stone Wrap coats the body in a lotion of flu-fighting herbs, which are applied using warm stones. There’s no asceticism here: rack of lamb, tuna tartare and BYOW are on the menu. Day access from $185. 1009 Massey Rd., Grafton, Ont., 1-888-346-6772, steannes.com.
The Simple Life
Sugar Ridge Sugar Ridge helps frazzled urbanites de-stress through a back-to-basics ethos, mindfulness programming and healthy eating. The venue, run by an accountant turned psychotherapist, hosts silent retreats, expert-led workshops on topics like self-development, and week-long sessions featuring juice- and soup-only menus. Cabins are intentionally no-frills so as to encourage guests to luxuriate in the majesty of their newfound mental state and the property’s 25 kilometres of hiking trails instead. From $400 for a weekend retreat, including meals and accommodation. 5720 Forgets Rd., Weybridge, Ont., 1-866-609-1793, sugarridge.ca.
A Skeptic’s Guide to Self-Care
Part 1: Golden Getaways
Spas for quieting the mind, calibrating the qi and pampering the body
Part 2: Child’s Pose
Toronto’s chillest kindergartners strike a pose
Part 3: Superfoods That Don’t Suck
Twenty things that taste as good as they are
Part 4: Silent Meditation
What it’s like to go mute for 10 days: a memoir
Part 5: Feel Good, Look Better
Luxe gear to get zen in style
Part 6: Run for Your Life
Six endurance events for endorphin-chasing masochists