Nontoxic, chemical free and gluten free are terms you may attach to your diet. In 2003, it became descriptions for Elixor Organic Boutique & Spa. Elixor is the perfect location for the health-conscious individual who is aware of the ingredients in (and on) his or her body. With exposed brick and voluminous curtains, founder Lynn Shulman has perfected a serene environment. All healing and therapeutic treatments are done without chemicals and as such, they smell incredible. This is the spa for those with allergies or sensitive skin. Lynn claims, "Our products are so pure, you can literally eat them." Don't mind if we do.
Recommended for Spas because: Chemical free facials, pedicures and waxing means that a trip to the spa doesn't have to equate to a toxic experience.
Courtney's expert tip: If you have booked an RMT massage appointment, expect some scalp love (ie. don't expect your hair to look picture perfect right afterwards).
Hammam Spa provides an oasis in the heart of the city. Golden tones and warm woods welcome stressed out city folk with an urban sanctuary environment. The steam room may be enough to induce relaxation. With light eucalyptus oils circulating through the room, it is the perfect place to be on a cold winter's day (or any day, for that matter). Afterwards, cool towels and cucumber water await you for ideal refreshment. The steam room is free if you spend $100 on services. Services extend beyond massages to nail treatments, facials and waxing. Make a habit of sighing in pleasure.
Recommended for Spas because: An amazing smelling steam room, healthy refreshments and warm tones will invite you to step out of your mind and into your body.
Courtney's expert tip: They ask that you turn your cell phone off when in treatments. As far as we know, inner peace doesn't come from browsing the web.
Even checking in for your appointment at the Elmwood Spa is a pleasant experience. Hand towels are at the ready while you prepare for further relaxation. The pristine environment sets the tone for the pampering we all need from time to time. With two restaurants, 34 treatment rooms, a swimming pool, whirlpool and steam rooms, this spa is primed and ready to attack your stress. There are specialized services for men, such as the men's signature facial and "The Gentlemen's Retreat package." Don't worry, ladies, there are a host of treatment options especially designed for you. The restaurants elevate the notion of bland spa food and you can eat on the fourth floor terrace in your bathrobe. Divine.
Recommended for Spas because: Excellent therapists with an extensive list of services makes Elmwood Spa an urban relaxation destination.
Courtney's expert tip: If you book a treatment, you gain free access to the water therapies and steam room. Make a day of it.
The softest of bathrobes, Caudalie products and a prime location makes the Miraj Hammam Spa excellent at the business of relaxation. Located in the Shangri-La hotel, after a body treatment you are given the option of going to the Hammam (and why not, when the name of the spa pays tribute to it?). The steam and body exfoliation is one of the signature treatments in middle eastern spas, which is believed to be the ultimate in detoxification. Every detail is taken into account in this serene and quiet environment that will make you question if you are really in the heart of downtown Toronto. Take some time afterwards in the relaxation lounge for Moroccan tea and sweets. Delay your return to the real world.
Recommended for Spas because: This Moroccan inspired spa hits the right notes of luxury and will pamper you beyond your wildest expectations.
Courtney's expert tip: If you book a package for over $150, you can use the Shangri-La's fitness facility that is usually only accessible to guests. This includes a 20 metre lap pool underneath a glass roof and a state-of-the-art gym.
This one is for all the ladies in the house...no really. Although stress is not gender specific, fear of being seen in a bathing suit often is. Sweetgrass takes away any potential spa stress by catering to women alone. The hot tub and sauna area is reminiscent of a lagoon and a great place to relax before or after a service. Packages enable girlfriends to while away a day, treatment after treatment, until full sentences become challenging. Some of these treatments include the 90-minute Red Carpet Facial or a detoxifying Firming Body Wrap. Of course, you could just come for an hour to get away from your to do list. Pedicures range from 35 minutes to 70 minutes to fit into any working woman's busy schedule.
Recommended for Spas because: Relaxed, professional and free of pretension. Sweetgrass has it together.
Courtney's expert tip: Sweetgrass is more than happy to host bachelorette parties, offering a rare experience that won't be filled with regret the following day.
This women's only spa in Toronto is based on the concept of "health by water." Ancient restorative water practices get a downtown city twist. Go on what is known as a "water circuit" which moves you from a dead sea salt pool to plunging into cold water to an epsom salt pool to a sauna and back to cold. The combination of all these types of water is meant to relieve muscle pain, improve joint mobility and reduce toxins (among other benefits). You can wear either your bathing suit or your birthday suit. The spa menu is designed to increase your relaxation, should you want to add a scrub or a deep tissue massage.
Recommended for Spas because: This women's only spa will grant you access to a therapeutic water circuit that may have the ability to wash your cares away.
Courtney's expert tip: There is a policy of silence, so if you go with a group of girlfriends, make sure to catch up beforehand.
Trump sure knows how to do it right when it comes to the luxurious. His Toronto spa on the 31st floor of the Trump hotel knocks it out of the park. Enjoy your tea or water pre-treatment in the softest of bathrobes in front of a roaring fireplace. The restorative mineral of quartz is embedded throughout many of the products that are used within the 1500 square foot den of bliss. Have gold leaf rubbed on your skin in a fancy facial treatment (would you expect anything less from The Donald?). Have quartz crystals heated on your body for an extravagant spin on a hot stone massage. Upon exiting, you will be presented with jelly beans in the spa colours of black, purple and white. Perfection.
Recommended for Spas because: The Quartz Crystal Spa comes just short of rolling out the red carpet, but will make you feel equally as cared for as any VIP.
Courtney's expert tip: When you book a service, you can use the facilities which include a pool, sauna and steam room. Come early to soak and indulge in their antioxidant-rich chocolate bars. This is the kind of health regime we can get behind.
The Stillwater spa provides 10,000 square feet and 17 treatment rooms to relax as many people as possible in the Annex area of Toronto. As you wait for your treatment, you will be led to the heated locker room where you will disrobe into the traditional terry cloth. Your white bathrobe will match well in the white lounge area where you can sip on tea and munch biscotti while you wonder why you don't do this more often. The range of massage treatments is impressive and goes well beyond the traditional relaxation massage. Case in point: mom-to-be massage, reiki massage, aqua massage or couples massage. With the sound of waterfalls echoing around you, it will take all of your power not to fall asleep.
Recommended for Spas because: Stillwater Spa has more space and treatment options than almost any spa in Toronto. Don't expect still water, however, as there are lots of waterfalls.
Courtney's expert tip: Spa packages can get reasonable if you stay on top of Stillwater's social media. Check out their Twitter account: #SpaDeal.
The Ritz Carlton Spa in Toronto has ranked highly on many lists, and it is for good reason. The prime downtown location provides stunning views of landmarks like the CN Tower. Synonymous with luxury as a hotel brand, the spa does not disappoint with skylights flooding the serene space with natural light. There are co-ed common spaces, but also separate gentlemen's and ladies lounges. With 16 private treatment rooms, there is ample opportunity for individual attention. The Ritz Carlton uses specialized skincare products, exclusively developed in Paris to provide skin analysis for every person receiving a facial. Massage therapy is equally delicious, using natural ingredients like honey to eliminate tension and promote healing.
Recommended for Spas because: With a chic design and European touches, the Ritz Carlton has nailed the luxury spa experience.
Courtney's expert tip: The champagne nail bar is not just a delightful name: you are presented with a glass of bubbly when you indulge in a manicure or pedicure.
You know a city is getting cramped when a spa boasts about their abundant natural light. Only that isn't all the Spa Four Seasons has to offer. The Four Seasons knows how to do it right and their oversized treatment rooms, sunlit indoor relaxation pool and full salon prove their expertise. The spa is located on the ninth floor of the hotel in Toronto's Yorkville area and has over 30,000 square feet to play with (or unplay as it were). Vegan aromatherapy oils are used for their luxurious massages and treatments include a body wrap infused with lavender honey. While you wait, nosh on some biscotti and fruit infused water.
Recommended for Spas because: Beautiful facilities and excellent massage therapists to make you wonder why you don't do this more often.
Courtney's expert tip: Monthly features allow you to get discounts on various services in the Spa. Check their website for more details.