Nestled in the woods near Blue Mountain two hours north of Toronto is pure silence. Whispering, if necessary, is mandatory. And kids, nope, not allowed.
I found my quiet at Scandinave Spa, an outdoor-indoor spa retreat in the middle of nature. It was a chilly below zero evening when I crossed (literally) that bridge to calm. Signs reminding visitors to “Shhh…” marked the path into a beautiful log cabin overlooking what would be my hideaway for the next few hours — the baths (three hot, three cold), small lodges (housing the Finnish sauna, eucalyptus steam bath and solariums) and the beautiful and tranquil surroundings (it’s situated on 25 acres of forested land.)
Of course, my end of day weekday visit fell on the spa’s busiest time of year – February Break. The spa was at capacity, waitlist in effect and lots of guests waiting impatiently for their turn to relax. But once in, the only thing that felt crowded were the towel racks.
So with snow on the ground, I wandered barefoot and in bathing suit through the hot-cold-relax circuit. It is meant to detoxify and cleanse the skin and relax and energize physically and mentally.
Yep, it worked.
Low-down: Open daily (10 a.m. to 9 p.m.) year-round and in all weather. Access to the Baths are $55 ($45 during Unwind Wednesdays.) Typical visits are 2-4 hours. Co-ed and must be 19-and-over. Bathing suits required. Lockers, locks and towels included. Bring your own sandals and water bottles (water filling stations throughout the spa.) Leave phones and electronics at home or in your locker. For other details, check these FAQs.
Go early or book a service early: Reservations are not required but the spa does hit capacity on weekends, Unwind Wednesdays and during holidays. If you do plan to go during those busy days, go early and get a back up plan in place in case you are on the waitlist (they will text you when your name is up.) Registration is in-person and opens at 9:15 am. You can also check updates on how busy it is on twitter throughout the day. Skip the potential queue and book a service. All massage treatments include access to the Scandinavian Baths. Be sure to reserve them well in advance (like 2-3 months in advance for weekend and holiday visits.)
FYI: While it’s great for a girls getaway, it’s also very popular for couples, if the dad in TOw is into spa-ing.