When someone suggests I need a break as a busy parent, I think spa. It’s imperative to my well-being and my chi (yes, that’s a thing). To me a spa experience isn’t an indulgence, it’s an investment in my well-being. Happy parent, happy kids, right?
I recently was a guest at Ste. Anne’s Spa in Grafton, just east of Cobourg and here’s my takeaway after spending three days and two nights at the spa.
Pictured: View of back garden - Ste. Anne’s Spa
It was the absence of things that struck me.
The Absence of kids. The absence of responsibilities and household chores. The absence of work. The absence of a never ending to do list. The absence of having to make dinner, the absence of phone calls, emails and social media (phones are discouraged at the spa and good for them and us). Then add in the physical; the absence of makeup and clothes (as you don a ridiculously comfy robe when you arrive and you don’t take it off until you leave). It was the absence of life’s responsibilities that felt like I had lost 20 pounds. Then add outstanding food, exquisite pampering, best-in-class and attentive staff to take care of your every need, beautiful grounds, comfortable accommodations and you are simply in heaven.
Let me share my all-inclusive experience so you get the hang out of what it feels like to visit Canada’s largest destination spa.
Ste. Anne’s Spa is about 97 km east of Toronto. It sits on 400 acres nestled in the Northhumberland Hills. Drive or take the train to Cobourg where a shuttle picks you up.
Some arrive early on check-in day to enjoy the grounds but you likely won’t get your room until 4:00 pm. So, do arrive early and start getting your relaxed vibe on.
You drive in to an old stone estate (you can learn the history whilst you sip your herbal tea) and check in at the front desk. You complete some forms to help the staff better understand your fine physical self, you are given a tour of the spa (about 10 minutes) and then you are provided your comfy robes. This is your uniform during your stay. Once you check-in to your room, disrobe of your day clothes, remove your makeup, boil some tea (or pour yourself a glass of wine), and start dismantling. Walk the grounds and visit the Tranquility Garden, enjoy the pool in the summer, the spa waters, take a steam, read a book, find a hammock (I did), visit the local stables (they have equine programs if you are interested in horses), take a wellness class like yoga or meditation, work out at the fitness club, take a walk (or a guided walk) on the multiple paths or walk to the local bakery down the street, visit the lovely boutique in the main inn and treat yourself to Ste. Anne’s Skin Nourishment line (I love the eye cream). Or just stay in your room and chill.
Pictured: Quiet Room with multiple massage chairs to enjoy
Pictured: Yoga class
Pictured: Outdoor Pool – background is Ste. Anne’s Spa
Because Ste. Anne’s is an all-inclusive destination, you aren’t required to tip but if you are particularly pleased with any staff, and you will be as they are wonderfully attentive, please let the front desk know. Everyone likes a pat on the back.
You will book your spa services well in advance of your stay and be provided a schedule for dining and your treatments when you arrive. Just imagine having breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner in public without having to dress and apply makeup or blow-dry your hair. That in itself is masterful.
The food, ah so much food. You are eating four meals a day. Yes, full meals. Bring your own bottle of wine (no corkage fees) as Ste. Anne’s isn’t licensed. The food is upscale country cuisine. Gluten and vegan options abound. Thank goodness for the robes. I enjoyed every morsel and my robe got a little tighter as I ate my way through my stay.
The menu has lots of choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner so if you want to eat lean, you can. But you won’t. Eat without guilt and enjoy every bite as you’ll be back at home counting calories in no time.
Pictured: Outdoor Patio
Pictured: Menu items
In between dining, you’ll have your spa services – this is truly what Ste. Anne’s is all about with a full range of body treatments. Check them out here Ste. Annes Spa Services. I had a 60 minute Swedish massage (I had Rick who was terrific) and Judy was my gal for a reflexology treatment. My tootsies are still smiling and I nodded off twice during the treatment. That’s relaxed folks!
Let’s talk briefly about accommodations, whether it’s a romantic getaway (yes men enjoy the spa as well) or a retreat with friends or on your own, there is accommodation to suit every style I have visited Ste. Anne’s a few times and enjoyed the Main Inn as you never have to venture outside. Ste. Anne’s Accommodations. My recent visit I stayed at the Doll’s House (one of seven spa cottages to choose from) which is just 15 meters from the main inn. It had its own balcony, full kitchen, two washrooms, two bedrooms and ideal if you want a little privacy but still wanting to be close enough to the action.
Pictured: The Doll’s House – 15 metres to the main building
Pictured: Casa Del Sol Spa Cottage
Pictured: Rosewalk Annex Spa Cottage
When someone suggests that you look tired and need a break, agree with them whole heartily and grab a friend, a gaggle of friends, or even your spouse, and start to think about the absence of the world and look into a getaway at Ste. Anne’s Spa. Let the bliss begin.
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