by Jay Kana
Images courtesy of Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain
For a guy who’s born under the Pisces sign, one would think that I’d like spending more time in the water. I’ve been to a host of beautiful beaches in Sri Lanka and North America, I enjoy boating and even though I failed horribly during my first water skiing attempt this summer, I’d probably try it again sometime. It’s not that I dislike the water. Rather, I like being on land more and can find more to do there opposed to in the water.
So when the chance came up to visit Scandinave Spa in Collingwood, I was kind of excited for it, but not as much as my water loving girlfriend, Laura.
After all, everyone wants to be re-energized, relaxed and rejuvenated, right? Right.
During a weekend stay in Collingwood, the weather turned cold in mid-October and a few inches of snow fell overnight Saturday, just in time for our Sunday morning appointment. As I parked the car, I was wondering how cold I’d be wearing only a towel and a bathing suit. Oh, and it was steadily snowing from the time we woke up with no end in sight.
Picture one giddy gal, who’s been looking forward to this experience for weeks with a guy who wears long-johns from November 1 to April 30. But somehow, I kept my spirits up with the mercury down.
Upon arrival, we walked down a 180 foot wooden bridge to get to the beautiful facility and were warmly welcomed by a friendly team member. We were given a quick run though of policy (no cameras, no smoking, no loud talking…it is a serene, quiet and relaxing environment after all) and then met by Mylisa Henderson, co-owner and director of marketing and sales.
I could tell by how busy the pools were and the line-up of people in the lobby that she’d crafted something that’s truly unique. And people just couldn’t get enough of it from what she told us and the plethora of positive reviews.
It’s a quiet zone all around and there are subtle signs reminding you of that. For the most part, guests are good about keeping the chatter to a barely audible level but in the event that some forget, the outdoor staff gently remind you to lower your voice in an incredibly friendly manner. How do I know? Because chatter-box Jay had to be reminded only a few minutes into the visit. Oops.
The spa is busy year-round and attracts visitors worldwide. And in case you’re wondering, all of the pictures on their website are exactly what you’ll experience. There are no camera tricks, no special photography.
Mylisa suggested we do a combination of cold plunges and hot baths with integrating Finnish sauna and Norwegian steam bath between.
For optimal relaxation and revitalization, her recommendation is this:
Start in a hot bath, sauna or steam room, which opens pores and begins the detoxifying process.
Then, be brave and experience a cold plunge which will rinse the toxins from the skin and quickly close your pores in addition to raising heart rates and boosting blood circulation.
Finally, spend some time relaxing in one of the two solariums, hammocks, Muskoka chairs or two outdoor fireplace lounge areas, all of which helps return your body to normal levels.
So, hot. Cold. Relax. Repeat. And blend in sauna and steam bath visits between. Got it.
Oh, and seeing as all the hot baths were over 100 Fahrenheit definitely helped on a snowy, brisk morning.
Once Laura and I got changed, we started, as instructed, in the Thermal Waterfall, which was right up my alley as I take nearly scalding hot showers daily, year round. We sat and soaked in near silence, enjoying the cold snow on our heads while our bodies were immersed in water that’s tested thrice daily with the use of ozonators, which are safe and highly effective for giving guests an incredibly clean environment.
I’d like to say that I joined Laura in phase two, the cold plunge into a Nordic bath but I just can’t.
I can say that I dipped my feet in past my ankle but that’s it.
Fearless Laura went in completely and was out in under a minute and then we quickly headed to one of the solariums for some quiet time.
My guess is that after 10 minutes (it could’ve easily been 30, that’s how relaxing it was) we moved on to the eucalyptus steam room, where “in through the nose and out through the mouth” breathing will take you to the height of tranquility. For a guy who talks way too much, the silence was wonderful. Just don’t tell anyone I said that.
Over the next two plus hours, we did our rounds and ended up spending most of our time in the hot baths, although Laura did the cold plunge a couple more times while I enjoyed the powerful yet soothing waterfall massage in the Mountain View Hot Bath.
The Norwegian Steam Bath also offers a chance to forget about everything else going on and enjoy the silence and serenity of Scandinave Spa.
While it’s easy to go on for another 1,000 words about the experience, there’s nothing like visiting it yourself and seeing all that they have to offer.
The health benefits alone are worth the visit, let alone the beautiful, natural scenery.
Those Scandinavians sure know what they’re doing when it comes to health and wellness, as the three stage process is still widely utilized on the other side of the Atlantic.
Stress reduction, therapeutic and personal benefits, detoxification and skin cleansing are all benefits of hydrotherapy, which can be achieved by what Scandinave Spa offers each guest. There are massage options as well for those who want something a little extra on the relaxing side.
With clean change rooms with excellent amenities and supplies, a picturesque main building and an array of awards (9/50 top spas in Canada, Collingwood business of the year 2013 & 2009, Top Canadian spa experience in 2010, innovating & sustainable tourism award 2012, along with many others), their 25 acres of forested land, 20 full time and 11 part-time staff are here waiting for you.
Since December of 2006, the spa has been helping people unwind and disconnect from the outside world with the power of water and silence.
And while nobody could specifically tell me how much they enjoyed the experience (quiet policy, remember?) the sea of smiles told me all I needed to know.
For a pretty relaxed, laid back guy who likes to watch Netflix and chill out, I was happily surprised how Scandinave Spa enhanced my level of relaxation. And it was all from a few hours spent in water. Outdoors. While it was snowing. In mid-October. In Collingwood.
And that’s exactly why you should go, regardless of the time of year. Because they’ll give you a memorable experience unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.
Take it from a guy who’s a Pisces by birth but a land lover by nature. If someone like me can enjoy the health and healing benefits, you definitely should.