Home for the Holidays: Elmwood Spa’s welcoming retreat in the city

It’s been over two years since I’ve been in a spa. That’s over two years worth of tightly knotted kinks are soreness built up that needed help to ease off. After all this time of zoom meetings and sitting in less than comfortable seats around my home, it was time to venture back to the Elmwood Spa.

Located on Elm Street and steps away from the Eaton Centre, this popular destination day spa that is celebrating its 39th year, is housed within a stunning historical building downtown. The Elmwood Spa has reopened with loads of special packages to entice locals and visitors alike.  Have a couple hours to spare or in need of a half or full day of pampering? I’m sure you’ll find something to fit into your schedule. For celebrations, friends time, couple time, pre-baby time, and the upcoming holidays — think it’s time to check in? What should you expect right now…

The Space: The multi-level space offers not only customer favourite services (facials, massages, body treatments, mani/pedis) but also has water therapies, restaurant and juice bar. Quiet spaces can be found throughout. My favourite nook is on the water therapies floor tucked behind the jacuzzi. Showers and change rooms are available in the change rooms as well as on the water therapies floor. Note that some treatment rooms come equipped with private showers as well – but I would recommend that you inquire about this before visiting.

Upon arrival you’re offered a fresh plush robe and sandals to wear for your entire visit (even when you dine). Towels are readily available as well. Oh, and your devices should be stored away inside the lockers and turned off.

Water Therapies: located on the third level is a co-ed space with a pool, jacuzzi, steam room, and comfortable lounge area. Currently face masks must be worn at all times (unless you’re eating or drinking) by guests and staff and social distancing reminders are respectfully placed. There is a limit to how many people can be enjoying the jacuzzi or pool at one time. There is also a more private whirlpool and steam room available in the women’s change room. Cleaning was frequent everywhere but not intrusive – reassuring for those who might be wondering.

Elmwood Spa

Services:  You can certainly book services a la carte but definitely be sure to check out their special offers. For my most recent visit, I booked the JOYFUL ESCAPE, one Elmwood Spa’s newest holiday packages. For 3.5 hours I experienced the water therapies, had a much needed 50-minute Aromatherapy Massage by a registered massage therapist (note: there’s also an option for the Essential Enhanced Facial), and a three-course lunch at their on-site restaurant — all of this for $200. There are two other Festive Holiday Packages available: BLISSFUL HOLIDAY (3 hours, $269) includes water therapies, 50-minute Aromatherapy Massage, Essential Manicure & Pedicure. FESTIVE DELIGHT (3 hours, $295) includes water therapies, 50 minute Swedish Massage, 50 minute Urban Detox Facial.

I also love seeking out signature treatments anywhere I visit. A real treat here is the LI’TYA Mali Mayi Body Treatment – a truly beautiful and rejuvenating 90 minute experience that is a real stand out. It starts with a full body aromatic oil and desert salt exfoliation — perfect for sloughing off dead skin and eliminating toxins and helps to improve circulation to the skin. Then warm Mapi body mud is slathered on your skin to help calm, cleanse and offers essential nutrients. An Aboriginal massage and a rhythmic Miji Kodo massage helps with overworked muscles. Finish off with a Quandong Hair & Scalp treatment and you’ll be ready to face whatever comes your way.

As mentioned, my JOYFUL ESCAPE included a three-course lunch in their private TERRACE Restaurant located on the fourth floor. The menu options include three appetizer options (fish cakes were yummy!), four entrees (one is vegan), and three desserts.

If you’re still not comfortable going in-person, Elmwood Spa also offers a Virtual Facial treatment that would be fun for a group of friends. The facial includes a kit with all the products needed and a live Zoom session with step-by-step instructions.

The Elmwood Spa has also implemented more ways to help visitors feel more comfortable during these times. Operating at reduced capacity, mandatory health screening and proof of COVID19 vaccinations, contactless temperature readings, contactless payment options, and plexiglass barriers in common areas like check in and spa shop. The spa also uses a central ERV air filtration system to help circulate and exchange fresh air from outside.

I really cherished my first time back into a spa in person since the pandemic began. It was nice to not have to answer to anyone or being asked about what’s for lunch at home. A few blissful hours is what I needed. The Elmwood Spa is consistent with their high level attention ensuring visitors are well-taken care. Remember your workplace benefits may cover massage services. You’ve got a few more weeks before the end of the year to submit  those claims!



About Sonya Davidson 942 Articles
Covering events, openings and all the deliciousness in Toronto.