The Holy Grail of mind and body re­treats

Al­ka­line meals, Soul Camp and horse­back rides among ac­tiv­i­ties to pro­mote well­ness


Spread out across 40.5 hectares of pris­tine land that’s teem­ing with min­er­als, crys­tals and the spring-fed al­ka­line waters of Chal­ice Lake in Ban­croft, Ont., well­ness sanc­tu­ary Grail Springs stands as one of only two ho­tels in Canada rec­og­nized by Heal­ing Ho­tels of the World.

With a va­ri­ety of spir­i­tual re­treats, de­tox­i­fy­ing spa ther­a­pies and in­spi­ra­tional work­shops on of­fer, guests are promised a trans­for­ma­tive life ex­pe­ri­ence with stays that range be­tween two and 21 days. Soul Camp Like a camp for adults that fo­cuses on the mind and body, the newly launched Soul Camp pro­gram at Grail Springs aims to help guests re­lax and de­tox ac­cord­ing to in­di­vid­ual needs and pace. Morn­ing yoga on the lake, med­i­ta­tions at the crys­tal crop, horse­back rid­ing and chakra ther­a­pies make up a typ­i­cal daily itin­er­ary. Get­aways can be booked solo, as a cou­ple or in a group. Spir­i­tual spa Guests look­ing for a mani-pedi have come to the wrong place. Here, they in­dulge in the lat­est holis­tic ther­a­pies to de­com­press — from equine, chakra and colour ther­a­pies to crys­tal heal­ing beds, colon hy­drother­apy and steam wraps. An as­sort­ment of more fa­mil­iar spa ser­vices, such as mas­sages, fa­cials, body scrubs and pol­ishes, are also avail­able. Af­ter a treat­ment, guests can take to the waters and en­joy the ho­tel’s out­door min­eral soak­ing tub and cold plunge or dry Fin­nish sauna. Out­door eco-tabins Grail Springs founder Madeleine Mar­entette de­signed the ho­tel’s 13 rooms with spe­cial at­ten­tion to ev­ery de­tail, in­clud­ing nat­u­ral linens, hand­crafted or­ganic ameni­ties and even spe­cialty de­tox tea. If the tur­ret- ed rooms in the ho­tel’s Bavar­ian cas­tle-in­spired prop­erty aren’t out­doorsy enough for you, there are also two eco-tabins (a cross be­tween a tent and a cabin) avail­able to book from May to Septem­ber. Eco-tabins are well ap­pointed with cosy du­vets, vin­tage Hud­son’s Bay wool blan­kets and hand­made fur­nish­ings. Clean eat­ing Ex­ec­u­tive chef Jared Collins, who had served at Château Lake Louise in Al­berta’s Banff Na­tional Park, pre­pares healthy yet deca­dent al­ka­line, veg­e­tar­ian and gluten-free gourmet meals daily. All dishes are made with whole, plant-based, lo­cally sourced and sea­sonal in­gre­di­ents to help re­duce acid­ity, in­flam­ma­tion and pain while pro­mot­ing heal­ing, en­ergy and weight loss. An av­er­age weekly menu might in­clude flax oat­meal ce­real, co­conut yam soup and as­para­gus bisque with baked lentil loaf. Geo­man­tic project Geo­mancy is the an­cient ap­plied science of bal­anc­ing sub­tle en­ergy fields be­tween ar­chi­tec­ture and land­scape. Alan Reed, ge­o­mancer for Grail Springs, has spent sev­eral years reg­u­lat­ing the chi and ge­o­mag­netism of the ho­tel’s in­te­ri­ors and sur­round­ing for­est through the place­ment of trans­duc­ers, spe­cial min­er­als and se­lected stones. The prop­erty sits on rich de­posits of quartz and other mag­net­i­cally po­tent rocks found in Ban­croft, the min­eral cap­i­tal of Canada. As part of the project, guests can also ex­plore in­stal­la­tions, in­clud­ing a vol­canic heal­ing bed and crys­tal mound med­i­ta­tion area. Har­mony with horses Grail Springs of­fers guests guided horse­back rides with its spe­cial fam­ily of Rocky Moun­tain horses from Ken­tucky. Vis­i­tors can also par­tic­i­pate in a med­i­ta­tion cir­cle with the horses, led by fa­cil­i­ta­tors, as part of a global move­ment of equine-as­sisted ther­apy to bring horses and hu­mans to­gether in peace, har­mony and heal­ing. The ho­tel’s equine ex­pe­ri­ence runs ev­ery Tues­day and Satur­day from May to Septem­ber. Horse­back rides are of­fered year-round on Mondays, Satur­days and Sun­days. Sooth­ing waters Guests at Grail Springs can help bal­ance their Ph through baths and wa­ter ther­a­pies, de­signed to pu­rify and cleanse the body. Mag­net­i­cally charged by the an­cient bedrocks be­low, the wa­ter is nat­u­rally filtered and kept free of chem­i­cals and chlo­rine ad­di­tives. Guests may ben­e­fit di­rectly from the al­ka­line prop­er­ties of Chal­ice Lake in their spa ser­vices, show­ers, cook­ing and drink­ing wa­ter. Ca­noes, pad­dles and stand up pad­dle boards are also avail­able to guests. Denise Dias ( denise­di­ is a Toronto writer.


The Soul Camp at Grail Springs is de­signed to help guests re­lax and detox­ify with morn­ing yoga on the lake.

The get­away in­cludes al­ka­line prop­er­ties of Chal­ice Lake near Ban­croft.

Af­ter a holis­tic spa treat­ment, guests can en­joy a Fin­nish sauna.

It also has a vol­canic heal­ing bed and crys­tal mound med­i­ta­tion area.

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