Spa Ex­pe­ri­ences with a Unique Twist

Whistler Traveller Magazine - - TRAVELLER I CONTENT - STORY BY FIONA MOR­ROW

Look­ing for a spa ex­pe­ri­ence with a unique twist? Whistler has op­tions to re­vive both body and soul.

A mas­sage can be many things — re­lax­ing, ther­a­peu­tic, restora­tive — but when the masseuse at the Ta­man Sari Royal Her­itage Spa jumps up to join me as I lie prone on the treat­ment ta­ble, I’ll ad­mit to won­der­ing what on earth I’ve let my­self in for. The spa, sit­u­ated in­side the Hil­ton Whistler Re­sort and Spa, pro­vides a range of treat­ments based on tra­di­tional East Asian prac­tice. They also claim to be the only au­then­tic Ja­vanese spa in North Amer­ica; there­fore, the method comes as some­thing of a sur­prise.

Make no mis­take: This is a vig­or­ous mas­sage. Deep thumb pres­sure is com­bined with firm strokes of the palms, si­mul­ta­ne­ously work­ing out knots and en­cour­ag­ing bet­ter cir­cu­la­tion. Kneel­ing on the ta­ble be­side you al­lows the ther­a­pist to ap­ply more pres­sure; if you gen­er­ally ask for a firm hand, you may want to scale that back, at least to be­gin with. Also, ex­pect to be mas­saged in places your more reg­u­lar West­ern treat­ments would not ven­ture: The ex­pec­ta­tion is to re­move your un­der­wear (although you are free to main­tain mod­esty if you pre­fer).

Con­sider this an ac­tive treat­ment — you won’t fall asleep — and be pre­pared for a work­out of your lym­phatic sys­tem. I found the re­sults im­pres­sively in­vig­o­rat­ing, and felt a light­ness — phys­i­cal and men­tal — that was still no­tice­able 24 hours later.

The Spa at Nita Lake Lodge of­fers a wel­come re­treat from the hus­tle and bus­tle of the Vil­lage, with its com­fort­able re­lax­ation room, rooftop hot tubs and eu­ca­lyp­tus steam room. It is also the only spa in B.C. to of­fer ilā skin­care prod­ucts. The ilā range is all or­ganic and hand­made in Eng­land, its for­mu­las cre­ated to nour­ish not just from with­out, but also to en­er­gize and en­hance from within. The or­ganic ma­te­ri­als, which are be­lieved to res­tore bal­ance, are sourced from around the world.

In con­trast to the deeply pen­e­tra­tive Ja­vanese method, the ilā Kun­dalini mas­sage adopts a restora­tive ap­proach, us­ing primeval mas­sage tech­niques and in­tu­itive chakra heal­ing. Here, the touch is light, with gen­tle strokes in­tended to ground the body and of­fer a com­pletely re­lax­ing 75 min­utes. It be­gins with an ex­fo­li­at­ing foot scrub, fol­lowed by a light mas­sage us­ing es­sen­tial oils, be­fore heated, salt-filled poul­tices are placed along your back. Th­ese warm­ing pouches are set on spe­cific spots — the back chakras, be­lieved to be cen­tres of en­ergy — and left for a while, as you are en­cour­aged to breathe deeply and sim­ply be.

Don’t ex­pect a phys­i­cally ther­a­peu­tic ex­pe­ri­ence. This is a more med­i­ta­tive mas­sage, and one that con­tin­ues to re­duce ten­sion and sup­port re­lax­ation long af­ter the treat­ment is over. Sched­ule it when you have time to give your­self the gift of time and can make the most of The Spa at Nita Lake Lodge’s fa­cil­i­ties.

Vis­it­ing the Scan­di­nave Spa is a Whistler ex­pe­ri­ence not to be missed. Sit­u­ated just north of Whistler Vil­lage, this out­door/in­door hy­drother­apy spa is nes­tled in the woods, with alpine views at ev­ery turn. Vis­i­tors are en­cour­aged to spend the day cy­cling through the var­i­ous hot/cold/re­lax­ation op­tions. Raise your blood tem­per­a­ture in the steam room or sauna, then stand un­der a brac­ing Nordic shower, or plunge into a cold pool, be­fore laz­ing in a ham­mock, cozy­ing up around a fire pit, or head­ing into one of the so­lar­i­ums. Next cy­cle, pick an­other route: heat, rinse, re­lax and re­peat. There is a small café to keep you re­plen­ished, and a range of in­di­vid­ual mas­sage treat­ments can be booked in ad­vance. Come alone, or visit with a part­ner or friends; just be aware that this is a mini-re­treat and si­lence is ex­pected and en­cour­aged.

Want to get your game face on? The Spa at the Four Sea­sons Re­sort and Res­i­dences has re­cently brought in the Hy­draFa­cial MD — a cus­tom­iz­a­ble treat­ment de­signed to ac­cu­rately treat what­ever skin­care is­sues you feel need ad­dress­ing. It of­fers even ex­fo­li­a­tion while at the same time re­plen­ish­ing the skin with an­tiox­i­dants and other nu­tri­ents, both bright­en­ing the com­plex­ion and pro­vid­ing the strength to fend off what­ever the weather has in store. If you have a spe­cial oc­ca­sion in mind, try to sched­ule your fa­cial a day or two be­fore­hand for max­i­mum ben­e­fit, and con­sider adding the spa’s sig­na­ture treat­ment — a lav­ish ex­fo­li­a­tion of Cana­dian maple syrup and brown su­gar, fol­lowed by a warm clay and al­gae body wrap, Moroc­can oil scalp treat­ment, and full body mas­sage.

In Whistler for a long week­end or even a week? Head to Vida Spa at the Fair­mont Chateau Whistler for a three- or five­day Ayurveda Cleanse, and put your whole self back in bal­ance. Be­gin­ning with a con­sul­ta­tion to iden­tify your dosha (body type) — vatta, pitta or kapha — the pro­gram in­volves 90-minute daily treat­ments in­clud­ing a full body oil­ing, detox­i­fy­ing in a cedar steam cab­i­net con­fig­ured to your dosha, and a dry herbal ex­fo­li­a­tion. If that’s too much of a com­mit­ment, a half day is enough to take an Ayurvedic Jour­ney, with one full 90-minute cy­cle of oil/steam/ex­fo­li­a­tion as well as a head-and-scalp mas­sage and 60 min­utes of re­flex­ol­ogy. My dosha feels more bal­anced al­ready.


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