There are several determining factors that set a spa destination apart from a standard spot for a massage or facial. Aside from the practical considerations—can you spend a night or even a weekend there?—the design, the type of treatments, the quality of the experience, and the overall amenities separate an average spa from the exceptional.
These spa destinations in B.C. offer experiences that are unique to them, be it through noteworthy design, stunning location, or top-notch treatments. Perhaps even all of the above.
- Also check out our list of the best outdoor spas.
Kurspa at Sparkling Hill Resort, Vernon
People walk around Sparkling Hill, the aptly named property in Vernon that glitters from afar, in their bathrobes all day every day because the hotel is best known for its spa. There are seven saunas and steam rooms with various themes, three indoor pools, one outdoor infinity pool, and two cool-down areas plus an extensive menu of spa services. Choose from massages, body scrubs, wraps, Italian fango (mud) treatments, or the Austrian Empress Sissi experience, which entails a milk and honey bath surrounded by golden marble with a glass of champagne followed by a massage.
There are also facials and a salon with hair and nail services available too. Plus, options for people who are pregnant. The spa treatments are informed by different cultural wellness rituals; there are also clinic services like IV vitamin drips, anti-inflammatory injections and other naturopathic treatments.
Grotto Spa at Tigh-Na-Mara, Parksville
The Grotto Spa was named the number one spa in B.C. by travel site Spas of America. The design emulates nature and looks like a tropical cave sprung up indoors with a mineral pool, waterfall and whirlpool. There's a tapas bar attached to the spa where visitors can dine on small plates and sip on wine in their robe and slippers before or after their treatments.
Guests can add on hydrotherapy or hand and foot paraffin treatments to their full-body massage or facial, which uses Eminence organic skin care products. There's also a salon onsite that offers hair and nail appointments.
People who are into the mineral pool and food but want to forgo the treatments can book a package that gives access to the grotto for three hours with endless tapas dining.
Tuscan Spa at Villa Eyrie, Victoria
This 14-room boutique hotel resembles a mansion and was built in the 1980s. Changes have been made to update the decor but it largely retains a sort of bed and breakfast charm.
The spa is small with only three treatment rooms; what it lacks in size it makes up for in treatment options. The facial menu at the Tuscan Spa comes with an additional list of facial enhancements, including an eye refresh or lip exfoliation.
In addition to the standard list of facials and massages, there is also a treatment menu specifically for men, quick 30-minute treatments, body wraps and scrubs, and waxing.
There's an indoor pool on the property and many of the rooms have large spa soaker tubs, including one in the centre of the room surrounded by pillars and one in the shape of a heart.
The Kingfisher Oceanside Resort and Spa, Courteney
The Kingfisher spa is a burrow of hidden relaxation spots. The "Pacific Mist Hydropath" is a one-hour self-guided experience where people move from shower to massage pool to waterfall to steam cave, all of which look like they're hewn from sandstone. There are eight stops along the path in total and it can be booked as a single experience or as part of another spa treatment. An outdoor heated pool, hot tub, infrared sauna and steam cave are available to all hotel and spa guests. They can also use the Serenity Gardens with Adirondack chairs and fire bowls.
The Kingfisher has a long spa menu but one of the most notable offerings is the Twilight Spa rituals. These after-dark treatments are meant to release the tension of the day and help promote sleep. There are six 90-minute treatments to choose from, one of which includes a full body scrub followed by a soak in a hydrotherapy tub with 144 jets and scalp massage. The room is bathed in purple light with little pinpricks that resemble stars. The Twilight rituals can be booked between 5 and 9 p.m.
Shades of Jade Inn and Spa, Roberts Creek
This boutique spa on the Sunshine Coast is a little different. It's only got two overnight accommodations that require a three-night minimum otherwise it functions as a day spa.
They offer classic, stone, Shiatsu and Tai massage as well as Reiki and reflexology in a beautiful remote location surrounded by lush forest. There is also a zen room that can be booked by couples or groups looking to extend their afternoon stay with tea and a charcuterie lunch; alternatively, guests can also bring their own lunch.
This spa is smaller and more casual than the others on this list but it's the unique West Coast meets Japanese wooden architecture and setting that makes the property special. A stop here can also be a part of a larger Sunshine Coast trip, perhaps with a stop at the Painted Boat Resort spa or the West Coast Wilderness Lodge.
Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Pacific Rim, Vancouver
It is largely agreed that the Willow Stream spa is the best of the three Vancouver Fairmonts. Spa guests have full use of the facilities, which include a jacuzzi, steam room, mineral bath, infrared sauna, fitness centre, and indoor lounges, for two hours pre- or post-treatment. There is also a light food and beverage menu with a wine and cocktails list and snacks such as bento boxes, spicy tuna rolls, sandwiches and salads that can be ordered at check-in to enjoy while you lounge.
In terms of treatments, the menu is pretty standard when it comes to massages but the list of 10 facials covers a wide range of skin concerns and outcomes, from oxygen facials to LED light facials and preventative lifting facials. There are also a number of body treatments to choose from that offer dry brushing, exfoliation, body wraps, and facial masks all in one session.