It’s been a few weeks since I returned from a wellness retreat to Ste. Anne’s Spa with four fabulous women. As we wind down a hectic week as a family, you could say visions of returning to this place where rejuvenation is the only thing on your agenda are swirling through my mama mind.
I get that our lives are full and it can seem impossible to carve out time to step away from our families and to-do lists that resemble conveyor belts, and oh that mama guilt that can overtake us for even considering it. But I promise you, investing in yourself, reconnecting with your inner being and tending to your overwhelmed mama spirit is not at all selfish. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. When we stop deferring our needs and make our own wellness a priority it gives back in kind to all facets of our lives, including the people we love most.
So, without further adieu, I share 4 reasons you should stop hesitating and book your own wellness retreat with your favourite ladies to experience the all-inclusive ah-mazingness of Ste. Anne’s Spa stat!
Our experience was part of the All-Inclusive Overnight package, which included: Four-diamond accommodation, 4-Course dinner, Breakfast, 3-Course lunch, Afternoon tea, use of Ste. Anne’s signature robe, $120 spa & wellness allowance, complete use of the facilities. Our stay was complimentary – all opinions are my own.
1) The Come as You Are Culture
The drive up the windy road to Ste. Anne’s Spa is where you begin to feel transported into another world unlike the hurried and harried one you’ve temporarily left behind, with signs like “Yield to Your Inner Self” and “Turn off your tech” inviting you to let go, surrender and pay attention to the gorgeous surroundings before you – a historic castle placed amidst gardens and buildings with all the country charm, situated on over 400 acres of landscape in the Northumberland Hills.
Check-in was seamless and where you’ll receive your itinerary and signature Ste. Anne’s Spa robe for your stay. Robe-all-day is encouraged, and it’s not at all weird to wear it from check in to check out (even to dine in!) There is no need to dress to impress here. I totally overpacked and could have left 80% of my cargo back home. Destressing is what they’re all about, so have a peek at their What to Bring With You list before you go.
Every encounter with staff was a pleasant one, and while the atmosphere is completely relaxed and unpretentious, they go out of their way to ensure your experience is a refreshing, uplifting one.
Also, note – no tipping allowed! It’s all included with your package.
2) Cottages with a View
Our group of ladies was accommodated in the stunning Casa del Sol – hello serenity! This stand-alone cottage holds up to 10 people comfortably, with impressive amenities like 2 King, 2 Queen & 2 Twin Beds, 3 Bedrooms & 2 Open Bedrooms, Large Full Kitchen, Living & Dining Room, 3 Bathrooms, 2 Gas Fireplaces, and a Private, Wrap-around Porch with lush green backdrop to watch the gorgeous sunsets (hence its name “House of the Sun” in Spanish), and an Outdoor Hot Tub to unwind to the max.
You’ll love the seclusion of its location while being just a short walking distance to the main inn and spa amenities. I have a photo on my vision board that reminded me so much of this gorgeous spot, and a stay here felt slightly serendipitous. I have no doubt you and your lady gang will feel inspired and rejuvenated with a stay here too.
3) Crowd-Pleasing Country Cuisine
The tastes of Ste. Anne’s are one of the best things about your all-inclusive stay, and something to please every palate in your party won’t be hard to find. The chefs have carefully selected offerings that will no doubt fuel your food-loving soul, and are more than happy to accommodate allergies and dietary restrictions to offer an inclusive gastro experience.
Some of my absolute faves were the Beef Tataki Salad, the Chicken Curry Bowl, the Beef dinner special, and the mouth-watering strawberry rhubarb ice cream paired with their fresh Butter Tarts made on site a the Ste. Anne’s Bakery. Deprivation wasn’t on the agenda.
Many of the meals are made with fresh herbs/ingredients picked daily from the gardens on the grounds. The service was friendly, and the atmosphere relaxed and quaint, and you are welcome (in fact encouraged!) to bring your own wine or liquor to dinner. A girls’ getaway perk!
The Afternoon Tea is such a treat, with an array of mini delights – sandwiches, crackers, cheeses and sweets presented on a tiered platter (vegan & gluten-free versions available!), which you can pair with your favourite tea from an extensive selection (as with all other dining experiences). I’m not a huge tea drinker but did quite enjoy the Feathery Pair and Luscious Cranberry varieties. With the fabulous weather we had, we were able to enjoy our tea time on the outdoor patio.
4) The Serene Sights & Soul-Fuelling Services
From a morning stroll in the tranquility, and English gardens, to a dip in the Springwater, heated outdoor pool with views of sprawling fields and a glimpse of Lake Ontario, you could call the Ste. Anne’s spa grounds the soul’s playground. The grotto area, while small, is a beautiful must visit spot, and the soon to be complete hydrotherapy pools will be a wonderful addition to their already extensive wellness services menu.
There are Muskoka chairs scattered all over the grounds, encouraging you to pause and soak it all in – solo or with a friend as I did shortly after arriving and got lost in meaningful conversation. There are trails scattered around the grounds with a mix of forest, meadow or brooks you can follow with a map to take in the beauty of the natural surroundings. You may even spot a deer! (Bring your camera!).
Just plunking your butt down to enjoy a hot cup of whatever, read that book or magazine you’ve been meaning to get to, or challenging yourself to a jigsaw puzzle are great options too, and there are lots of little nooks scattered around to sit and savour the solitude.
Our package came with $120 spa/wellness allowance, and it took me some time to select from the incredible, enticing treatment/class offerings. I settled on the Ste. Anne’s Signature Facial and was not at all disappointed. More than just a rejuvenating and soothing facial, my fabulous Esthetician Emily also worked on my feet, legs, arms and hands. I felt so relaxed I even dozed off at one point. I get nervous trying new products on my skin that is highly sensitive, but my skin faired well with all the products applied, and at the end of the service was given a skin profile with a list of all the skin care products used – all from Ste. Anne’s Skin Nourishment line make of natural, 100% botanical ingredients you can purchase on-site at the boutique, along with clothing, unique jewelry and all the teas they offer while you dine (a little shopping therapy).
Next time I visit (and there will certainly be a next time), I want to try their Yoga Nidra wellness class, Aroma Stone Massage & Reiki Treatment. Depending on the time of year you go, they also have seasonal treatments, like those infusing Pumpkin Spice ingredients for the Fall months, for instance.
With such an extensive services menu, I completely understand why Ste. Anne’s is known as Canada’s leading health spa.
I will not soon forget the scrumptious eats and soul-fuelling sights and sensations of Ste. Anne’s Spa made better only because of the fabulous company of women I enjoyed it with. Solitude was found, and complete Mom-zen status was attained. The buildings may over 100 years old, but you’ll leave feeling completely restored. I could keep rambling on about how much I fell in love with this rejuvenating place, but really, you just need to go to experience it for yourself. So, don’t hesitate, and go plan your getaway now! Autumn would be a beautiful time to visit 🙂 Next time I may take the hubs along – grateful for that devoted Daddy who held it down at home so I could recharge, and no doubt he could some R & R too.
Love & Light,