I have chosen this beautiful garden where I will send many people to be healed.
~ prophesy given to Ste. Anne’s Spa by Jay Rawlings ~
Nathalie, Beth-Anne and I could not have better celebrated the close of our inaugural year as Plenty (and 6th year writing together!) than with an overnight getaway at Ste. Anne’s Spa. We wanted a space to take stock of where we have been and where we are headed. But we also really, really wanted to enjoy each other and our friendship right here, right now, and savouring the present moment was precisely our reward at the spa.
If you have never been to Ste Anne’s, the most distinctive thing about it is the relaxed atmosphere. When guests enter the reception area with its old world feel and exposed stone, you can almost hear a collective exhale. For the time that we were there, the three of us simply left our loads behind. I could almost see a shimmering force field encircling the grounds, which magically held at bay our obligations and worries, allowing only our unencumbered selves to pass through the barrier.
The spa offers a beautiful, casually elegant and serene setting, supported with a reminder to turn off our cell phones, or to use them with discretion. Visitors were more than willing to comply; I don’t think I saw a single person using one during our visit. The laid back vibe is perhaps best exemplified by the proliferation of slow-moving puffs of white roaming throughout the inn: knowing they are somewhere special, guests take full advantage of the rare opportunity to spend most (or all) of the day in the luxurious white robes provided by the spa.
There are two types of accommodations at the spa – the cottages or rooms in the Main Inn. Each space has its own character, and ranges from historical charm to contemporary comfort. Beth-Anne, Nathalie and I stayed in the stately and gorgeous Vista Lago, and reveled in the airy spaces, country views, and amenities. We even had our own private hot tub! Travel to the Main Inn, as with all the cottages, is via spa shuttle (a red mini-van, in our case). A simple call to the inn, and the shuttle was at our doorstep within a few minutes, and a few minutes later we’d arrive at the inn.
If you’re looking to connect with a group of friends, the Vista Lago and Casa Del Sol cottages are perfect, as you have the entire cottage to yourself, and can stay up late without disturbing your neighbours and enjoy complete privacy. On the other hand, if you’d like to pad around in your slippers for your entire stay and avoid transportation details altogether, consider a room the original or new wing of the Main Inn.
Ste. Anne’s has a well-earned reputation for excellence when it comes to food, and we could not have been more impressed. In the dining room, where you will see more diners in white robes than not, the meals were delicious, varied, and beautifully presented, somehow managing to be indulgent and wholesome at the same time. The culinary crew leaves no guest untended with wonderful menu selections for omnivores, vegetarians, vegans, and also has liberal gluten-free and dairy-free options. Critically important for us is that the food was not only delectable, but abundant. You will not be hungry at Ste. Anne’s! In addition to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, they also serve a lovely tea, and the lounge always has snacks. The spa is an unlicensed facility, and guests are invited to bring their favourite drinks to the dining room. You are also welcome to keep drinks and food in the fridges that are available with all accommodations.
And of course Ste. Anne’s renowned spa services almost need no commentary – there is an immense range of treatments to revitalize and heal. There really is something for everyone here. If there is any difficulty to surmount, it would be the challenge of narrowing down the choices to what you can manage during your stay.
I would however be remiss if I didn’t tell you about Ste. Anne’s Skin Nourishment products. This simple, quality line heals and nourishes the face, body and hair. With a focus on natural products and ingredients grown on their own grounds, this line provides premium care for the skin without the use of petrochemicals, sulfates, PEGs/PPGs, parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances or synthetic preservatives. Their Drench facial serum is never far from my reach in the winter!
There are numerous staff at Ste. Anne’s spa to attend to any questions or needs you may have. For the caregivers among us, this feeling of being cared for, down to the details that usually only we notice, was proof that we really could lay down our duties and unwind. This was a different kind of vacation than the ones we usually take: on this getaway, there was no obligation to do anything at all, except what felt good to us.
Before leaving on the trip, Beth-Anne’s mother asked her, with just a touch of concern, whether Nathalie and I were aware of Beth-Anne’s introverted predilections. We laughed about this because, well, Nathalie and I are aware of them, and are in proud possession of our own. We enjoyed every moment we spent together, including all of our meals, but it was nothing for me to go off on my own to the Fieldstone Grotto for a soak in the hot tub (and plunge pool and lap pool) under the stars and falling snow, while Nathalie read in front of the fireplace in our cottage, and while Beth-Anne retired for the night. We also chose different wellness classes (I practiced yoga, Nathalie took stretch, while Beth-Anne chose meditation). There was no guilt or expectation in how we engaged with our exquisite friendship goal. Rather, we were embodying the very purpose of Ste. Anne’s, which was to be ourselves, and enjoy.
The one thing that could have made this trip better? Staying for two days! Getting away for a day spa or an overnight trip is a wonderful thing, but if you can somehow swing a second night, you will not regret it. Not only is there a wide array of spa services, but there is also plenty to explore, and we would have loved more time to visit the stables and gluten-free bakery, walk the trails, enjoy the eucalyptus steam room, melt into the massage chairs in the Quiet Room, or simply relax in the beautiful rooms and cottages. In other words, the extra day will give you even more of what you probably most need and what Ste Anne’s does best: rest and rejuvenation.
We extend huge, warm thanks to Ste. Anne’s Spa for generously hosting Plenty’s overnight getaway (and providing photos for this article). We loved it! All opinions are our own.