Happy Sunday, everyone 🙂 This weekend I took an exciting adventure up to Canada with my aunt and did something I have never done before; go to a day spa!! A few months ago I heard about this place from my cousins who took a trip up there themselves. After seeing the photos and hearing about their experience I knew I had to make plans to go myself sometime soon. That “sometime” finally arrived yesterday and it was such a magical day. The name of the spa is Thermea and it is a norweigan/Nordik spa. It is located only a few miles outside of downtown Winnipeg and was only about a 2 and half hour drive from where I live. It was a short drive and it felt like such a getaway.
The spa offers a number of things: massages, body treatments (facials, foot baths, etc), a bistro, relaxation chalets, saunas, and pools of all temperatures (cold, temperate, and hot). The main premise of the spa is to experience what they call a “thermal cycle”. While enjoying the spa you’re supposed to cycle through the spaces going from hot, to cold, to relaxation. This cycle of temperature changes supports release of toxins, feelings of adrenaline, and the release of endorphins. The Nordik culture believes that this cycle promotes healing and relaxation.
In order to complete a cycle you’re supposed to spend about 10-15 minutes in each step: in one of the three styles of saunas for “hot”, in the temperate or cold pool for the “cold”, and then in one of the rest areas or outdoor fire pit seating for the “relaxation” phase. If you go to the spa you can choose to just pay for the thermal cycle and then can spend as long as you want (a c ouple of hours or all day long!) going through the steps and enjoying the different amenities.
When my aunt and I arrived we had each booked a 60 minutes Swedish massage so after checking in and changing clothes we started our day with the massage. It was the perfect start to the day and when we were done we started off the remainder of the day feeling relaxed. We decided to eat lunch at the bistro restaurant following the massages before beginning the thermal cycle and experiencing the other parts of the spa. The food was fantastic and added to the unique atmosphere. My aunt enjoyed a cucumber, beet, and sprout sandwich with tomato basil soup while I enjoyed a lunch bowl filled with ham, cheese, peas, kale, radishes, tomatoes, jalapenos, a hardboiled egg, pepitas, and crème fraiche. And wine….of course!
After lunch we got started on completing the steps of the thermal cycle. We started in the Finnish dry sauna. While we were in there we got to take part in a ritual called the Aufguss. An employee placed ice infused with a variety of essential oils in the rocks of the sauna and then performed the ritual by dancing and moving the oils throughout the room. It was beautiful and interesting to watch. She used mint, patchouli, amber, and rosemary essential oils: all separately so that you could experience the smell and effects of each one.
After the sauna we took a quick run through the polerber ice cold waterfall (and ICE COLD is right…brrr) and then spent 10 or so minutes in the temperate pool to complete the cold part of the cycle. Then it was off to the relaxation chalet to spend time reading and resting. In the chalet they have both heated beds and heated lounge chairs. We settled in to the chairs and dug in to our books. We also read in a separate relaxation area and even dozed off for a short nap under the comfortable blankets that they provided.
Following our naps we felt like we deserved a treat and had worked up an appetite from all of that relaxing! We went out to one of the outdoor firepit areas and ordered hot chocolate and s’mores. We took in the dusk as the sun was setting while drinking the warm cocoa and roasting the marshmallows.
We weren’t quite ready to leave so we decided to take in some more “hot” time by soaking in the huge hot spring/hot tub and then spending some time in both the wet sauna infused with orange essential oil and then a barrel-shaped dry sauna. That was the perfect way to wrap up the day. My aunt and I talked multiple times throughout the day about how there is no way you can have a bad day when you spend the ENTIRE day in your bathrobe. The spa dress code only allows for a swim suit, sandals, and everyone must be wearing a bath robe: whether you bring your own or rent one from them. It allows you to continue to feel relaxed all day and taking a nap in my robe is now going to become one of the simple pleasures of life for me 🙂
Overall the experience at Thermea was excellent. Since we were there on a weekend it was quite busy but I can only imagine how much more relaxing it could feel during the week when things are quieter and there aren’t as many people. They do enforce a strict silence and whisper rule throughout the spa so even with so many people there it felt nice and quiet all day. One thing that may not have been clear in my description so far is that the entire spa pool and fire pit areas are located completely outside. So even though its winter you were out in the open winter air which was refreshing and unique especially with the steam coming off of the giant hot tub and seeing people don their winter hats while in the pool with their swimming suits.
The buildings themselves were beautifully crafted and looked similar to log cabins. The ambience with the evergreens that were lit with white lights as the sun went down added an extra element of magic. The firepits scattered throughout and the stacks of fire wood give it a homey feel and seeing the piles of snow are what reminds you that you’re outside! I am already looking forward to another visit and would be interested to go again during a different season of the year to experience it in a different temperature. The last thing about the spa that I want to comment on is its affordability. For the thermal experience and the massage it was less than $200 and we spent over 8 hours there. It is a great value for your money: especially if you ensure you have the whole day free to enjoy it. They are open 7 days per week from 9 AM to 10 PM every day. If you just want to go for the thermal experience there is no need to make a reservation but it is certainly busier during weekends/holidays. If you want a massage, facial, etc. you will need to book that appointment in advance. To check out all of the details of the spa yourself follow this link to their website for rates, information, etc.
My aunt and I both really appreciate great food so we wanted to make one more stop after leaving the spa on the way to our hotel. I received some recommendations from a coworker for places to eat as she grew up in Winnipeg. We decided to check out one on her list called Baked Expectations because she said they have great desserts. We weren’t disappointed…we ordered a bacon cheeseburger to share with fries and the fries were SO delicious. Crispy and shoestring style: my favorite 🙂 Then we decided on a chocolate caramel sea salt layer cake to share for dessert as well. The piece of cake was MONSTROUS and even the two of us didn’t finish it.
It was a whirlwind weekend in Winnipeg (phew, what do you think of that alliteration, eh!?) but I’m so glad we made the trip. As I sit here writing for all of you tonight I feel relaxed and really enjoyed experiencing a weekend where all I did was take care of my self and my health. Ready to head in to a new week feeling refreshed and I’m looking forward to returning there again, maybe this summer. If after reading this post any of you are interested in going here yourself let me know and maybe we can make the trip together!
As always, thank you so much for reading. I appreciate each of you. Have a wonderful week!