Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Relaxing Hydrotherapy

Looking down on the various baths in Scandinave Spa on a snowy day
I'm in Vancouver for the holidays and a very good friend of mine arranged for us to go to Whistler today to try Scandinave Spa there. On Yelp many rave about it and we were about to find out why.

We left Vancouver around 9am and managed to arrive at the spa at 10.20am. I hadn't gone up to Whistler since the mid 1990s so it was a surprise for me to see how developed the ski mecca has become, particularly after the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The Sea to Sky Highway has improved significantly, with stretches widened with two lanes, or straightened and not as winding and treacherous as before.

As we approached Whistler, light rain became snow and the area became a winter wonderland with evergreen trees covered in white.

Lots of fog spread around Whistler to create a moody feel
We turned off to Spruce Grove Way and continued up a winding path to the spa. When we arrived, there was a line up! A line up at a spa which seemed unusual.

Once it was our turn to check in for the outdoor bath access (CAD$58), we were given two large towels and key locks and told the changing rooms were downstairs. The biggest rule here is silence! Everyone is instructed to leave their mobile phones behind in the lockers and not to talk, though many spoke in hushed tones during our visit.

After changing into bathing suits, we wrapped up in towels and headed outside to the baths. I didn't bring any flip flops -- and was surprised the spa didn't provide any footwear, but just as well. Walking barefoot outside wasn't too cold -- or was it because we didn't have too far to go?

First stop was the steam eucalyptus steam room. It's circular and amphitheatre style with three layers of seating with the strong smell of eucalyptus to keep people awake.

Since we arrived soon after it opened, the steam room was jam packed with people, but they eventually left. After about 10 minutes we were sweating and needed to get out of the heat. We headed to the cold pool with the water set at 17 degrees. What a shock to the system! I didn't stay in there long!

A modern fireplace and nice tree ornament
Our next stop was the warm relaxation pool, where we felt like those Japanese snow monkeys that hang out in the hot spring baths, as snow was still falling on us, albeit lightly.

Probably my favourite place was the solarium, though there wasn't much sun here, but it was warm. We sat in recliners and listened to new age music; I couldn't help but close my eyes and nap for a bit, though on our second round, some men were actually snoring!

We did the process all over again and this time I plunged into the cold pool -- interestingly we were cold but not freezing, perhaps because our body temperatures were hot from being in the steam room and then back into the jacuzzi.

Needless to say we were thoroughly relaxed. Was it that we were in a beautiful setting? Everyone keeping quiet and focused on having a relaxing time? Or because we were soaking to the point of becoming like prunes?

After a few hours here, we showered and then put our clothes on again. My only gripe was the changing room didn't seem spa-like -- more like a gym, and even then the floor wasn't very clean, which makes a difference when you aren't wearing flip flops... If this was my gym in Hong Kong, the floor would be free of dust bunnies for sure!

We sat in the lobby for about 15 minutes, drinking some cold(!) water of lemon and cucumber, a few glasses to replenish our systems before heading out for a very late lunch at 3pm.

If just going to the outdoor baths was relaxing, imagine pairing it with a massage too!

Scandinave Spa
8010 Mons Road
(604) 935 2424


  1. I suspect not having your mobile phones for a time helped you folks to relax. There's nothing like a digital detox every once in a while! ;)

    1. HI YTSL! Well... I think they don't want incidents of people dropping mobile phones into the pools and also taking inappropriate pictures of people too... but yeah it is nice to focus on enjoying the moment!

  2. They do offer massages and facials, in fact the facials are what they are known for even in the middle of Canada. Hi from the middle-earth-Canada!