Canada's Best Spas 2009 From Spa Industry Journalist Anne Dimon and Traveltowellness.com

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TraveltoWellness.com announces its top spa picks in Canada for 2009. Eight new categories of best spas and 33 categories in total. The annual list of best spas is compiled by veteran spa journalist Anne Dimon.

it's a label that consumers will continue to seek out and respond to.

http://www.traveltoWellness.com announces its 2009 top spa picks in Canada.

Anne Dimon veteran spa industry journalist, seasoned travel writer and publisher/editor of http://www.traveltowellness.com says the Best Spas Canada list was introduced three years ago in response to the question most frequently asked by her readers: "So, what's the best spa?" While the term 'best' is, and will always be, subjective, Dimon says, "it's a label that consumers will continue to seek out and respond to."

According to the recently released 2008 Global Consumer Study by U.S.- based ISPA (the International Spa Association) Canadian spa-goers visit a spa about three times a year. The survey says the number one treatment in Canada is massage (74 per cent), followed by mani/pedi, facial, body scrub or wrap and reflexology. Sixty per cent of people surveyed said the primary reason for visiting a spa was to relax and relieve/reduce stress.

Regardless of the treatment or the reason(s) behind a spa visit, "consumers are always looking for the best value and the best spa experience," says Anne Dimon.

Here, (listed from east to west), are five of eight brand new Best Spas Canada categories for 2009. The complete 33-category list of Canada's best spas - including Most Unusual Spa Treatment - is posted at http://www.traveltowellness.com/bestspascanada.

Best new "green" day spa - Infinima, Ste. Foy, Quebec

At Infinima, located in Ste Foy (about a 15-minute drive from Old Quebec City), the owners have introduced leading edge "green" practices and protocols. For instance, LED lighting throughout reduces the energy impact and a "smart" heating system controls the heating and cooling of rooms automatically. The system is so "smart," we're told, that it "steals" heat from an area that is too warm and delivers it to an area that is too cold. To reduce waste they give reusable plastic bottles to clients to fill from a purified water system. We also loved the décor, which includes a three-level re-circulating water feature in a natural stone-wrapped circular staircase flooded with therapeutic coloured LED lights.    

Most Exotic Outdoor Experience - Ofuro, Morin-Heights, Quebec

Drenched in a Japanese theme - pagoda-style architecture, Japanese art, furnishings and sculptures are everywhere - Spa Ofuro is Canada's most uniquely-decorated and exotic "nature" spa.

To the sounds of a mountain stream cascading over boulders, guests breathe in the fresh air and soak up the benefits of nature from one of several pools, from lounge chairs set out on various decks or while snuggling in a swaying hammock. Unlike many such spas that offer only massages, Ofuro's full menu of spa services including the more exotic Satori (colour energy therapy), a Japanese-style hammam and, of course, Shiatsu.

Best New "Alternative" Therapy - Holtz Spa, Ottawa

Holtz Spa's new Spirit of the Forest - Vibrational Healing Experience is a unique 80-minute experience involving the vibrational resonance of the essences of Canadian trees. Following the lineage of Bach Flower Remedies, tree essences are believed to have special healing qualities that speak to emotional well-being and vitality.

The treatment includes a verbal and vibrational assessment, then a selection of an appropriate tree essence (or combination of several), a natural dry brushing over the entire body, a misting, a gentle massage, an energy balancing ritual and a relaxing tree essence beverage post treatment.

Best Country Charm - Spa at the Inn on the Twenty, Jordan Village Niagara, Ontario

Nestled on the tiny, perfect main street of the teeny town of Jordan, just a few steps from the hotel lobby and housed in its own historically-designated building, is the Spa at Inn on the Twenty.

The definitive "country cottage feel" is created with the help of furnishings and fixtures including beautifully-preserved golden pine floors, an antique pine door framing a mirror in the change room, a black iron fireplace in the lounge and inn-made biscotti in a cookie jar. There are country-style cupboards filled with retail
products in the reception area, and on the treatment beds - country quilts.    

Best Hiking Program - Coastal Trek, Courtenay, (Vancouver Island), B.C.

The intimate, family-run Coastal Trek retreat, located in Vancouver Island's Comax Valley, is all about health and hiking. From a selection of about 100 nearby hiking options, a different guided hike is scheduled each day based on the interests and fitness levels of guests. Structured programs include yoga sessions and healthy cooking classes.

While Coastal Trek is more about fitness and healthy eating than "spa-ing," there are two spa treatment rooms on-site, and guests select from a limited menu of services.

The Travel to Wellness Best Spas Canada list is not the result of a "reader survey," it's not based on the number of online "hits" or "searches," and it is not linked in anyway to advertising. It is the result of input from Canadian tourist boards and spa associations, and Dimon's own travels across the country researching stories such as the December '08 cover feature on Canadian spas for Singapore-based Spa Asia Magazine. Dimon, the prime contributor to Glow Magazine's Canada Spa Guide for the last three years, also shares her "spa savvy" with the industry: she is a panel member of the CTC's Spa Initiative to identify Canadian spas offering a distinctly Canadian spa experience (to date 58 spas across Canada have been flagged), and is working with Leading Spas of Canada on their April conference.

According to ISPA there are an estimated 2,800 spas across Canada.

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