I fell in love with St. Anne’s, the popular Ontario Destination Spa during my first visit about 10 years ago. At that time, I was nervous as a solo first time visitor. However, I was immediately put at ease by the warm staff and peaceful environment. Recently, I had the opportunity to return for a mid-week getaway, with my husband, Brian. I’m happy to say that even though Ste. Anne’s has grown and changed, the original atmosphere still prevails.
My husband and I pulled up on a crisp fall day and couldn’t wait to go into the main inn to get started. The Main Building on the property is an impressive stone house that was built in 1858 by Samuel Massey, the grandson of an early pioneer couple. He chose an ideal location for his home—on a plateau overlooking miles of rolling countryside with Lake Ontario on the horizon. After being used as a family vacation home by various owners, the property was purchased by the Corocan family in the early 80’s. The family has worked as a team to get the property in shape and at this point, one of the sons, Jim Corocan is continuing with innovations such as the addition of spa cottages, a bakery, a horse stable and a wellness facility.
Our visit began with a short tour and introduction to the site. All guests are given this type of introduction when they arrive. We were offered slippers and comfortable hooded velour robes to wear for the next 24 hours, if we so chose. My husband, who is a “dress down” kind of guy was happy to wear the robe for our entire stay.
I was excited to be booked into the Parlour Room which is located on the main floor ofthe original building. This bright room, with French doors opening to the courtyard, features a gas fireplace, a comfortable sitting area and heritage pine flooring. In-room wifi and a jacuzzi bath for two were also welcome features.One of the best things about Ste.Anne’s Spa is that it works for people travelling alone as well for groups of friends and for couples. During a one day stay—they provide a package that includes 4 meals! Our itinerary had times listed for Afternoon Tea, Dinner, Breakfast and Lunch. I kid you not! The menus are excellent and it is a lot of fun to be pampered by having the opportunity to order three course gourmet meals in a country classic dining room. Somehow, we managed to fit in time for spa treatments, wellness classes and unstructured relaxation during the one day stay.
Relaxation and a casual atmosphere are encouraged, so all guests are issued robes when they arrive which are welcome to be worn in the dining area. Most people book some spa treatments and/or exercise classes for their stay but there are also amenities such as a plunge pool, hot tub and lap pool in the outdoor area known as the grotto. This is open year round—and it was fun to go in during our colder weather stay which was in the fall. In the summer there is a large pool overlooking the hills to enjoy.
We opted to go immediately to tea before even seeing our room as we had a lot to do in less than 24 hours. The tea menu was lovely with options that were savory, sweet or both combined. The servers are all patient and enthusiastic as the spa goers peruse the menus that are filled with healthy options–but not at the expense of taste or dessert.
The meals make sure that there is lots of couple time but there is plenty do on your own as well. While Brian sat in one of the relaxation rooms gazing out at the scenic views while getting a back massage from his chair–I curled up one of the couches in the pretty yellow parlour outside our bedroom and read a magazine.
We both enjoyed sitting in the hot tub in the cool evening air and chatting to another couple who were doing the same thing as us–getting away for some quality time together. There is also a eucalyptus steam room quite near the exit to the grotto, which is good for relaxing and clearing the sinuses!
Spa treatments can really make or break the experience. I find that having a rapport with the clinician is imperative for me to enjoy the experience. They really go out of their way at St. Anne’s to understand the client’s needs. Brian has MS so he needed someone who understood the neurological aspects of massage and he was quite happy with his masseur.
I choose to have a treatment called: Synchronized Tuning– which was a combination of mini-treatments depending on my preferences and the spa therapists specialties. My spa therapist spent time discussing my concerns and then we decided together how to proceed. Although this was an interesting approach–I think I benefit more from one treatment at a time, in depth. But it is a good option to try different things.
As we explored the property, I learned that a number of cottages had been added since my list visit. This gives groups or couples the option of a more private space with kitchen facilities, if required. They have also added something called Equine Experiences, which gives guests the opportunity to spend time grooming or riding their horses. There is also now a completely gluten free bakery onsite and the gift shop was expanded and includes lots of great products and fun gift ideas. We bought the Feathery Pear Tea so that we could take a little bit of Ste. Anne’s home with us.