My Ste. Anne's Spa Experience
I've never had a luxury spa experience until I visited Ste. Anne's Spa in Grafton, Ontario. I paid a whopping 333 CAD for a day trip to the spa. But was it worth it? Here's my breakdown of the good and the bad I experienced:
Check-in process 5/5
COVID Protocols 3/5
Customer Service 3/5
Spa Experience 3.5/5
Before my arrival, I received an email from the spa to fill out a registration card. This includes information like your license plate number (if you're driving to the spa), contact information, reservation information, COVID screening questions, expectations at the spa and a liability waiver and release form. Under the expectations at the spa section, it listed that guests must wear a mask at all times but staff do not need to. This could be a red flag for some people who wish to use the spa but are worried about COVID measures.
In their emails, they also provided me with a list of what to bring so I could easily pack what was necessary.
Arriving at the spa
As we pulled into the parking lot, we were surprised to see the lot filled with cars despite the pandemic. Our visit started with getting checked in at a small booth outside near the parking lot. The employee at the booth who checked us in stood outside with no mask and gave us our locker wristbands. He then directed us inside where we would be screened and given an orientation of the spa.
None of the front desk staff did a COVID screening upon our arrival, the only screening we did prior to this was the online form and telephone call a few days before. They jumped straight into a tour of the facility. Getting the tour when we first arrived made it easy to go about our day at ease. Masks were mandatory at all times and extra masks were provided in the lobby. All staff inside the facility wore masks.
I had a facial appointment at 11:15 am so we killed time in the massage chair room. There were only about 10 chairs in the room and given that it was the most popular room, we waited about 20 min till we could grab one. When using a chair, you are required to wear a pair of clean socks provided and wipe it down for the next person when you're done. Another note is that the chairs are not situated 2 meters apart so you are within the bubble of other guests although everyone is wearing a mask. The chairs are great and I can understand why they were so popular. I relaxed as I looked over the grounds of the spa from the window, listened to my music and read my book.
Once it was time for my facial, I walked to the area where we check-in for treatments. The kind staff at the front desk handed me a medical form to fill out and a COVID screening form (finally). I waited in the waiting area until a woman called my name for my treatment.
I had never gotten a facial before so I was super excited! My aesthetician was kind and made me feel very comfortable. The facial begins with a foot scrub that made my feet feel so soft. During this process, she asked me about my skin routine and any problem areas I might have. When it was time for the facial, she did a quick analysis of my skin and provided me with tips on what I can do to improve it. By the end of the facial, she gave me a list of products she used. The experience was amazing, I had never had my skin feel so good after a treatment! The facial treatment also included a gentle hand, foot and head massage. It was so relaxing I almost fell asleep!
After my facial, my skin felt super hydrated and I walked to lunch as relaxed as I had ever been in a long time. Our lunch reservation was for 12:30 pm. We got to have all our meals in our robes and take our masks off at the table as each table had plastic dividers. All the staff in the dining area wore masks and served us quickly. Our server also asked if we had a treatment coming up soon in case our food had to come out quicker. We didn't have any other treatments so we were able to eat our lunch at ease.
For appetizers, I ordered the arancini, they were crispy, warm and actually quite filling! My sister ordered the beef carpaccio which she seemed to enjoy. My mom ordered the BC rockfish cake, but I wasn't a fan of the presentation or the taste as it looked more like a pancake and the fish was dry.
For the main course, I ordered the club panini, with roasted chicken breast, cranberry aioli, aged local white cheddar, apple cabbage slaw and crispy bacon on cranberry sourdough. It looked really great on the menu and when I got the panini the presentation was wonderful. When I took a bite into it, the chicken breast was too thick and the bread was so crispy I was finding it hard to bite into. All the ingredients in the panini went well with each other and the food was a good portion.
My sister was looking forward to having the slow-roasted porchetta but unfortunately, they were all sold out as it is a very popular item for them. She ordered the brisket sandwich instead but noted it was too salty. My mom ordered the chicken and mash, a pretty basic dish accompanied by some green vegetables, that was just okay.
For dessert, my mom and my sister ordered the crême brûlée and I decided to try the lemon meringue tart. I regret not getting the crême brûlée, it was so delicious and creamy I said, "Mmm" after every bite I stole from my sister. The fruit that came with my tart had a bug in it, and I left feedback for them to wash their fruit thoroughly before serving.
It's nice to have lunch included in your visit, but not the best experience at the spa.
After lunch, we decided to try out the hydrotherapy pools. I was so excited to get back into any form of pool after so long of not being in one since the pandemic. Outside in the rain, there were 4 different pools at different temperatures. The two pools at the bottom were the coolest and the two at the top were the hottest. My favourite was the "lazy pool" with no jets but you could just rest your head and lounge in the warm shallow water. I spent just over an hour here, relaxing and taking videos until my phone slipped into the water! Shame on me for being too much of a content creator. Masks were not required while in the pool area.
After the therapy pools, we headed back to the dining area for our 4:30 pm afternoon tea! Our waiter this time was a bit intimidating and looked like he didn't want to waste his time or our time either. We all ordered the gluten-free sampler that came with a variety of finger foods. I also ordered a matcha latte that was prepared very well. Our drinks arrived first before our food and we didn't feel it was enough to satisfy the food we had so we ordered a pot of oolong tea. After our food was served, we never saw our waiter again. Our glasses were empty and we were thirsty but couldn't flag a waiter down as none were in sight. The tea time food was not my favourite. Many things didn't compliment each other and the only thing that tasted good was the one macaron they provided me with.
There are two shelves of towels located in the locker room and near the hydrotherapy pools. They also provide hand towels by the sink, you just grab one when you need it and toss it in the basket when you're done. I thought the towels could have a more environmentally conscious system. They could provide everyone with one or two towels for the day to conserve water and energy.
After tea time, we took advantage of the shower facilities in the locker room. The showers had one of those rain showerheads that I love and shampoo, conditioner, body wash and body lotion dispensers attached to the wall. All the products they provided were great and made my skin and hair feel smooth and smelling like peppermint.
When it was time to leave, I filled my water bottle up one more time with their delicious lemon and cucumber-infused natural spring water they retrieve from their grounds. If you choose to add any treatments to your day, decide to purchase the products they have or order extra food/drinks, it will all be automatically billed and charged to the credit card they have on file from you.
Was it worth it?
Relaxing hydrotherapy pools
Long waits for massage chairs
A lot of guests during a pandemic
Minimal access to areas due to COVID restrictions
As it rained all day today, we didn't get to explore the gorgeous grounds of Ste. Anne's Spa. Since the pandemic, they shut down their eucalyptus steam room and sauna which I was very much looking forward to using. All the spa experiences I had were great. If we weren't in a pandemic, I think the experience would be worth what you're paying for as you would also have access full access to all their facilities. They also have overnight experiences at a higher price but I think I may consider one post-pandemic. Nevertheless, the spa is always looking for feedback to improve, which I appreciated, as they called and emailed me to ask how my stay was.
Would you consider having a spa day here? What are your favourite treatments to pamper yourself?