Now that we can venture out again, with safety always top of mind, here are three spas in Priddis, Calgary and Canmore, Alberta to put on your feel-your-best list.
Flourish, the LIV Well Spa at Azuridge Estate Hotel, Priddis, AB
Semi-precious gems form slowly under pressure given enough time, so Sean Liv, the owner of Flourish, and Jason Glynn the GM of Azuridge Estate Hotel, took time during the pressure-filled pandemic to add more sparkle to Flourish, LIV Well Spa. The spa which re-opened in August 2021 is a jewel-filled delight.
Flourish is tucked behind the lookout tower at Azuridge, a luxurious Rundle rock and timber clad boutique property nestled in the foothills near Priddis, Alberta. Only a half-hour drive from Calgary but a world away from city life, Azuridge has thirteen gem-themed guestrooms with floor to ceiling mountain views and a team of dedicated butlers standing by to fulfil your every whim. Opal, a pond-side, open-concept fine dining restaurant features Asian and French influences and a deep wine list. Award-winning Executive Chef Yoshi Chubachi creates delicious and delightful menu items that often incorporate samples of his ice-carving skills. The spacious grounds are full of architectural surprises, and a walking path rambles through the woods.
The light-filled Flourish spa lounge overlooks a lush green lawn where deer and the occasional curious fox saunter by. A glittering green fluorite crystal, the stone of connection and healing, is the centrepiece of the room, surrounded by comfy velvet tub chairs in jewel tones. The treatment room is sprinkled with aquamarine accents, the colour of vitality and calm, and it offers a view of the lawn through sheer ivory curtains.
Guests can choose from a range of services, including facials, hot stone and relaxation massage and can also add crystal therapy treatments to any service. There are 20 stones on the Crystal Menu that increase clarity, aid transformation, and support personal power, among other attributes. The three stones selected are placed strategically during your treatment and come home with you for inspiration, and as lovely mementoes. Climb the spiral staircase to the light-filled loft for private meditation, singing bowl, or yoga session. It’s a tailored, total relaxation experience and perfect for a romantic couples weekend.
At Flourish, Sean taps into her experience with a host of wellness traditions including meditation, yoga, and nutrition. The emphasis is on positivity, personal transformation, and healthy living, mentally, physically, and spiritually. “It’s wellness with a purpose”, Liv says, “We’re all on different journeys and just to get one little piece for the next step is awesome”. It’s appropriate that Sean Liv chose healing crystals as the theme for Flourish, the LIV Well Spa, since her journey to becoming a wellness coach was also slow and intense. Liv outlines her journey from high school dropout to a successful life coach with heartfelt honesty and inspiring passion in her book, The Ticket.
R&R Wellness Spa Palliser, Calgary, AB
Sometimes the best things in life are right under your nose, like the scent of BC lavender or organic apricot oil applied with a warm towel at R&R Wellness Spa Palliser. Or perhaps you’d prefer to enjoy the aroma of chocolate truffles during an exfoliating wrap, followed by a bite of the real thing.
Combine a trip to the spa with tasty tidbits at a proper English afternoon tea at the new Hawthorn lounge in Fairmont Palliser. Work off those finger sandwiches and cream covered dainties in the pool, at the gym, or my personal favourite, the hot tub. That burns calories, doesn’t it? If not, surely the eucalyptus-scented steam room will. All these amenities and parking are included with your service, making it one of the best deals in town.
In addition to carefully choosing organic product lines, R&R founder Elizabeth Fayt encourages clients to think carefully about the community and the environment. R&R supports many local organizations like the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter, Children’s Wish Foundation, and Youth Central.
Float Canmore, Canmore, AB
Wade Graham would like to float an idea past you for de-stressing in these most stressful of times. He would like to invite you to “take a step back and do a reset” in his saltwater pods at Float Canmore. I was intrigued, so we realigned date night goals and took a drive to Canmore to experience a float and massage instead of the usual popcorn and a movie.
There were questions. Will I be in the dark? Not unless you want to be. Lights and music are at your fingertips in the tank. Will I get claustrophobic? Probably not. You control the lid from inside and it can stay open the entire time, or not, as you please. What if I can’t swim? The tank is only 10 inches deep, and you can touch the bottom at any time. 1,200 pounds of Epsom salts create a zero-gravity environment that’s heated to body temperature, 34.5 °C. Almost everyone relaxes in the pod and membership packages are popular among the converted. Graham had a tip to share: if you’re a driven, type-A professional who is tied to your phone, stay calm and try to focus on just one problem instead of a dozen at once. Good advice at any time.
Entering the tank was a breeze, and I felt quite secure. As I lay back, with a pair of earplugs in place to keep out random droplets, I could feel my shoulders and spine relax, gently cradled by the warm water. As it turns out, my ears were above the waterline at all times, although inflatable pillows are available if you’d like even more head support. Because I’m somewhat vertically challenged at 163 cm, I could spin around in the pod slowly. It was a lovely, soothing sensation, and I almost dozed off after a few minutes. But, according to Graham, this isn’t unusual, and it’s pretty safe to take a nap. “Many people come in stressed, with a lot of life on their faces. I love to see that stress melt away. I like to say that I sell ‘nothing’, which is a rare commodity these days.”
I followed my float with a remarkable massage that pushed my stress button off. A note for fellow floaters; the light colour and music volume are controlled at the front desk, so have those set to your preference before entering the pod. Amenities are by Rocky Mountain Soap Company, a local provider. Bathing suits are optional, and robes are provided.
The writer was a guest of Flourish LIV Well Spa, Azuridge Estate Hotel, and Float Canmore. As always, her opinions are her own. For more photos of these Alberta spas, follow her on Instagram @Where.To.Lady