Serenity Massage and Esthetics at Manitou Springs Resort and Mineral Spa

A wellness retreat with healing waters

There’s a local legend in the small town of Watrous, Saskatchewan. The folktale tells the story of an Indian tribe in the early 1800s that faced a savage small pox epidemic. As they wandered the plains to escape the plague, two of the men fell ill and were left in a small tent next to a lake. On the edge of death, the men crawled to the shores, bathing in and consuming the water. Their fevers soon cooled and within a few days they were well again.

It was in these early days that the healing benefits of Manitou Lake were revealed, but it wasn’t until 1987 that Manitou Springs Mineral Spa was created and the waters became part of a therapeutic spa experience unlike almost anywhere on earth.

Healing Waters

“There’s no other body of water in North America that has as high of mineral content as we do,” says Dwight Hayter, the CEO of Manitou Springs. There are only two other places in the world that have water like Watrous – the Czech Republic’s Karlovy Vary and Israel’s Dead Sea.

Manitou Lake contains more than 20 types of salt and a variety of minerals that make it impossible to sink in the water. Manitou Springs channels water in from the lake and filters it before pumping it into the pools. The water is also heated to temperatures ranging from 34 to 39 degrees Celsius.

Well-rounded Wellbeing

The success of the original spa led to the addition of a resort in 1991 when it was then renamed Manitou Springs Resort and Mineral Spa.

“With that came Serenity Massage and Esthetics, the giftware store, and dining room in the hotel,” says Hayter. “It was very obvious that this was a tourist destination and more things were needed to keep it popular.” Manitou Springs is most often visited by mature clients over the age of 50. The zero gravity effect of the water relieves tension on bones and joints while also offering a relaxing experience. The effects of the water are enhanced with spa treatments like the aromatherapy massage or Serenity’s signature Manitou Mineral Mud Facial.

“Our main clientele is coming here for therapeutic reasons and Serenity has been a part of the whole package we offer. It’s all about health and wellbeing. That’s why this place was built,” he says. This year, Serenity Massage and Esthetics was renovated again to create more space to offer additional services to the resort guests including couples massages, group manicures and pedicures, facials, as well as reflexology. “We understand the uniqueness of our resort and our location,” says Hayter. “Due to the lake having such a high mineral content, we attract people who are very conscious about their health. That stimulates the need for treatments such as reflexology.”

Serenity’s new manicure and pedicure area is located in a highly visible area of the resort that connects the hotel to the mineral pool. Hayter estimates that spa business has doubled since the renovations were complete.

Although these new services have added additional revenue streams and complement the current available services, Hayter says the spa’s most profitable treatment continues to be massage. “The massage coupled with our warm, therapeutic waters is a great combination,” says Hayter. “We allow people who aren’t staying in the hotel to go swimming before and after the massage to enhance the treatment. It’s really a great value when you add in the swim.” In addition to offering a unique hydrotherapy experience, the spa also uses and sells its own Manitou Springs brand of products including salts and mud products drawn right from the lake. The products range from foot scrubs to facial mud.

“The Manitou products are just another way of us being able to send home a little piece of Manitou with people who come here,” says Hayter.

Top Tourist Spot

With the renovations complete, Manitou Springs Resort and Mineral Spa is getting a lot of attention. This year it placed second in the Saskatchewan Tourism Award of Excellence and was also nominated by Tourism Saskatchewan for the Canadian Tourism Business of the Year award.

As time goes on, Hayter says he’ll continue to position the resort as a wellness retreat. He’s already taken steps by hiring an executive chef to develop a whole new menu of gluten-free choices. “People want healthier choices whether that’s in the Serenity treatments or our food menus,” he says. With the healing waters drawing in guests from across the country who are looking for a wellness experience unlike any other, Hayter knows his resort can deliver.

“Spas are always trying to define what makes their place unique. We don’t have to figure it out and not too many people can say that.”

Opened: 1987
Size: 1,232 square-feet
Number of treatment rooms: 6
Number of staff: 6
Retail: Signature line of Lake Manitou Salt and Mud products

by Lindsay Grummett | Winter 2013/2014