A journey outside the comfort zone at a psychedelic-assisted therapy retreat.
Living Shore Spa wants to take its place in the world of wellness tourism
Living Shore Spa officially opened its doors in May 2016, but the Collingwood, Ontario, spa isn’t starting completely from scratch. Known previously as Essence Spa, the privately owned facility provided holistic spa services for Living Water Resort. “That spa closed and all the staff transitioned to this space here, which is a lot bigger,” says Spa Managing Consultant and previous owner of Essence Spa, Tricia Wells-Smith. The new spa is owned and operated by the resort, Wells-Smith says, and it has moved from a 1,500 square-foot space at the resort to a 5,000 square-foot space across the street. Wells-Smith has been busy getting the word out about the new spa and introducing clients, old and new, to the new operation.
“The biggest [challenge] is… explaining to people what exactly it is that we have that’s different and what the benefits are for them,” Wells-Smith says. “Communicating that has been big.”
The new spa is in a bigger space, but it doesn’t end there. The space is divided into two areas: a traditional full-service spa area, with treatment rooms, a manicure-pedicure space, a hydrotherapy space and men’s and women’s locker rooms, each with their own steam saunas. There is a lounge area off of the locker rooms where clients can wait for their treatments or access the Aquapath, or hydrotherapy space. The Aquapath is at the back of the spa, away from the reception area and treatment rooms. Built like a tropical grotto, with foliage, tree branches and steaming pools, the Aquapath includes a river walk (warm and cold water trenches complete with pebbles and jets), remineralization tubs, exfoliation tubs, cave-like shower areas, and a steam room. “It’s like you’re outside… in a cave,” Wells-Smith says. The Aquapath was patterned after the design of the Pacific Mist Spa Hydropath at Kingfisher Oceanside Resort and Spa on Vancouver Island. Across from Living Shore Spa is Lakeside Seafood & Grill, backing onto the picturesque Georgian Bay. The establishment is the first waterfront restaurant in the Collingwood and Blue Mountain area and another new addition to the Living Water Resort. One of the most popular packages at Living Shore Spa gives guests access to the Aquapath, a massage and a lunch voucher for the Lakeside Seafood & Grill, Wells-Smith says. “People really enjoy that combination of things,” she says. “People love the Aquapath. They like that full service that we provide, and then being able to go and have lunch and sit on the water.
Living Shore Spa sees itself as a holistic spa above all else, Wells-Smith says. “We have customized aroma exfoliation products designed specifically for our Aquapath adventure,” she says. “We have a local lady who blends them for us.” The spa has private labelled the custom products, which it sells in the gift shop along with Pevonia, Spa Ritual and CND products. “There are sea salts… there are essential oils, citrus oils, as well as coconut oil. Wells-Smith says “We also sell [our products], so a lot of people will purchase that as well.” Having only been up and running for a few months, Wells-Smith says there’s plenty she would still like to accomplish. She plans to take advantage of current wellness tourism trends and a new generation of spa clients who favour spacations over spa visits, and are prepared to stay at the spa for longer periods of time. It helps that the spa has been able to build on the loyal client base from the previous spa and those who have followed its spa therapists to their new location.
“We’re going to look at doing monthly specials… we want to do wellness retreats and girls’ getaways,” she says. “[These are] things that people can do now that we have the hotel and the spa, and we’re on the water, and we have a restaurant. We want to be able to combine all those things to give an exceptional experience.”
Living Shore Spa Facts
Size: 5,000 square-feet
Number of treatment rooms: 8
Number of staff: 12
Retail: CND, Pevonia, SpaRitual, Living Water Spa brand (private label)