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Sun Tree Spa – liquid gold

Natural mineral waters offer therapeutic benefits on the Prairies

Named for a rescued metal tree, but known for its geothermal mineral waters, location and history mean everything at Sun Tree Spa.

“The original name was The Oasis,” says assistant spa manager, Colleen DeGirolamo, who has a background in massage, aesthetics, and reflexology. “It’s been nine years now since they changed the name to Sun Tree. We found there were a lot of spas in Canada with the name ‘Oasis.’ We had a local artist who built this metal tree and it was in a coffee shop here in town, and it was scheduled for demolition. We rescued and put it up on our fourth floor on our outdoor deck, poolside. We were thinking about a name change and incorporated it.”

Located within the Temple Gardens Resort in historic downtown Moose Jaw, the Sun Tree Spa is home to Canada’s largest therapeutic geothermal mineral water indoor/outdoor rooftop pool. The source of the water was found accidentally in 1910 while drilling for natural gas. Despite efforts between 1932 and 1971 to make use of the water, the original well was plugged in 1971.

In 1980, the city drilled a new well into the ancient seabeds. The water travels through an insulated pipeline to the spa from the wellhead located less than one kilometre away. The wellhead temperature is about 45° C and the mineral water loses less than one degree as it travels to the spa.

The waters form a unique part of the spa’s identity, says DeGirolamo. Guests are encouraged to “take the waters” or visit the steamroom before or after their services. The warmth of the water combined with a rich cocktail of essential elements soothe and replenish the body. High concentrations of Epsom and Glauber’s salts, along with silicon, potassium, and magnesium, provide many health-boosting benefits which relax muscles, ease joint pain, replenish cellular composition, rejuvenate and rehydrate the skin, and help to detoxify the lymphatic system.

The waters are incorporated into various elements of the spa treatments as well. “When we do hot towels in facials, you’re getting that mineral water infused into the skin. We do a signature massage treatment where we use a green tea and seaweed salt and the glacial salt that is part of that product is mined right here in Saskatchewan.”

The spa has also introduced water yoga, which can be run poolside in the warmer months or in the pool in the winter.

All movements are water-related and because the spa is located in a resort setting, “You can come and do a wellness retreat, a yoga class, take your waters and have your body treatments, and stay in a beautiful room as well,” says DeGirolamo.

Soft yellows, tree images, and earthy warmth welcome guests and encourage the transition from the busy outside world to a state of relaxation. “Our treatment beds are done in an ivory jacquard and a centrepiece which showcases our stones and flowers—keeping with that earth element—show that really, the essence of us is all around the minerals,” says DeGirolamo.

An expansion plan is in the works. “We have big dreams,” says DeGirolamo. “The first time I was here was in a hardhat and steel-toed boots way back in the beginning. I remember looking at the blueprints… and I remember thinking they weren’t building it big enough. It was a tough sell back then. When we opened we could hardly keep up and they were regretful of the fact they didn’t build us a little bit bigger.”

Sun Tree Spa was named one of Canada’s Top 50 Spas in Book4Time’s 2011 spAwards.

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