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The winner’s circle

Meet our 2015 Canadian Spa & Wellness Awards Winners

Each of the 2015 Canadian Spa & Wellness Awards winners have their own specialty and occupy their own unique niche in the spa and wellness industry. Big and small, destination to day spa, they all bring something different to the table.


Located on a rustic 400-acre property in Grafton, Ontario, and boasting 23 guest rooms in addition to extensive spa facilities, Ste. Anne’s Spa is a destination spa in the traditional sense of the word.“We want to give everyone a chance to relax and heal in a warm, friendly and embracing environment,” says Director of Sales and Marketing, Wanda Hoehn. “Our aim is to provide a caring, family-like atmosphere where there is no pretentiousness, where you’re encouraged to stay all day in your bath robe, embrace your spa hair and to just be yourself.” Hoehn says Ste. Anne’s was thrilled to hear that they had been chosen as Canada’s Top Destination Spa in this year’s Canadian Spa & Wellness Awards. “While it is always gratifying to receive this kind of recognition,” Hoehn says, “we all know here that we have to earn it every single day, by giving each guest an extraordinary experience.”


New kids on the block, iwa Spa, opened in July 2015 with a soft launch and before the official ribbon-cutting in September. New as they are though, they are already busy promoting wellness in their community, Ontario’s scenic Blue Mountain Village. Iwa stands for “Inspiring wellness always,” explains Founder Michelle Udell. “As we inspire wellness for our guests, we also inspire wellness for our team. It’s also [about] inspiring wellness in our community.” Iwa also means rock in Japanese, a reference to iwa Spa’s signature volcanic rock therapy. The treatment, styled after Japanese ganban’yoku, provides natural pain relief, detoxification and is purported to aid weight loss. Udell says that winning the Top New Spa award has inspired her and her colleagues. “As you know, going through a start-up phase can be fairly tough. We were building from scratch so it was a massive amount of effort to get open, and [this award] really gives us the validation that we’re on the right track.”

TOP DAY SPA: Hammam Spa

Over a decade ago, Hammam Spa was the first spa in eastern Canada to open a traditional hammam, a Middle Eastern transplant that has since gained much popularity in the spa and wellness industry. Located in downtown Toronto near the bustling business district, Hammam Spa offers a peaceful retreat from the urban clamour. “Often people shy away from taking the time for themselves,” says Paula Aveling, Director of Marketing. “[But] there’s so much more to [the spa] than just spending time and money. The benefits you get out are very well worth it in terms of stress reduction, overall peace of mind, self-esteem, confidence. It really does make a difference in your day to day life, the way you treat yourself.” Aveling says that Hammam Spa is proud to be recognized alongside an amazing group of spas. “We’re in great company,” she says. “For us it’s very affirming that what we do every day and what we give of ourselves as service providers, it makes a difference.”

TOP MEDI SPA: Body and Soul Day Spa

This hard-working medi spa in Sherwood Park, Alberta, is focused on quality over quantity, says Spa Manager, Pam McCormack. Though small, Body and Soul Day Spa offers a variety of services, such as laser hair removal, skin rejuvenation, microdermabrasion, and facial peels. It also works with a registered nurse to offer injectables and fillers to their clients. Prior to being named Top Medi Spa, Body and Soul was honoured with a Business of the Year Award in 2012 in Sherwood Park, but McCormack says the Canadian Spa & Wellness Award is particularly special to them. “It’s always so nice to get recognized with an award as prestigious as this one,” she says. “The icing on the cake really was the recognition for the medi side of what we do.” Body and Soul Day Spa is a member of the Spa Industry Association of Canada and has achieved quality assurance through the organization. “We’re always working and striving toward the betterment of the spa industry as a whole,” McCormack says. “When you’re doing something well, you can always do it better.”

TOP SANITAS SPA: Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain

Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain exemplifies the age old spa principle of Sanitas per Aquam: wellness through water. The spa’s signature Scandinavian baths are a key feature that guests can enjoy no matter what treatment they have come to receive. The 25,000-sq. ft. outdoor facility includes a series of hot baths and cold plunges, and guests are advised on their arrival about what sequence they should use them in. “For us, it’s about the relaxation, it’s about escaping from your everyday,” says Mylisa Henderson, Director of Marketing. “The water, along with the outdoor natural environment, really allow for somebody to have an experience that they wouldn’t have on a day-to-day basis.” Henderson says it’s a great compliment to be recognized as Canada’s Top Sanitas Spa. “We feel like the spa experiences across Canada are very unique and offer great diversity,” she says. “We’re just really pleased that we have risen to the top on this one this year.”


Aside from the fact that this JW Marriott spa is sitting on a great location on Lake Rosseau, surrounded by the stunning Muskoka landscape, the key to Spa Rosseau’s popularity seems to be the ability to listen to guests and adapt accordingly. Spa Director, Maria Micu, is constantly redesigning and refreshing the spa menu based on feedback from her clients. “A few years ago we had a lot of guests who were looking into more wholesome services, more wellness-oriented services, something a little bit beyond the massage and just the facial part,” Micu says. “This year we actually have a section in our menu which is [entitled] Wellness.” She says winning the Consumer’s Choice Award has been a validation not only of the hard work she and her team have been doing, but also of the fact that guests appreciate the efforts. “It gives us a great joy because it really confirms the fact that we are reaching our target customers and we are able to deliver,” Micu says. “Our guests are enjoying what we’re offering.”

EDUCATION: Advanced Spa Technologies/DeeAnn Lensen

When DeeAnn Lensen founded Advanced Spa Technologies over a decade ago, her training methods met with some resistance. “I even had some clients say it didn’t belong in the spa,” Lensen says. “But now the response is unbelievable.” Lensen combines her sales training classes with self help seminars that address issues of self-esteem and negative self talk. Not only does she work with management and staff at hundreds of spas across Canada, Lensen also holds evening seminars for spa clients where she engages them about their mental and emotional well-being, as well as addressing their beauty and skin care needs. “We really believe that it’s our role to support our spas from the inside out,” Lensen says. “We really feel strongly that we start at the top and empower, support and consult management, and then empower and inspire staff.” Lensen says it is an honour to have won the Education Award. “[The awards] are as valuable as Leading Spas of Canada’s quality assurance [program]. It puts a quality assurance sticker on whoever has won.”

TOP SPA PARTNER: Spa Addiction

“It was really important to us to build a company based on support and integrity and kindness,” says Nicole Verzyden, Spa Addiction’s Managing Director. “To win this award, it just reconfirms our mission that business can be done in such a loving way.” Spa Addiction offers consulting services along with spa product distribution, which includes everything from retailing strategies and promotions, to the layout of a spa. Verzyden says her company puts an emphasis on providing quality, personalized service to her clients. “[Spa Addiction] really is a family, so when somebody carries one of our product lines, I welcome them to the family,” Verzyden says. That family has come to represent quite a diverse cross-section of the spa industry. “I meet people who are young, just out of school, and then I have some customers who have been in the industry for 20 years,” she says. “A lot of our customers have become good friends. I like to think that because they nominated me [for Top Spa Partner] I think that they really do enjoy the service that I provide.”

We Want To Give A Special Mention To Our Top 25 Spas:

  • Ancient Cedars Spa
  • Ste. Anne’s Spa
  • Dermalounge MediSpa & Laser Clinic
  • eforea: spa at Hilton Suites Markham
  • Elmwood Spa
  • Fluid Day Spa
  • Hammam Spa
  • Holtz Spa
  • The L Spa and Wellness Centre
  • Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie Paris
  • Rosewater Spa
  • Sante Spa Victoria
  • Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain
  • Scandinave Spa Whistler
  • The Spa at Fallsview Casino
  • Spa My Blend at The Ritz-Carlton
  • Spa Rosseau
  • Spa St. James
  • The Spa at Windsor Arms
  • Stillwater Spa
  • Sweetgrass Spa
  • Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa
  • Ten Spa
  • The Waters: An Urban Retreat Spa
  • Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Empress
Hermione Wilson

Hermione has a background in lifestyle and entertainment journalism. After graduating from Humber College’s journalism program, where she wrote for the school’s newspaper and various magazines, Hermione interned at TV Guide Canada, writing television reviews, and at Canadian Living, where she sampled goodies from the Test Kitchen.

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