Each day at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto is always eventful for Lana Storchak. Some days at Toronto's only five-diamond hotel are more memorable than others, though, as the hotel's spa operations manager found out earlier this month.
Storchak and the staff of seven aestheticians were among the spa employees called into a meeting where they received astounding news. The Ritz spa, called Spa My Blend by Clarins, had been named the World's Best Hotel Spa by Travel + Leisure magazine, a distinction that came as an absolute surprise. "When we found out we were amazed, it meant so much to everyone here," Storchak says. "We had no idea it was coming at all."
The Travel + Leisure ranking, announced on Tuesday, was based on screened reader surveys. Travel industry professionals were not allowed to participate in the vote. Spas were graded on ambience, treatments, service, facilities and value. Storchak believes it is the personal service at Spa My Blend by Clarins that set it apart. "The staff here all work together to make sure our guests feel comfortable the minute they walk through the door," she says. Storchak adds that people who have heard the news of the award are booking appointments.
Even though I had been to the Ritz spa previously, knowing it was now considered the No. 1 hotel spa in the world sweetened my excitement for my visit this week. Going to the Ritz, no matter where, has always had a glitzy ring to it and upon entering the hotel lobby in Toronto you immediately feel dazzled. I love the contemporary Canadian-inspired décor with the beautiful chandeliers, but even more than that I love the openness and hospitality that greet every visitor. Luxury hotels have become quite adept at exuding down-to-earth warmth and the Ritz does it better than any other because the staff truly are genuine.
The spa is on the fifth floor, where a pleasant fragrance and warm smile welcomes you. I am escorted on a tour to familiarize me with the amenities available in the 23,000-square-foot spa facility, Toronto's largest. There is a fitness centre (where one-on-one personal training is available), a yoga studio by Yogagurl, a salt-water lap pool, sauna, and the green tea-infused vitality pool. You can have a manicure and/or pedicure at the Champagne Nail Bar and then head over to the Jackie Gideon Beauty Bar, where the talented staff will polish you off with finishing touches. There are separate lounge areas for men and women, as well as the lofty co-ed Urban Sanctuary, illuminated with soft natural light flowing in through the glass ceiling. Infused water, fresh fruit and tea are available for guests to help themselves to as they settle in and await their treatment.
Read Vacay.ca to find out more about Julia Pelish's experience at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto spa and how much it costs.
Three More Hotel Spas in Toronto to Visit
Hazelton Hotel (118 Yorkville Ave.) -- The Hazelton uses Valmont products and its 100 per cent collagen mask features the same grade of collagen used to treat the skin of burn victims. Treatments are available in three time sessions -- 30, 70 or 90 minutes -- and start at $110. Click here to read more of Julia Pelish's Hazelton spa experience.
Trump Hotel (325 Bay St.) -- The Trump features the city's longest saltwater infinity pool at its Quartz Spa. The 65-foot pool offers tremendous views of the city as well as calming waters to help you relax. Click here to read more about the Trump Hotel in Vacay.ca.
Stillwater Spa at the Park Hyatt Hotel (4 Avenue Rd.) -- Stillwater's Global selection of spa therapies offers exotic experiences such as a Deep Blue Tahitian massage with compresses of red algae and Tahitian botanicals ($250, 90 minutes), or a Tibetan Aqua Massage that incorporates four hands and two therapists in Stillwater's dedicated aqua-therapy pool ($115, 45 minutes). Click here for a Vacay.ca video of the Stillwater Spa experience.
Story by Julia Pelish
Vacay.ca Visuals Editor
Spa: Spa V at Hotel Victor, South Beach Not many of the treatments at Hotel Victor in South Beach come cheap, but the Evian bath is particularly pricey. The bath, consisting of 1,000 bottles of the French mineral water, is only available to guests of the $10,000 per night penthouse suite, and includes champagne, dessert, and an additional treatment of choice for two.
Spa: La Prairie at The Beverly Hills Hotel Dropping $1,000 to cover your face in fish eggs may seem excessive, but it’s a small price to pay for a glowing, youthful complexion. The 90-minute treatment at the La Prairie Spa at the Beverly Hills Hotel is actually a steal, however, considering you get to take home the products from the White Caviar Illuminating System, which are valued around $1,500.
Spa: The Spa at Trump hotels It’s not surprising that the top signature treatment at Trump hotels is the diamond or emerald massage — your pick. The treatment, which debuted at the Trump International Las Vegas and the Trump Chicago, starts at around $300, but only gets more expensive from there as special add-ons are included. The massage is said to balance your chakra with its gems, heal with its rare oils, and drain your bank account with its Trump-size price tag.
Spa: La Prairie at the Ritz-Carlton New York at Central Park While other spas offer separate caviar treatments and two-therapist massages for at least $500 each, the Ritz-Carlton New York at Central Park offers a combination option at just $510 (although it still seems crazy to call this a deal). Still, comparatively speaking, the Ritz practically gives away the full-body offering, which includes a wrap and a four-hand caviar massage.
Spa: The Spa at Mandarin Oriental hotels When you break down the price of a four-hand massage at any of the Mandarin Oriental spas, including the luxe Mandarin Las Vegas, it’s really only $155 per hand (it’s a coping mechanism but it helps us legitimize the indulgence). The massage features two masseurs giving guests a synchronized rubdown for a satisfying hour and 50 minutes. And if it’s not quite within your budget to take a trip to the Mandarin, the Encore Las Vegas offers its own two-therapist version for $560 (or $140 per hand). However, at just an hour and 20 minutes, it offers less bang for your buck than the Mandarin massage.
Spa: Golden Door Spa at the Waldfor Astoria Park City If the thought of ten 25-minute facials in a row doesn’t horrify you, the $700 price tag will. The Golden Door Spa at the Waldorf Astoria Park City offers this anti-aging lift series treatment for $70 per facial, but many would argue that your fresh glow is worth the price.
Spa: Nidah Spa at Eldorado Hotel, Santa Fe With a name like Eldorado, guests expect a golden touch. One of the Santa Fe hotel’s signature treatments at their Nidah Spa is the 24 K gold facial, said to have anti-aging properties. This 80-minute treatment leaves guests feeling rejuvenated and wrinkle-free.
Spa: Spa Grande at the Grand Wailea, A Waldfor-Astoria Resort, Maui Though the Grand Wailea’s 20-hand couple’s massage was originally a limited-time only, 20th anniversary treatment special, it’s popularity has led to it become a staple treatment worth a whopping $2,000 per person. The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity ended back in September, but started with an hour of relaxation time, followed by a 100-finger frenzy of oils and phalanges. But for those who missed the deadline, the Maui resort has no shortage of extravagant offerings, including the Kokoleka Truffle Body Cocoon & Facial ($285 minimum), Volcanic Ash Cocoon ($230 minimum), and Diamond Facial ($325 minimum).
Treatment Add-On: Wine Bath for $55 Spa: The Spa at Kenwood Inn and Spa, Sonoma County Most of the massages at Sonoma’s Kenwood Inn and Spa are pretty reasonably priced, coming in at just under $200, but no Wine Country massage is complete without a savory and decadent wine bath add-on. The $55 treatment may not seem all that expensive, but the extravagant treatment submerges guests in a whirlpool full of oils, grape seeds, and pulp for an extra 20 minutes of fermented sin.
Follow Vacay.ca on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@VacayCanada