Disclosure: Ste. Anne's provided a day spa to facilitate this review. All photos and opinions are my own.
Daytrip for a Day Spa in Grafton
Getting to Ste. Anne’s from Toronto is simple. Take the 401E about 90 minutes to exit 487 then head north. After passing Cranberry Lake Road you must make a choice – take Academy Hill Road, or turn just before at the spot where a large sign declares Ste. Anne’s Destination Spa.
A day at Ste. Anne’s is really all about you. It will be whatever you allow it to be. As with many things in life, there is more than one way to arrive at your final destination, and I believe that’s why there is more than one road that leads to the Spa. The choice you make can play a significant role in your mind set before you even set foot on the property.
Which did I choose?
The Road Less Paved
The gravel road is narrow and immediately requires you to reduce your speed. Its many twists and turns take you past open fields of wildflowers. Then road narrows further as you drive through a stand of trees and just as you think that perhaps you’ve taken a wrong turn, you see the sign “Yield to Your Inner Self” and in an instant the whole point of the narrow, windy drive comes clear.
It’s time to slow down.
Leave behind the distractions of your everyday life.
Choose to be present in the here and now.
Have I taken one too many yoga classes? Perhaps , but I’ll take the long and windy road whenever I have the chance.
Advice for Making the Most of Your Day Spa
I’ve been coming to Ste. Anne’s for over 10 years now. Over this time I’ve seen many changes, mostly for the better. Based on my experience, here’s my advice to maximize the enjoyment of your day.
Arrive early and stay late
We arrived at 8:30am and stayed until 6:00pm- the last day spa guests to check out. The drive back to Toronto from Grafton is picturesque, and in the summer the sun is just setting as you arrive back to the city.
Don’t fill your day with treatments
Yes, the treatments are wonderful, but filling your day with treatments can be expensive and limit the time that you have to enjoy what the property has to offer. Ste. Anne's is a Destination Spa after all - so explore it!
Participate in a wellness class or organized activity
As you may have guessed already, I like to do yoga. I prefer an early class that gets me focused on dedicating the day to me. The classes carry an extra fee, but are often quite small and allow for personalization to participants' skill and interest.
Wander the Gardens and Nature Trails
On my most recent visit I walked through the gardens and photographed most of the flowers. Although I didn't get out on the trails this time, but I have walked through in the past and highly recommend it.
Indulge in Hydrotherapy
Eucalyptus steam room, cold plunge, hot tub, lap pool. Repeat. When you tire of that you can swim some laps in the outdoor pool, or retire to a lounger under shade of a tree.
Bring a Good Book
Catch up on that reading you've been meaning to do. If you've forgotten to bring a book, there are plenty for you to borrow. This is my favourite spot on a perfect summer day.
Spa Cuisine - Best Described as Healthy Gourmet
If you would like a window seat for lunch, I recommend asking for an early lunch reservation. We had lunch at noon and were lucky enough to get the last table by the window.
There's another reason that an early lunch reservation is advantageous. You need enough time between lunch and mid afternoon so that you will be hungry again in time for afternoon tea. I like to take a late tea reservation and finish my last treatment just prior so that there is nowhere I need to rush off to and I can sit with a second pot of tea while my friend and I chat away in the afternoon sun.
On a beautiful day, like the one that we enjoyed, I recommend eating out on the patio.
Now that I've been scrubbed and moisturized from head to toe (quite literally) it's time to go. A day of pampering and self indulgence is truly restorative for both the mind and the body. As I leave I feeing - better prepared to return to the hectic pace of everyday life - I'm already planning the next opportunity to "Yield to my Inner Self ".