Kananaskis Nordic Spa opens this week: Why you need to get there now!

Run, don't walk to Kananaskis Nordic Spa - the first nature spa in Alberta

A retreat for the frazzled and the weary, welcome to Kananaskis Nordic Spa. (Photo credit: @leehorbachewski)

Are you ready for some awesome news? Alberta’s first Nordic Spa is set to open this Friday, March 2! Trust me, if you hate winter, this will make you fall in love with the season all over again. Kananaskis Nordic Spa is a true Scandi-Spa. It’s also a nature spa. If you’re confused as to what all this means, allow me to break it down for you.

Kananaskis Nordic Spa opens this week: Why you need to get there now!

Couple the views with the pools, and you’ll feel so invigorated. (Photo credit: @leehorbachewski)

What to expect at Kananaskis Nordic Spa

Picture this: You’re tired after a day of exertion in the great outdoors, so you pop into Kananaskis Nordic Spa situated at Delta Lodge at Kananaskis. Within minutes you’re soothed by the invigorating elements of the Canadian outdoors. First, you hear the sound of water cascading into azure-hued outdoor pools. Next, you’re lured by the scent of woodsmoke wafting through the air. You’ve just entered a full on adult alpine sanctuary and within minutes, all city stressors (and tensed muscles) melt away.

Cowboy cauldron fire pit

Warm up and chill out around the cowboy cauldron fire pits. (Photo credit: @leehorbachewski)

How to do a Nordic spa properly

Following an ancient Nordic spa ritual, spa-goers alternate from hot to cold to a period of relaxation. Then you’ll do the cycle all over again – ideally circulating through it three times. First, you sweat it out. This could happen inside the funky inhalation steam room. The steam room has two different chambers: one is always infused with eucalyptus and the other changes with the season, which you can vote for on their website. The heady scent of cedar infuses the Finnish sauna (lower temp but higher humidity) that seats 30. Finally, there’s a barrel sauna and a banya – a traditional Russian sauna. Best is the exfoliation room near the saunas, where you can scrub off all that dead skin with salts infused with either invigorating and relaxing oils.

Nordic sauna

Check out the adorable barrel sauna!

Next you’ll slip into one of the fabulously large outdoor pools. Ideally, you’d plunge into the cold pool set between 5-10°F. But this isn’t your typically Nordic Spa, so go ahead and skip the cool pool if you like. The temperature is brisk enough in the Rockies that the air will cool you down in no time at all. Steam rises off the large two-tired pool set between 95-102°F. This is the spot to hunker down and gaze at the majestic peaks that cocoon this alpine oasis. Want to heat things up further still? There’s also a hot tub with water spilling down from one level to the next.

woman wearing winter hat in outdoor hot tub

Make like a true Canadian and don your toque in the outdoor pools. (Photo credit: @leehorbachewski)

The third and most important phase of any Nordic spa ritual is relaxation. You could chill out next to the massive outdoor wood fires. Or, you and your sweetheart could zip into a heated hammock handmade for two. There’s also a Japanese tatami mat room being built for you to nap in. Soon to open is a walking meditation labyrinth and a yoga studio with silk hammocks.

Mount Kidd winter Kananaskis

With these views it’s easy to feel grounded at Kananaskis Nordic Spa. (Photo credit: @leehorbachewski)

What makes Kananaskis Nordic Spa different?

Anyone who’s been to other Nordic spas – there are loads in Quebec, Thermea in Winnipeg or Scandinave Spa at Whistler and Blue Mountain knows there are rules. In the Kananaskis, they are way more relaxed. For starters, it’s licensed. Their lounge is done up in a Kitschy Canadian style and you can chill with a glass of wine or beer, while gazing down at the pools and the snow-clad peaks of the Rockies.

modern mountain lounge

Doesn’t their lounge look divine? (Photo credit: @leehorbachewski)

And it’s not preachy. At 99% of spas, you’re supposed to be quiet – many have signs reminding you it’s a quiet space. Not here, where the vibe is more Canadian kitchen party than monastic sanctuary. You won’t be shushed by staff if you and your friends get a little animated in the pool. Once Phase Two opens in June, they’ll have a quiet zone, but the main areas will be super relaxed and approachable.

kananaskis nordic spa lounge

Or use the relaxation phase to catch up with one of your best girlfriends! Everybody say HI to Carmelle.

What to Know before hitting Kananaskis Nordic Spa

  • It’s only a 45-minute drive from Calgary! From Banff the drive will take you just under an hour and budget 40-minutes from Canmore.
  • In June the spa becomes a 7 day a week operation. Until then, Kananaskis Nordic Spa is open on Fridays from noon to 9pm, Saturdays from 9 am to 9 pm and Sundays from 9 am to 6pm.
  • It’s $70 per person for a day pass. If you book in for a massage, the treatment includes spa access (better value). 
  • No children are allowed. Guests must be 18-years or older. (See below for kid options.)
  • I suspect it could get really busy and if you don’t get there early, you may have to wait to gain entry.
  • Avoid this by booking in for a massage. If you have a booking, you get immediate access to the spa.
  • 8 treatment rooms open in April for massage.
  • All massage therapists are fully licensed, so if you have a benefits plan you can claim it.
  • Two towels and sandals are given to each guest, but you’ll have to pay to rent one of the adorable Canadian Tartan robes ($12). Pro tip: At other Nordic spas, many guests bring their own bathrobes.
  • The lockers are big and the wristband lock is included with your entry fee. The women’s powder room sports blowdryers and some irons.
Canadian spa design

Who needs a massage when you have this view at Kananaskis Nordic Spa

fleece lined bathrobe

Just think how adorable you’ll look in one of these Canadian tartan robes!

What to do with kids at Kananaskis Nordic Spa?

Kids aren’t allowed in the spa, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring them along – if you’re a hotel guest. Delta Lodge at Kananaskis has a kids camp running everyday day of the week. Yes, everyday – not just on weekends and school holidays. Simply drop off your kids, then hit the spa.

In June the hotel’s aquatic centre will open and that will be a deal in its own right. Then before Christmas, the Delta’s indoor kid’s zone opens with a games room for teens, children’s play structures and activities. Trust me, I’ll be weaselling my way in there to give you a preview of that, too!

Kananaskis Nordic Spa is all about water, warmth and wonder. It’s about reconnecting to nature while disconnecting from our frantic lives. If you can do that in under a few hours, that’s money well spent in my books.

Have you ever been to a Nordic Spa? What’s your impression of the experience?

P.S. If you enjoyed reading this you may also like:

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By | 2018-03-10T08:17:41+00:00 February 26th, 2018|Categories: Health & Wellness|Tags: , , , , , , , , |16 Comments

About the Author:

I’m a freelance writer with bad hair, a loud mouth and a serious case of wanderlust. Whether it’s luggage, time or just life, I cram as much as possible into small compartments. Warning: Contents may shift during flight. My life is one bumpy ride! Follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.


  1. Brooke 10.03.2018 at 08:14 - Reply

    I desperately need to get to a Nordic spa currently- it’s been YEARS since I went to any spa at all and I really do love the hot-cold-hot-cold (well I don’t love the cold part but my body feels great after) thing -but agree with you that in some spas it’s so poo pooed to speak or laugh and one must simply listen to the chant or Enya music and be silent that I would prefer a bit more relaxed vibe (like our spas in California :)). bookmarking this.

    • Jody 11.03.2018 at 09:40 - Reply

      Hope to see you come out here. It’s way cheaper in Canada:)

  2. Tamara Elliott 10.03.2018 at 09:03 - Reply

    I can’t wait to try this place out! I’m so obsessed with the spas in Winnipeg and Quebec that I’ve been to- seems like we’ve been waiting for something like this in Alberta forever!

    • Jody 11.03.2018 at 09:39 - Reply

      We’ve been so patient!

  3. Shweta 11.03.2018 at 22:36 - Reply

    Never heard of Nordic Spa until now. But this looks super cool. And its a great there is an option to being kids and engage them in other activities while you relax.

    • Jody 12.03.2018 at 09:59 - Reply

      It would be, except this Nordic Spa doesn’t allow kids into it. There are others in Quebec that do, though. Hotel guests can use the kid’s club as a way to get to the spa sans wee ones.

  4. Punita Malhotra 11.03.2018 at 23:15 - Reply

    I will have a tough time deciding whether I want to be in the outdoor hot pool, the cozy lounge or the tempting spa! What a stunning location for a nordic spa. And we are contemplating on travelling to Canada this year. Sounds perfect.

    • Jody 12.03.2018 at 09:56 - Reply

      Your travel dollars will go a lot further in Canada. I hope you make it here!

  5. Indrani 12.03.2018 at 04:01 - Reply

    Such a unique spa. Makes me really curious how this hot-cold-hot-cold will be like.
    Need to get there with friends as there is no sushhh area 🙂 🙂

    • Jody 12.03.2018 at 09:55 - Reply

      Soon there will be a separate shush area, but for now, the entire outdoor section is set up for yakkers like me.

  6. Rosemary 13.03.2018 at 10:43 - Reply

    Reading this makes me want to book the next flight out and book a trip to the spa. Love the idea of alternating between the hot and cold as well as the exfoliation room. Great tip about booking a massage for immediate access. I’ve been wanting to go to Canada and Kananaskis Nordic Spa is another beautiful reason why! Great review

    • Jody 13.03.2018 at 19:19 - Reply

      This is one of the best parts of Canada to visit!

  7. Renata Green 13.03.2018 at 15:24 - Reply

    I’m going to a spa about five times a week, but it’s not that posh (but also far cheaper). Cooling down in this snow instead of a pool or a shower must be a very ‘natural’ experience. The outdoor area looks gorgeous.

    • Jody 13.03.2018 at 19:19 - Reply

      A spa 5x a week? Where do you live?

  8. Megan Jerrard 14.03.2018 at 01:21 - Reply

    Kananaskis Nordic Spa sounds like it’s amazing! Thanks for the heads up on the opening! I love the idea of experiencing authentic Nordic spa rituals, and with those views it would be so easy to chill out and relax! Only a 45-minute drive from Calgary is fabulous – will make sure we set a day aside – and I love that the whole experience has a laid back vibe. Thanks for the tip!

    • Jody 14.03.2018 at 07:43 - Reply

      Yes, it’s proximity to Calgary is what makes it so special.

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