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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?