Alberta’s Kananaskis region is well known for its hiking and camping. Fantastically, spa-goers can also experience the healing benefits of being in nature at Alberta’s first Nordic Spa. Kananaskis Nordic Spa is a true Scandinavian inspired spa. Here’s an in-depth look at what to expect when visiting this Nordic spa in the Kananaskis region. Be sure to read to the end of this post for deets on how to win to complimentary spa passes.
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Nordic Spa Kananaskis
There aren’t many Nordic spas in Western Canada and we’re so lucky the Kananaskis region has this outdoor spa open all year long. Picture this: You’re tired after a day of exertion in the great outdoors, so you pop into Kananaskis Nordic Spa situated on the grounds of Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge.
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.
Kananaskis Nordic Spa
Following an ancient Nordic spa ritual, Kananaskis Nordic Spa guests 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. Going for a massage or nursing a glass of vino are also relaxing activities, don’t you think?
What makes Kananaskis Nordic Spa different?
Anyone who’s been to other Nordic spas (there are loads in Quebec, Thermea in Winnipeg and one coming to Edmonton in 2020) knows there are rules. In the Kananaskis, they are way more relaxed.
For starters, it’s licensed. Their restaurant, Two Trees Bistro is located in its own building in Phase 2. Done up in a Kitschy Canadian style, you can chill with a glass of wine or beer, while gazing out the windows pools at the snow-clad peaks of the Rockies.
And it’s not preachy. At 99% of nordic 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. It’s all 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.
- It’s $85 + GST 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.)
- Especially on weekends it gets super busy. If you don’t arrive 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.
- There are 8 treatment rooms open for massage.
- All massage therapists are fully licensed, so if you have a benefits plan you can claim it.
- Two towels, a pair of sandals and one luxe Canadian Tartan robes are given to each guest.
- The lockers are big and the wristband lock is included with your entry fee. The women’s powder room sports blowdryers and some irons.
Make the most of your spa visit by staying on-site at Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge. Kids aren’t allowed in the spa, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring them along. If you’re a hotel guest at this Kananaskis Lodge, you can take advantage of their 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.
There’s an indoor waterpark with three waterslides and a kiddie pool for the very young. For the older set, you’ll find a games room and play structures inside their indoor kid’s zone.
There are several restaurants inside Kananaskis Lodge, but if you’re hitting the Nordic Spa, best to stay put there. Two Trees Bistro has moved inside its own building in Phase 2 of the spa. Here you’ll find healthy, yet satisfying eats from soba noodle buddha bowls to spaghetti squash in tomato sauce. For breakfast, the avocado toast with smoked salmon is real winner as is the roasted yam, black bean breakfast bowl.
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?
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