I reckon I’ve had somewhere in the range of 100 to 200 massages in my lifetime. I’m no connoisseur, but I’ve had enough to know who delivers and who doesn’t. We all know massage is about the practitioner, and I recently found a few Calgary massage and spa destinations you’ll definitely want on your radar. Not only do they have excellent staff and treat them well, these facilities also dole out little extras and offer unique treatments that go beyond your basic massage. Want to win a one hour massage in Calgary? Read on for details and to learn about my favourite places for a massage in Calgary.
Couples massage Calgary
When I tapped my girlfriends for their favourite massage spot in Calgary, Stillwater Spa came up time and time again. Located inside the Hyatt downtown, this swish day spa gives guests a complete experience. It’s a place where you’ll want to spend several hours – either before or after your treatment. You can order food here and the menu has a good selection of appies (steak bites!), entrees and even wine! If you’re not too hungry, you can nosh on the nibbles provided in the co-ed lounge. During my visit, there were fresh strawberries, brie and crackers, plus house-made granola and buckwheat honey granola bars.
Thoughtful touches included a welcome letter inside your locker and a packet of Gehwol bath salts from Germany you can take home with you. Lockers, plush robes and slippers are provided. You’ll want to bring a bathing suit so you can relax in their private women’s jet tub or take a steam bath. Though the spa is situated right in downtown Calgary, they offer complimentary self-parking based on availability.
Benjamin was my massage therapist, and he was fantastic. I’ll definitely request him again. Ladies, don’t be afraid cuz he’s a dude. He was totally respectful, quiet and was super skilled at working out all my knots. Whoever your massage therapist is, they’ll give you a choice of oils before your treatment begins. They have hagina, which is this amazing Japanese mint oil (that I use all the time at home as it really does reduce muscle soreness) or you can go for something more soothing like lavender. What’s also great about Stillwater is they offer couples massage. They have dedicated treatment rooms for this service with a steam room, so you can sweat all your stress out prior if that’s your balliwick.
There are three Leela Eco Spa locations in Calgary, but I sussed out their convenient Beltline location in Calgary southwest – just south of downtown. This eco spa supports green technologies and uses products that are eco-friendly. Do you know the Eminence skincare line? You should. It’s amazing. I think you can tell a lot about a spa by the lines they carry and I was happy to find Eminence here.
The women’s change room sports a Balinese vibe with warm wood, a blue-grey colour scheme, lots of plants and no shortage of Buddha statues. There’s also a steam shower, but I didn’t budget enough time for it before leaving. Critical error! A robe, slippers and towel are provided, and you can pocket a few luxe Eminence European chocolates on your way out.
Inside the co-ed lounge, you’ll find coffee and a tea menu, where I sampled lavender lemon, turmeric and Kashmiri chai. Super fancy teas! There’s also the obligatory lemon water, plus fruit and nuts. I should also mention they have an excellent selection of magazines. (Why so many spas don’t get this right, I’ll never know).
When it comes to massage oil, Leela’s uses coconut and you can amp up your experience by adding aromatherapy oils. It was a blustery summer day when I went in, and I so appreciated how the massage beds can be heated. They really pay attention to the small details during your massage. A hot towel was rolled up and placed under my neck while my massage therapist worked on my feet and head. And after they finish massaging a section, they’ll place a hot towel over that area, so you don’t leave all greasy. Listening to Enya and mystic rainforest tunes can get old, and Leela deserves a thumbs up for playing funky lounge music.
Massage Calgary NW
My friend Melissa of Family Fun Canada recommended Serene Escapes. It’s her favourite day spa in northwest Calgary and they offer an impressive range of services from mani-pedis to facials to waxing and lash extensions. She particularly likes it because you can buy gift certificates at Costco and then use them for either services or product. (Melissa loves getting a discount on her Dermalogica skincare products.)
I went because I heard their specialty is Thai massage. Serene Escapes has several certified RMTs who also are Thai practitioners. Thai massage is different for a few reasons. First, you put on Thai pyjamas and get your massage on a mattress on the floor. Heads up: These PJs are tricky and can be hard to tell the front from the back. Or maybe that was just me?
Anyway, Thai massage is particularly good for anyone who doesn’t stretch enough on their own or dislikes massage oil. There’s a lot of dynamic stretching involved, where they’ll work your entire body with their body. You’ll be poked, prodded, needled, massaged, hacked and thwacked with your therapist’s fingers, hands, elbows, arms, feet, knees and legs. For real. You could almost consider it a work out, except you don’t sweat, but you will leave much less stressed and more limber than when you arrived.
Serene Escapes also offers couples, prenatal, hot stone and cupping massages. Next time I visit, I want to try the 30-minute head massage and/or reflexology. And yes, their Thai massage was just as good as what I had in Bangkok.
Best place for a massage in Canmore
Yeah, I know Canmore isn’t part of Calgary. But… a lot of you like to hit this mountain town for wellness weekends. As luck would have it, I found an amazing massage therapist I’ve been going to for several months now. If you’ve got an injury or something to sort out, Tracy Hadley at Wildflower is your gal.
A massage with Tracy is more than just a relaxing rub down. In my treatments, she applies magnets to release the tension in my shoulders (it works!), does cupping, rolls heated bamboo rods over my muscles and grastons the shit out of my scar tissue. All this, plus her magic fingers work out my kinks like nobody’s business.
Where is your favourite spot in Calgary (or surrounding area) for a massage? Let me know in the comment section by midnight, August 1, 2018. I’ll randomly draw a winner for a one hour massage at Calgary’s luxe Stillwater Spa.