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.
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Not only do the spots I’m about to recommend have excellent staff and treat them well, these facilities also dole out little extras and offer unique treatments that go beyond your basic massage. Read on to learn about my favourite places for a massage in Calgary.
Couples massage Calgary
How do you find out where the best couples massage is in Calgary? You tap your girlfriends! When I asked them for their favourite therapeutic spot, Stillwater Spa came up time and time again. Located inside the Hyatt Regency in downtown Calgary, this swish day spa gives guests a complete experience.
It’s a place where couples will 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 downtown, 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 bailiwick.
Best for consistency and location
For a consistent massage in Calgary, it’s good to look to a reputable spa that has several outposts. There are three Leela Eco Spa locations in Calgary, but I sussed out their convenient Beltline location – 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 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.
Leela really pays attention to the small details. A hot towel was rolled up and placed under my neck while my 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
For years, my friend the IBMer, has raved about Apex Massage to me. Even though she lived in the SW, she’d drive to NW Calgary to get what she described as the best, most beneficial massage of her life. That’s a tall order!
Technically Apex is in the NW, but it’s actually pretty centrally located – off either Memorial Drive, Crowchild or 16th Ave NW. You’ll find it in what looks like residential area, inside a two storey building.
While some of the spots mentioned in this post offer spa treatments, Apex focuses solely on massage and has done so for over 20 years. They’ve consistently won Consumer Choice Awards year after year, and offer a wide range of services.
I went in for your basic one hour session and was hooked. Jared was my guy and he knew exactly how to get to the route of the problem. If anyone is squeamish about having a dude as their masseuse, this kind guy will set you at ease. Even though I didn’t specifically ask for a sports or deep tissue, after our brief consultation, he knew that’s what I needed.
Something unique to this northwest Calgary studio is their senior care treatments that incorporate gentle stretching techniques into the treatment. Seniors won’t leave battered and sore, but refreshed and with greater mobility. You can also get pre-natal and hot stone massage at Apex. I know I’ll be back.
Thai Massage Calgary
My other friend Melissa, of Family Fun Canada, recommended Serene Escapes. It’s her favourite day spa, offering an impressive range of services from mani-pedis to facials to waxing – in addition to being one of the few places where you can find Thai massage in Calgary.
Melissa particularly likes Serene Escapes because you can buy gift certificates at Costco and then use them for either services or product. (Girl 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 before settling onto 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, this treatment is particularly good for anyone who doesn’t stretch enough on their own or dislikes 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, 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 treatment was just as good as what I had in Bangkok.
Where are your favourite spots for therapeutic treatments in Calgary?
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