It’s that time of year again. The flakes are drifting down outside the window, and the evenings are drawing in. It’s so tempting to just curl up in front of the fire with a good book and a glass of mulled wine, and feel the cozy glow start to seep into your body. Winter is a wonderful time of year – it may be cold, but somehow the crisp, cold days and pristine white blankets of snow seem to warm your heart. So of course my mind turns to winter spa getaways!
However, winter is not just a time for cocooning at home. There are so many things to see and do, from ice hotels up in places such as Québec City, through to skiing at great resorts such as Aspen and Vale. For those of us who love spas, it’s a great time of year for this as well – a winter spa getaway is a truly special experience, particularly if you know the best places to go and you remember to bring along your winter fashion essentials. Here are two of the best.
Nestled in the spectacular Canadian Rockies in the province of Alberta, Banff is one of the most popular destinations in Canada. It is known around the world for its spectacular mountain views and wonderful skiing facilities. It is also home to the Banff Upper Hot Springs, one of nine naturally occurring Hot Springs in the Banff area. When you visit the springs, you will be treated to everything that you would expect from a luxurious modern spa, while enjoying a splendid historic setting against the stunning background of Banff National Park. Be sure to soothe yourself in the natural waters that fill the pools at the spa. You won’t be alone – travelers have been coming to “take the waters” at the spa for more than a century.
The springs, however, are not the only first-rate luxury spa in the Banff area. In fact, there are over a dozen spas near the mountain town. One of the best is the Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Banff Springs. This is part of the iconic hotel known as the “Castle in the Rockies,” which has been taking care of its guests with unparalleled attention since it first opened 125 years ago. The spa itself has been voted by Forbes Travel Guide as one of the top five spas in Canada, and has also been voted into the top five by Condé Nast Traveler. The remarkable 38,000 square foot facility offers a number of treatment packages, ranging from the Ultimate Escape – a customized treatment that lets you choose from an enormous range of health and beauty remedies in the spa’s deluxe couple’s suite – through to a Mountain Mint Pedicure that includes an exfoliating scrub, massage, foot work, paraffin treatment and polish.
Situated in the southwestern part of Colorado, Telluride is a former silver mining town that has gone on to become one of the premier winter resort destinations in North America. It offers exhilarating winter skiing, as well as a number of other winter sports such as snowboarding. The town is a historic jewel, featuring clapboard storefronts that are home to intriguing art galleries, old-time Western bars and awe-inspiring eateries. The town is also connected by gondola to its twin town, Mountain Village, which is the gateway to the slopes of the ski resort itself.
For spa travelers, Telluride is a dream of winter spa getaways – as is Colorado as a whole. One of the best spas in Telluride is at The Peaks, which was voted one of the top spas in America by Condé Nast Traveler. The Peaks Resort itself offers majestic views of the surrounding Rockies, and has accommodation ranging from luxurious guest rooms through to mountain cabins. The spa, which is attached to the main hotel, is an oasis of physical and mental rejuvenation, inspired by the philosophy of the native Ute people who once roamed the region. There are multiple dry saunas, along with Jacuzzis and Roman tubs – and even steam rooms that are infused with eucalyptus oil. There are also two pools, a full fitness center, more than 30 treatment rooms, salon services and a meditation lounge.
Another wonderful place to stay in Telluride is the Fairmont Heritage Place Franz Klammer Lodge, located a few minutes away in Mountain Village. This has been recently voted one of the top 50 ski hotels in North America, and features a private residence club where you can stay in your own two or three bedroom home. The Himmel Spa at the hotel offers everything you would want from a high-end luxury destination, including massage rooms, oxygen room, facials and body treatments, and a range of different massages – including hot rocks, Thai, Swedish, deep tissue and reflexology.