What makes an outdoor hydrotherapy spa in the Blue Mountains of Ontario so popular it demands a waitlist?
by Kristina Smith
For thousands of years, people have sought steam baths, hot spring soaks, and mineral and sitz baths to maintain and revitalize health. Sebastian Kneipp, a 19th-century Bavarian priest and founder of the naturopathic medicine movement, believed that disease could be cured using water, as it improves elimination, decreases inflammation and stimulates circulation.
Combine this with immersions in the presence of breathtaking natural beauty, and this is a hydrotherapy experience worth packing your bags for.
An Age-Old Tradition with a Modern Twist
Scandinavian countries are known for their wellness-infused lifestyles, emphasizing wholesomeness, healthy eating, and closeness to nature.
Their use of baths and sauna (and hot springs) as a mode of detoxification and relaxation is a practice that dates back thousands of years.
Wanting to understand this traditional experience, I ventured to Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain in the Blue Mountains of Collingwood, Ontario on a cold and blustery winter day.
The Spa is nestled amongst 25 acres of birch, Canadian maple, and pine trees, with expansive views of the surrounding escarpment, including skiers cruising down the nearby slopes.
“Shhhh” signs posted at the entrance remind guests to use their spa voices and turn off digital devices. The air smells of eucalyptus, and I glimpsed bathers in clouds of steam on my way in.
The Nordic bathing ritual goes like this: Relax in the sauna, eucalyptus steam room or hot baths, breathing deeply. Take a cold plunge or shower to close pores and flush toxins. Relax in a quiet indoor or outdoor area. Repeat the circuit as many times as you wish.
“We are often asked what makes Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain different from other spas and our sister Scandinave Spas across Canada. Firstly, we are situated on a 25 acre natural forest of Ontario birch, Canadian maple and pine trees. The Spa also has expansive views of the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve Niagara Escarpment. Secondly, as the seasons change, the experience here in the South Georgian Bay region changes. In Spring & Summer Guests can explore our certified Forest Bathing Trail, hike or cycle before their visit on the many trails and routes or take a short drive to the impressive shores of Georgian Bay. Visitors in the Fall are treated to colourful tree foliage on the Escarpment as well as the occasional turtle, tree frog or wild turkey. In the winter months, Guests soak in the Outdoor Baths and can see Blue Mountain Resort skiers carve down the slopes under the night lights.”– Scandinave Spa Management
I spent about four hours at this spa in the Blue Mountains that day, enjoying the various baths, which are spread out across the landscaped grounds and feel very natural with their stonework and waterfalls.
Curved nooks and crannies offer places to spread out, so it didn’t at all feel like being in a hot tub with strangers.
Though the air was chilly, I was very comfortable relaxing by the outdoor fireplaces on Muskoka chairs in between soaks and felt incredibly at peace given the ambiance and quiet.
The steam room, in particular, feels as though you’ve dived deep into a jar of vapour rub—you can literally feel your pores and sinuses open up.
Completely refreshed and blissful after I visited this spa in the Blue Mountains, I slept deeply and peacefully that night.
Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain – Know Before You Go
- Guests must be 18+ years old and show proof of vaccination.
- The reservation calendar is available for four weeks of time in advance. New Baths open daily at 10 am.
- Bathing suits are mandatory. Sandals are recommended.
- Water stations are located throughout the spa. Please bring a refillable water bottle.
- Guests are reminded to honour silence and leave their devices in their lockers.
- A cleansing shower before the Baths experience is required.
- Check with the Spa for current masking requirements (if any).
Reserve & Relax
Book the Scandinavian Baths hydrotherapy experience or a Registered Massage Treatment at Scandinave Blue Mountain, which includes Baths access. Escape your routine now with a relaxing day you deserve. Open daily from 9am-9pm.
Guests unable to book a Baths reservation for today can sign-up on the Wait List starting at 11 am. The Wait List re-opens throughout the day for new entries when space is available. They recommend guests are less than an hour’s drive to the Spa before signing up.
Unwind Wednesdays: Experience the health benefits of a mid-week escape to the Spa. Starting June 1st, Guests can enjoy reserved access to the Scandinavian Baths for $75 (regular daily rate of $85).
Silence: Honouring the sounds of these natural surroundings, guests are asked to respect serenity and maintain space for other guests. They encourage everyone to turn off their cell phones and cameras during their visit.
Bistro: A choice of light meals and beverages, including locally-catered sandwiches, salads and wraps, as well as cookies, coffee and tea. It’s essential to keep hydrated during your spa experience. Water bottles are available for purchase, and fill stations are located around the Spa. Guests are welcome to bring their own plastic or stainless steel water bottles for their visit to Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain.
Looking for other fabulous hydrotherapy spots worth travelling to? Iceland is famous for its natural “hot pots” and Blue Lagoon, while Jordan’s Ma’In hot springs have biblical roots. Mexico boasts hundreds of mineral springs; and in Bath, England you can experience healing amongst Roman ruins.
– Kristina Smith, Editor
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