Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Our experience at the My Blend Spa by Clarins at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Toronto

In the middle of last week (specifically Wednesday) my Gorgeous turned 40. We celebrated that night with oysters a bit of wine, and some cheap cake :) 

However, it's one of those milestone birthdays that I wanted to make special for him, and that night wasn't the end of celebration… there is no material thing that I could give him, we sort of have all the essentials, and the material stuff I'd like to give him I can't afford at this time… so I decided on a sensory experience.

A day at the spa felt appropriate. Upon recommendation from my sister Kinga, I booked us a Couple's Retreat at the Ritz-Carlton. Three things that convinced me this is the right spot: one she had a great experience there, two it's ubber posh, three conveniently close to us.

We woke up to a very gray, chilly, and rainy Saturday morning (Sandy was on its way). The perfect weather for a spa day. Our appointment started at 10:30am, the spa opens at 9am. We were there at 9:15 to take advantage of other amenities.

We were greeted very warmly, and as I informed the staff upon booking that Jay has turned the big four-oh, everyone that we met wished him a happy birthday. 

First we had to fill out a quick form that I think is standard for most spas… you know: your skin concerns, skin care routine, any medical history or allergies that might require special attention and so on. Then we were separated and were given a tour of our respectful locker rooms. Seriously I just wanted to move into mine. It was warm, inviting, and extremely clean. The lockers have generous storage space, there is a private changing area if preferred, they have a perfectly tiny little spinner to dry your bathing suit in, there are three showers, two of them with shower heads all around, a sauna, a steam room, and a green tea-infused vitality jacuzzi. There is a private relaxation room, and a co-ed one, where one waits and relaxes before, in between, and after a treatment :).

After slipping into our bathing suits, and terry lined robes (linen on the outside) Jay and I hit the pool and hot tub first. It's not the longest or the deepest pool in the world, (only 1.3m max, so no diving), but it is salt water, on the 5th floor with a wall of windows on one side. And as luck would have it we had it all to ourselves :)

Pictured below the pool, hot tub located behind the chaise lounge. It might have been rainy and gray outside, but inside it was bright and welcoming.
After 30min of frolicking we split up again. I enjoyed the green-tea vitality pool in my locker room, then some time in the steam room, then a quick shower to rinse off the salt and sweat from my body. After spinning my suit dry I met up with Jay in the co-ed lounge. We had a few minutes to unwind sip some tea, and snack on some dried fruit and almonds before our massage therapists arrived. 

Our first two treatments were performed in our own private room. Pictured below. The beds felt sturdy and very comfortable, no wobble as you are flipping over :) (which I have experienced before). The light was dimmed, there were scented candles burning, and gentle spa music had me floating on could 9 even before I had a chance to lie down :)
My therapist was male, Jay's was female, I don't know why, but it made perfect sense. Jay and I have been together for well over a decade, he works with his hands every day, they are big and a bit callused and can feel rough - a working man's hands… love them :).  I have never had a massage before, so when my therapist first touched me I was so surprised, because I just didn't realize that male hands can feel so incredibly smooth and soft… hahahahaha, I'm a bit of a bumpkin… so let's just leave it at that. Moving on, we had a choice of coconut oil or aromatherapy oils; Jay and I both chose coconut. Hot lavender scented towels are part of the massage, and they felt wonderful. As well a lavender scented pillow is placed on your eyes when you flip over, a lovely sensory treat. Our therapists were informative and friendly; who listened to our concerns and customized our massages accordingly. After 60 minutes of Swedish hand therapy, we were both completely de-stressed.

We had a nice 15 minute break, before our next treatment. The break in between is optional, but we both wanted an intermission to regroup :). We did not want ourselves or the staff to feel rushed.  

Then we were back in our couple's room for our facials. Once again we began with a short consultation, in order to customize our respective needs. After slipping under the heated blanket (heat is optional), another 60 minutes of bliss begun. All products used are by Clarins this being a Clarins spa :) 

Jays facial was so good, that halfway through he fell asleep and had a bit of a snore. We giggled, and his therapist felt she had accomplished her mission by completely relaxing him. Couldn't agree more.

In the end our faces were left clean, soft, moisturized, and glowing… our hair all mussed up as a result of the scalp massage. As we shuffled back to the lounge room to sip some honeydew melon water before out last treatment, I realized that I already want to come back here again.

Lastly it was time to pamper our feet. The nail treatments are preformed using a combination of Clarins and SpaRitual products. The chairs are supremely comfortable , with their own remote controls to set a pulse for a massage (if preferred). I have a bit of a pet peeve when it comes to sharp objects and my toes, but I should have left all those fears at home. My pedi was incredible… I should get them more often.

With a brand new color on our toes, Jay and I once again returned to lounge in the lounge room, to relax, and wait while our polish dried. At no time did we feel rushed to leave. There is a spa menu available, and as it was already 2pm, we ordered two bellinis and some guacamole to sack on. It was delicious.
 Then, sadly before we knew it 3 o'clock struck and we both felt it was time to leave.  As this was my treat to Jay I took care of the bill, and yes it was hefty… lol… we were at the Ritz after all. An automatic gratuity is added: spa treatments 18%, and food 15%. However a bill is printed out for you to review first and if you wish to change the gratuity (up or down) you may. I left it as is, it was worth it.

Now a few days later when I think about our experience, things that first come to mind:
1. incredibly friendly and welcoming staff
2. outstandingly clean facilities
3. blissful happiness 
4. those soft hands of my massage therapist :)

It was the ideal spa experience, I highly recommend it.