Whistler Day Trip: Luxuriate in Scandinave Spa’s Baths

Photo Credit: Tara Lee

With Labour Day fast approaching, a quick getaway might be in order to reenergize before the return to routine. And nothing beats the natural beauty of Whistler for lifting the end of summer spirits!

I’d always thought that Whistler necessitates an overnight stay, but a recent visit this week proved to me that it’s very possible–even leisurely–as a day trip.

One of the marvelous aspects of Vancouver that I often take for granted is the sheer proximity of a world-class ski resort like Whistler from the city. In the winter, I love to go snowboarding there, but there are also a host of things to do during the months before the snow begins again.

Photo credit: May Hung | Flickr

The Sea-to-Sky Highway was vastly improved in preparation for the 2010 Olympics, making it a smoother, more efficient journey to Whistler (it took us just under two hours from South Granville to Whistler Village). And did I mention incredibly gorgeous? The ride wends its way along Howe Sound, through the Coast Mountains, and into the wilds of the Whistler forests. If you journey at sunrise/sunset, the sightlines are particularly striking.

We didn’t take any breaks along the way, but if you’re wanting to take your time, you could stop off at Horseshoe Bay, Lions Bay, Britannia Mine Museum, Squamish, and/or the Sea-to-Sky Gondola. Alternatively, if you don’t have a vehicle yourself, you could hop on a Greyhound bus or take a ride with Pacific Coach Lines.

We arrived around 11am at Whistler Village and enjoyed brunch at Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub while watching people heading off to go zip trekking, mountain biking, and gondola riding.

From there, we eagerly headed to Scandinave Spa (8010 Mons Road, Whistler), located a five minute drive from Whistler Village. A short walk through the forest set a mood of tranquility before arriving at the spa.

Sourced from Scandinave Spa Whistler Facebook page

Bath access is $65 per person for the day and requires no reservation (10am to 9am daily). You can also opt for a massage (eg Swedish, deep tissue, RMT, prenatal) that includes baths access. However, make sure to book one of these in advance since they fill up very quickly, especially the RMT ones.

Bath access includes towels and a storage locker (you can rent a robe for $13). There are showers and amenities, like hair dryers, for your after bath experience.

The visit is well worth the $65, since you could easily spend a full day at Scandinave taking advantage of the many pools, saunas, and spaces for relaxing in the forest seclusion. The baths have a silence policy, making it incredibly peaceful without the distraction of interaction and chatter. Cell phones are also not permitted; three hours passed and I suddenly realized that I hadn’t even missed checking social media.

The restorative properties of the baths are based on hydrotherapy, an ancient Scandinavian practice that involves a three step sequence. It begins with various hot options, like hot baths, saunas, and steam baths, that are intended to cause sweating and cleansing, as well as reduce blood pressure and increase blood flow.

Sourced from Scandinave Spa Whistler Facebook page

Sourced from Scandinave Spa Whistler Facebook page

Next, after I had been warmed up, I moved onto the cold step with Nordic showers, waterfalls, and cold plunge baths. I’m not a fan of ice cold water, but the quick dips and showers were most invigorating (brr!). The shock is supposed to release endorphins and increase the heart rate.

Sourced from Scandinave Spa Whistler Facebook page

And the final step involves restabilizing the body at various relaxation areas located around the facilities. I’d recommend either just closing your eyes for a cat nap, or taking a book to while away the time. After resting, I repeated the hot/cold/rest cycle a few more times, making sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Sourced from Scandinave Spa Whistler Facebook page

After we were sufficiently blissed out, we headed back to the Village to do some shopping in the many boutiques along the pedestrian only Village Stroll. The day ended at Araxi Restaurant + Oyster Bar (110-4222 Village Square, Whistler) with their sumptuous two-tiered seafood tower that comes with oysters on the half shell, chilled prawns, wild smoked salmon, albacore tuna tataki, BC seafood ceviche, jellyfish and seaweed salad, and a spicy tuna roll.

Photo Credit: Tara Lee

The drive back was particularly picturesque with the sun setting and home beckoning in the distance.

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