Spa and Wellness Experiences in Vancouver Inspired by the Outdoors

Photo: Fairmont Pacific Rim (William Stream Spa)

Vancouver is known around the world for its gorgeous natural surroundings and striking cityscape. Spas and other wellness establishments are inspired by this beauty when curating relaxing experiences that are quintessentially West Coast. Many of them take place outdoors where you can soak up everything Vancouver has to offer.

Below is an overview of how you can unwind, Vancouver-style:

Willow Stream Spa: Rainforest Ritual

Photo: Fairmont Pacific Rim

Willow Stream Spa in the Fairmont Pacific Rim has launched a luxuriant couple’s spa experience (Rainforest Ritual) that spotlights local products as well as the natural elements of British Columba. All products are from Beauty Through Balance, which practises sustainable and ethical harvesting of its plant ingredients. The Rainforest Ritual begins with a Pacific sea salt scrub before moving on to a soak in an Ofuro tub. You’re then massaged using Canadian wilderness oil, with hot basalt stones placed on your back and feet. A glacial clay mask on your face and feet purifies your skin. Throughout your treatments, you will breathe in scents of fir, cedar, and pine. The experience ends with a lunch and glasses of Moët and Chandon. Willow Stream features an outdoor terrace with hot tubs, with views of the city, as well as the water and mountains.

West Coast Rejuvenation Package at The Spa at the Wedgewood

Photo: The Spa at the Wedgewood

The Spa at the Wedgewood offers a West Coast Rejuvenation Package that takes its cue from the natural ingredients and relaxing vibe of this area of the world. You’ll get blissed with a Wedgewood signature customized massage, a detoxifying sea salt wrap, and finally a healing West Coast facial. After nearly four hours of treatment, you will feel absolutely incredible.

The Aqua Lounge at the Spa by JW Marriott

Photo: Spa by JW Marriott

Located on the rooftop (17th floor), The Aqua Lounge at the Spa by JW Marriott is an urban oasis. This outdoor environment gives guests access to a hydrotherapy tub with soothing hot water jets, chaise lounges, other seating areas, and a space for doing yoga. Plus, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the city and mountains. The Lounge is available to hotel and spa guests, in addition to those who buy spa day passes (subject to availability).

Scandinave Spa in Whistler

Photo: Chad Chomlack/Scandinave Spa

Whether it’s après ski during the winter season, or in the summer after mountain biking or a stroll through Whistler village, Scandinave Spa is a lovely escape. The Whistler location is nestled within nature with trees and mountains as your backdrop. You’ll cycle through hot and cold experiences (e.g., dry sauna, cold plunges) while relaxing in between each part of the regulating thermal journey. Scandianve Spa also offers massages, such as Swedish relaxation, RMT, and deep tissue massages, that you can pair with your thermal circuit.

Harrison Hot Springs

Photo: Harrison Hot Springs Resort

If you’re looking for a day trip, consider visiting Harrison, which is famous for their healing hot springs. They were originally used medicinally by the Sts’ailes First Nation who called the springs Qwolts. Today, the legendary springs can be accessed in two ways: there is an indoor public mineral pool or you can stay at Harrison Hot Springs Resort to soak and swim in their mineral pools. There, you’ll have five to choose from, including two outdoor West Coast-inspired ones with a waterfall, rock formations, and greenery.

AIKA in the Sea to Sky Region

Photo: AIKA

In the picturesque Sea to Sky region, you’ll find AIKA, which combines a Nordic sauna journey with West Coast nature. The outdoor spa takes guests through a hot, cold, and resting cycle of approximately 30 minutes each time. AIKA features a wood-fired sauna, crafted in Squamish, cold plunge tubs, and a seating area for resting amidst the wilderness. Bookings are for private access to the spa for up to 10 guests (3-hour immersive experiences or 6-hour private day retreats). There are also AIKA Socials.

Bathhouse at Kitoki Inn on Bowen Island

Photo: Kitoki Inn’s Bathhouse

If you want to go further afield for a wilderness spa adventure, you can take the short ferry to Bowen Island and stay at Kitoki Inn’s zen-like cabins in the woods. The covered outdoor bathhouse, drawing from Japanese onsen tradition, contains a hot tub, a hot and cold hydrotherapy shower, and a garden with a wood fireplace. The bathhouse is available to inn guests who can book two private 90 minute sessions per day.

Circle Wellness

Photo: Circle Wellness

Circle Wellness offers a truly unique spa experience. When you book, you are given access to an enclosed private thermal spa in the outdoors, with an indoor component. At your own pace, you (and a guest) can cycle through a natural cedar soaking tub, outdoor shower, cold water plunge, heated local river stones, and The WelPod, which draws upon Himalayan salt walls and radiant heat to warm and relax you. This private spa is so popular that they extend invites through their waiting list. Circle Wellness is currently in the process of building a location on Granville Island, so stay tuned.

Tality Spa

Photo: Tality Secret Spa

Tality, a local kombucha producer, has a charming “secret” outdoor spa that offers a rustic, community-friendly couple hours for destressing. Do short cold plunges as well as time in the sauna and interludes resting, chatting with others, and drinking complimentary tea and kombucha. You can book for a single session, purchase an unlimited monthly pass, or buy various community passes. A North Vancouver Shipyards location is in the works for the end of the summer.

The Good Sauna

Photo: The Good Sauna

Feel Good Everyday Fitness operates a seasonal pop-up hot and cold therapy experience (usually roughly January to April) called The Good Sauna. It’s outdoors and entails a Finnish wood-burning sauna, ice baths, and cold showers. The visit includes relaxing by a fire and drinking tea, or doing yoga or breathwork. The sauna can be booked for a community drop-in for up to 8 people or a private booking for up to 10 people. They are currently in the process of looking for a new location for next season. Stay tuned for info.

Forest Bathing with Talaysay Tours

Talaysay Tours; Destination Vancouver/Kindred & Scout

Although technically not a spa experience, Forest Bathing offers incredible relaxation benefits. Talaysay Tours, an Indigenous owner and operated company, takes guests on a two hour walk among “the talking trees” in Stanley Park and Squamish. The guide for this tour is of Japanese ancestry and inspired by shinrin-yoku, which involves absorbing the calming atmosphere of a forest.

The Finnish Sauna

Photo: The Finnish Sauna

You may want to take the spa to nature. If so, The Finnish Sauna is the ideal option. Available for Vancouver, Squamish, and Whistler, the company rents wood-fired saunas (7-8 person capacity) and sauna tents that you can park and then relax within. They also operate the Cheekeye Sauna in Squamish in collaboration with Squamish Ranch. Guests can unwind in a 14-person wood-fired sauna by a river and at the fire pit lounge area. They host sauna socials or you can book private two-hour sessions.

Outdoor Pools

Swimming at Kits Pool in Vancouver

Swimming at Kits Pool. Photo: Destination BC/Grant Harder

Finally, many hotels in the city feature outdoor pools with views of the downtown core as well as the natural surroundings for scenic lounging and swimming. Great options include: Fairmont Waterfront, The Westin Bayshore, the Hyatt Regency, Pan Pacific, and the Hilton Vancouver Downtown Hotel.

City outdoor pools that have great views include ones at Second Beach, Kitsilano, Hillcrest, and New Brighton Pool.

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