The cashier at the shoe store peered at me curiously as she rang in the sale of my flip-flops. “Are you going somewhere warm where you’ll be able to wear these soon?” she asked. “No…I wish!” I laughingly replied. “But I’ll be doing the next best thing – spending a day at the spa.”
And it truly was – a trip to Tay River AQUA was just what I needed on a sunny-but-crisp Saturday at the end of March, after enduring a long, intensely cold winter in Ottawa. While a Caribbean beach would have been nice, the Nordic-style spa – located in quaint, small-town Perth, Ontario – is much more accessible!
Located under an hour away from home, it was the perfect day’s escape for my friend Marianne and I. As invited guests of the spa’s new aquatic facilities, our day began with a mouthwatering spread of breakfast goodies – homemade muffins, fresh croissants, fresh fruit and coffee. Food is such an important element of pampering, and Tay River’s dining lounge certainly didn’t disappoint. It felt so indulgent to lounge on leather couches, nibbling little quiches and enjoying coffee talk with my girlfriend – sans enfants!
Soon afterwards, we were treated to skin consultations with Dr. Manuela Joannou at the adjoining Tay River Reflections Medical Spa. As founder and Medical Director, it quickly became clear to me that Dr. Joannou was a wealth of knowledge and experience, and very passionate about helping others to achieve their optimum health and well-being. During our session, Dr. Joannou gave me her full attention as she addressed my personal skin care concerns – and I loved that she never made me feel pressured to buy any products or services. I learned that the medical spa was the first service offered at Tay River when it first opened in 1999; the facility has since expanded exponentially to include AQUA and Train & Transform, a full-service fitness centre.
Following our skin consults, Marianne and I wandered over to check out the fitness centre, an impressively large facility that offers an indoor track, cardio machines, weights and a beautiful, sun-lit yoga studio upstairs. We decided that we should expend a little energy before heading back to the dining lounge for lunch – so we enjoyed a leisurely workout in the gym. One-day visitors to the spa can enjoy access to the fitness centre, while the locals in Perth can opt for ongoing classes – including weight training, spin and pilates – or even connect with a personal trainer for one-on-one support.
After our workout and a late lunch, Marianne and I were more than ready to hit the hot tubs. Tay River’s brand-new AQUA facilities include two large, outdoor hot tubs (they each hold 25 people!), a red cedar dry sauna and three relaxation gazebos. A series of comfy Adirondack chairs – clustered around an outdoor fireplace – provide an additional area for lounging with a book or a glass of wine.
Between both of us working full time, parenting young kids and juggling family commitments, it’s rare that Marianne and I have the chance to truly connect. That made our casual conversation amidst the rising steam of the hot tubs that much more precious, and our time together really flew by.
As our day was wrapping up, the staff approached us and asked if we’d like to sample one last service back at the medical spa. Not about to turn down the offer of one last pampering session, we readily agreed. Marianne opted for a mini-massage, while I got to try out reflexology for the very first time. I absolutely loved my session; with my tired feet in the skilled hands of the reflexologist, I was so relaxed that I just about lost consciousness! It was the perfect, indulgent end to a bliss-filled day.
Are you a harried parent in dire need of some time away – with your spouse or with a friend? Tay River and I want to give it to you! Simply comment on this post to have your name added to a draw for TWO FULL-DAY PASSES TO TAY RIVER AQUA! (A winner will be announced on Friday, April 24, 2015.)