International Standards of SpaExcellence(SM)2014
A Quality System Approach for Spa Businesses
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Upper Hot Springs, Alberta, Canada
Julie Register visited this destination spa at 108 Mile Ranch,
British Columbia, Canada in October 2001
doesn't get much better than this - soaking in a pool filled with hot
spring water overlooking some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
The Banff Upper Hot Springs pool had lots of people in it on the day
of my visit, many of them families with children. However, I didn't
notice the crowd when I got in the water. This isn't a swimming pool
with lots of motion and splashing. People tend to pick out their spots
to just soak and talk or appreciate the view of Mount Rundle. It's a
social experience (as were the original Roman spas), but you can be
alone with your thoughts. This priceless treat has an incredibly low
price and convenient hours of operation. The entrance fee ranges from
$4.50CAD (senior or child, low season) to $7.50CAD (adult, high season).
At the time of my visit, that was $2.70US - $4.50US! Discounts are given
for families and groups. The bathhouse provides rental of 1930's-style
swimsuits which are a tad more modest than today's bikinis, covering
the body from upper chest to upper thigh ($1.50CAD), towel ($1.25CAD),
and locker ($.50CAD). It's open daily at 9 or 10am and closes at 10
or 11pm, depending on the day and season. Soaking in the hot pool is
a popular after-ski activity in the winter.
facility, part of Banff National Park, underwent a $4.5-million renovation
in the mid-90's to combine the look and feel of the original 1930s bathhouse
with the amenities expected by visitors today. It offers a redesigned
pool, changing rooms, restaurants, boutiques, and the Pleiades Spa.
There is an interpretive exhibit in the lobby that uses pictures and
anecdotes to tell the story of the hot springs from the discovery of
the nearby Cave and Basin Hot Springs by Canadian Pacific Railway workers
in 1882 (which led to the creation of Canada's first national park)
- to the first government facility opening in 1904 with two cement plunge
basins, several bath tubs and a 7.2 m x 7.2 m swimming basin - to the
bathhouse and pool opening in 1932 - to the most recent renovation in
Massage Therapy & Spa
it does get better than just the soak in the pool. The Pleiades Spa
(pronounced Play-a-deez), located in the bathhouse, offers massage,
reflexology, reiki, shiatsu, body treatment, facial, aromatherapy
wrap and packages combining treatments. The spa is located on two
floors but is compact and only takes seven guests at a time. It's
best to make reservations in advance. I had an aromatherapy wrap and
1/2 hour massage ($70CAD/$42US). I started with the massage which
was fabulous. The therapist, Scott, had magic hands with a wonderful
healing touch. I highly recommend scheduling an hour and a half with
him. I am sure it would be well worth the $95CAD/$57US. After the
massage, I had an aromatherapy wrap. I spent the first half hour alternating
between a plunge pool filled with hot springs water and an aroma steam
room. The hot mineral water stimulates circulation, promotes relaxation
and detoxifies and re-mineralizes the body. After I was warmed up,
therapist Tony Neves escorted me to the adjacent room which was filled
with a number of treatment tables. He selected a blend of essential
oils and sprayed it all over my body while I was standing. I then
got on the table and and he wrapped flannel sheets around me. He dimmed
the lights and I enjoyed the aroma, listened to the soft music, and
relaxed for a half hour. This treatment is simple and unique. I haven't
seen anything quite like it at other spas. There was a wedding party
of seven coming in to have aromatherapy wraps after me. Many weddings
are held in the gardens near the park administration building.
is an aromatherapy enthusiast. On the benefits of aromatherapy, Tony
says, "Since ancient times, people have used extracts from
plants for therapeutic use to improve one's health and well-being.
Aromatherapy is the modern name for the educated and controlled practice
of these techniques using aromatic extracts called essential oils.
scientific research has helped to confirm the healing properties of
essential oils. One way they can help the body is by increasing
its ability to efficiently transport oxygen and nutrients into cells.
This enhances our ability to deal with stress-related problems, improve
our circulation as well as
relax our muscles and nervous system.
been working in the spa for several years doing aromatherapy wraps.
Our customers' response to this experience has been wonderful!
Often people mention feeling relief from stress, sore muscles and
respiratory complaints, to name a few."
was willing to share a few aromatherapy recipes with us. He cautions
that essential oils are powerful. Keep away from children and avoid
during pregnancy. The following recipes are for external use only. Diffuse
or add 2 drops of these recipes to 1 tablespoon of massage oil.
Combine the following amounts of essential oils to create the desired
blend. Add each recipe into a 120ml spray bottle filled with distilled
water to create a spray or use 4 or 5 drops directly in a bathtub
or steam room.
Relaxant: 9 drops Orange, 5 drops Rosewood, 4 drops Lavender,
2 drops Ylang-ylang
Relaxation: 9 Neroli, 9 Rose, 2 Chamomile
Relaxant 1: 8 drops Lavender, 8 drops Rosemary, 3 drops
Relaxant 2: 10 Lemon, 5 Eucalyptus, 5 Rosemary
Aid: 8 Lemon, 4 Lemongrass, 4 Eucalyptus, 4 Peppermint
Blend: 10 Orange, 4 Rosewood, 3 Sandalwood, 3 Rose
way the spa is currently configured, after checking into the spa on
the lower level, you need to exit the spa and use the main bathhouse
stairway to get to the treatment rooms on the upper floor. Spa Director,
Blake Johnson, says the spa will be remodeled starting November 5,
2001 to add an internal staircase for spa use only. A new treatment
room downstairs will also be added to make a total of 6 private treatment
rooms on both floors. The renovations should be completed by the end
of the year. There will be a new and improved aromatherapy treatment
introduced at that time.
Upper Hot Springs are on Mountain Avenue, four kilometres south of
the Town of Banff. It is a day-use facility and offers no accommodations.
However, there are plenty of places to stay in Banff from ranging
from hostels to the ultra-deluxe. If you come to Banff to take advantage
of all the national park has to offer - skiing, canoeing, biking,
etc., be sure not to miss one of its most unique offerings, the Banff
Upper Hot Springs.
Photos copyright 2001, Julie Register
except those marked * which are courtesy of Banff Upper Hot Springs
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