It’s funny sharing a birthday with the global pandemic: while I celebrate yet another 365 days around the sun, I couldn’t help but hate that we had somehow made it through 365 days of social isolation and no travelling. Emphasis on that last point.
So while I didn’t have the option of hopping on a plane or taking shots at a bar, my friend and I booked a last-minute overnight stay at Ste. Anne’s Spa.
It was the closest thing to a vacation we could get without hopping on a plane.
Disclaimer: It books up fast folks, so the earlier you book the better. We somehow got really lucky with our timing.
For those who aren’t familiar with Ste. Anne’s Spa, the cute cottage-like building is located in Grafton, ON about less than two hours from Toronto’s downtown core (on a good day).
Overnight packages are generally cheaper on weekdays and we had booked just a one night stay. For the weird seasonal purgatory between spring and winter, Genée and I thought it was the perfect amount of time.
I have to say though, we got really lucky—the weather felt like summer at some points!
Prior to your trip, you can book your spa treatment and all the timeframes for your afternoon tea, dinner, breakfast, and lunch (yes, you get four meals included with your package price!).
When we first arrived at the spa, we were given an orientation where we filled out some forms and were given our robes and bags for the day. We also went over some COVID-19 precautions and procedures and felt reassured that the sanitization and safety went above and beyond.
Now the one downside is that our room wasn’t expected to be ready until 4:00 p.m. (we had checked in a round lunch). So, while we waited, we signed up to go on a guided walk tour of the property.
It probably wasn’t the best idea to walk outside in our fall boots (we were not prepared for the snow). Being the klutz I am, I may have slipped one too many times…
But I imagine the trails must be gorgeous when there’s actual greenery outside. Plus, with the three various trails you can choose from something short and sweet to something longer. We followed our path to the farm just up the road where you could feed and pet some horses.
We then returned to the main house to get ready for our spa treatments. The package we received gave us a $120 credit towards any spa treatment, so we both chose a hot stone back exfoliation. After having not seen my RMT in months, it was so needed (especially after an unintentional workout).
And, because we only used $100 of our original credit, we could put the remaining $20 towards a purchase from the gift store!
We followed up our massages with some afternoon tea, where I highly recommend you ask for extras of the salmon (don’t be afraid to ask, they are very accommodating. They also had great vegetarian and gluten-free options!
But, it’s no surprise that for this Piscean, the outdoor hydratherapy pools were my favourite part of the entire day. The temperature was perfect and there were enough pools and space to stay socially and physically distant from other guests.
While we thought we’d only spend 30 minutes turning into prunes, the water coupled with the pretty lights had us enjoying the heat for over an hour.
I really should have just dedicated a blog post to the food at Ste. Anne’s, because delicious doesn’t even cut it. Created with farm-to-table in mind, the quality of the meals were better than most places I’ve been.
For dinner that night, the four-course meal started with an amuse-bouche followed by appetizers. Genée ordered the pork belly and I chose the mushroom risotto. You’ll want both for sure.
We followed that with duck and Osso Bucco respectively. If I wasn’t so full I would’ve asked for seconds (which you can technically do…). Sadly we were too full for dessert, so we passed on that, but the options looked amazing!
Note: I think it’s also imperative to mention that Ste. Anne’s doesn’t serve alcohol but you are more than welcome to bring your own beverages to enjoy at any meal (or even by the pools).
Now for my birthday breakfast.
If you don’t know, breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, and I don’t just mean the hour it is, I mean even the food involved in breakfast is my favourite thing in the world.
Unsurprisingly, I chose to ring in 28 with an order of Eggs Benedict (my usual go to). Genée ordered a classic breakfast (with hard boiled eggs). Then we proceeded to ask for extra sausages and bacon. (I am allowed to be gluttonous on my day of birth).
We then checked out and hung around in the massage chairs and gift shop while we waited for lunch. For appetizers (man, we were really well-fed during this trip) we got beef carpaccio and a fish cake. I then ordered the grilled cheese and would highly recommend with a side of tomato soup! The service at Ste. Anne’s is impeccable and they were very flexible about getting Genée’s food ready for take-out instead.
(A good friend of mine also mentioned she once took seconds home after she had lunch… it is an all-inclusive spa for a reason!).
For those who are curious, Ste. Anne’s Spa did come at a bit of a higher price point, but by the end of 24 hours we thought that for accommodations, spa treatments, four meals, and access to the hot pools, it was worth the money.
Overall, the environment Ste. Anne’s Spa creates is nothing short of relaxing. From the music they use to the aesthetic in each room, it really is a nice little break from city life.
Plus the staff are amazing! While the rooms didn’t come with TVs, we were able to request one from the front desk where they had a selection of DVDs for us to choose from.They even called us a couple days later to ask how we enjoyed our stay.
For our first visit to the spa (it was something we’ve been talking about for a long time) we were really pleased.
Would we go back? In. A. Heartbeat.
Honestly, if I could do it monthly… I would.
P.S. For all my friends in relationships consider it your next getaway with your boo.
Also, because I am terrible at taking photos of the room we stayed in, enjoy this video where you can catch a glimpse of it.