While Whistler is known for its world-class winter sports and summer hiking, mix the yin and the yang by visiting one of Whistler’s top spas. The Whistler Scandinave Spa couldn’t be in a more idyllic location, nestled in the forest, just beyond Whistler Village. It features a spectacular outdoor spa, terraced on three acres, surrounded by picturesque cedar and spruce trees.
We visited in mid-September before the weather had changed. Our Scandinave Spa experience was relaxing, rejuvenating, and a nice break from busy activities in Vancouver. Should you have three days in Vancouver before or after an Alaska cruise, consider the short drive to Whistler to experience this amazing spa.
We visited the spa for half a day, which made a nice break after the Whistler train wreck hike the day before. Both Brian and I had booked a massage and enjoyed the spa afterward. After a morning at Scandinave Spa, we enjoyed a free self-guided tour of the Whistler Sliding Centre.
Based on an age-old Finnish tradition, the Scandinave Spa aims to relax the body, cleanse the skin, and clear the mind. It’s a quiet zone, void of electronic devices that both relaxes and invigorates. Today, this energizing and relaxing technique is known as hydrotherapy.
Directions To The Spa
- Location: 8010 Mons Road | Open: 10 am to 9 pm (although massage appointments start at 9 am
Located at 8010 Mons Road, this Whistler woodland sanctuary was easy to find north of Whistler Village. There is plenty of free parking, and the spa is open year-round from 10 am to 9 pm. Massage treatments are available from 9 am onwards.
If you don’t have a car, some hotels offer complimentary shuttles. While we stayed at the Whistler Resort and Spa, I don’t know if they had a shuttle service, but they had business cards at the check-in desks offering a 10% discount at the spa.
Scandinave Spa Massages
Before arriving in Whistler, my husband booked us massages at the earliest time, 9 am. The spa offers a 15% discount for appointments at 9 am and 8 pm. We had wanted to have a romantic couple’s massage, but due to Covid-19, these were not available. So, Brian chose a Swedish massage for himself and a restorative massage for myself.
At the time of booking, the Swedish was CAD 185 and the therapeutic CAD 200. However, when we arrived at the spa, they did not honour the discount because we partially paid with gift cards received as a wedding gift.
After check-in, we were given a bathrobe, two towels, and a lock, and directed to the changing rooms one floor below. It is mandatory to shower before and after a massage so that we could enter the bath area. At the Scandinave Spa pavilion, health forms are completed before the appointment.
Stripped down to my birthday suit, I was expecting the massage to be a fantastic experience, at a whopping CAD 200. Since we were visiting after the Covid-19 lockdown, we were required to wear a mask throughout the entire massage, as were the therapists. The therapists use grapeseed oil because it is non-allergenic and doesn’t turn rancid easily.
During the event, I asked about the difference between Swedish and therapeutic massages. I was told the Swedish is a gentle, “fluffy” massage, suitable for beginners. The restorative was supposed to be a more intense massage to relax and rejuvenate. None of our masseuses were registered massage therapists, but Brian’s had 21 years of experience in eastern and western techniques.
In the end, Brian had the fantastic deep-tissue massage, and I had a soft, “fluffy” massage that didn’t WOW me.
Whistler Scandinave Spa Bath Experience
From there, we took another shower to remove the oil from our bodies. This is a requirement before heading outside to the bath area.
Stepping outside into the Scandinave Spa area took my breath away. The hot and cold baths are terraced into the wooded landscape with rustic installations dotted between the pools. By tradition, it’s suggested a 10 – 15 minutes hot station, is followed by a 10 – 20 secs cold station, then 10 – 15 minutes of pure relaxation. Surrounded by the sounds of singing birds, the smells of the forest, and the views of moss-covered trees, how could I not relax?
Since we booked massages, the baths were included in the cost, as were the use of robes. The bath experience alone costs CAD 75 Monday To Friday and CAD 85 on Saturdays in low season (April 1 to October 31) and CAD 10 more in high season (November 1 to March 31). However, during peak times, the fee is CAD 100 every day of the week. The use of a robe is an additional CAD 13.
Trying to follow the tradition, we started with a hot bath set to 104F. The jets were relaxing, and the warm water raised our body temperatures, increasing blood flow to our muscles. With Covid-19, the spa was operating at half capacity, and during our visit, it was sparse, allowing us plenty of distance from others.
After 10 minutes of a hot, incredibly therapeutic spa, we moved to a cold plunge bath set at a frigid 59F. Even though I’m not fond of the cold (frankly, who is?), I was able to immerse myself in the cold pool fully. However, Brian couldn’t go beyond his calf muscles. Getting out of the pool, I expected to feel cold, but the air was warmer, and I felt an invigorating rush.
I noticed most people avoided the cold pools, and I couldn’t help but wonder what the experience would be like in the thick of winter, surrounded by snow. Dunking into a cold pool with negative outdoor temperatures might be equivalent to participating in Canada’s popular tradition, the polar bear swim!
In other areas of the spa, there are Nordic showers and a Nordic Waterfall. I’m proud to say I managed to stand under the cold waterfall twice, but it wasn’t an easy feat!
The Saunas And Steam Rooms
From the cold pool, we tried out a dry sauna in one of the rustic buildings. Like the baths, the saunas and steam rooms had limited capacity. Heated with wood chips, we could hear the crackling of the wood in the fire. I’m not fond of the dryness of a sauna, so we soon set out to find a steam room instead. The eucalyptus steam room was fantastic as the smell opened up my airways. With a few deep breaths of the intoxicating odor, I felt physically relaxed, energized, and clear-minded.
The steam rooms and saunas are roomy, and only once did we share the space with another couple. Steam rooms are incredibly beneficial to health for improving circulation, clearing congestion, loosening stiff joints, and promoting skin health. I love the fact that I sweat profusely, which helps to improve my dry skin.
The Relaxation Areas
There is no shortage of relaxation spaces from the spacious solariums, heated hammocks, and outdoor firepits. We spent some time in a vast solarium, gentle rocking in custom-made zero gravity chairs, admiring the pristine nature that Whistler is famous for.
Pre-COVID, the Whistler Spa also offered yoga sessions in one of the larger solariums.
Whistler Scandinave Spa Rules
When visiting the Whistler spa, there are some essential rules. They are as follows:
It is a tech-free zone beyond the changing rooms, although books are allowed.
The bath area is a quiet zone. No talking is allowed.
No outside food is allowed.
In the bath area, you must sit on your towel.
Take a shower before a massage and before entering the bath area.
Bring a bathing suit, sandals, and prefilled bottled water.
Guests must be 19 years or older.
There are no in-and-out privileges.
Inside the lobby, the spa bistro has sandwiches, snacks, and salads, as well as hot and cold beverages. It was nice to see there are a few gluten-free and vegan options. The lounging area to enjoy your food overlooks the picturesque outdoor spa and is an ideal place to wait should the spa be busy.
Whistler Spa Conclusion
In conclusion, the relaxing hydrotherapy experience was beyond amazing. The hot and cold stations were invigorating. Taking time to savor the refreshing waterfalls and untouched wilderness made the experience doubly memorable.
While I would not book a massage again, I would definitely return to experience hydrotherapy in this woodland once more.
Happy travels ~ Karen