Located in a Toronto Heritage Building built in 1889 by the same architects as Old City Hall, St. Paul’s Anglican Church and Casa Loma, Elmwood Spa at 18 Elm Street in Toronto, Ontario Canada is one of the city’s oldest and most popular spas among tourists and locals.
It was originally home to the Toronto YWCA until the 1950s, converted to The Elmwood Women’s Hotel after and then in 1982 it became the Elmwood Spa. This 4-storey property offers many day spa services for both men and women.
The historic exterior is juxtaposed with Elmwood Spa’s modern Thai style interior and tablets used for check in. There are two restaurants onsite so guests can make their visit to Elmwood an all day affair.
When I visited the spa several weeks ago with my friend Lisa – you can read her account of her very first spa visit over on her blog Gone with the Family, I was surprised to find it quite busy – especially because it was a Thursday morning. I suppose many guests were thinking the same thing as I was – squeeze in a few hours of rest and relaxation before the busyness of the holidays set in. The Couples Spa Retreat seemed to be a popular choice the day from what I observed.
Elmwood Spa Treatments
I’ve been a frequent visitor over the past decade (always for massages) and was invited to sample the 60-minute LI’TYA Kodo Body Massage ($169) for the first time. Inspired by traditional Australian Aboriginal techniques, spa guests get to choose from different aromatic oils to either rejuvenate, harmonize or detoxify the body’s energies.
Before my massage began, the therapist explained the process of the treatment and asked what areas she should focus on. My son is allergic to all nuts and I was concerned that the macadamia nut based oils would cause a reaction once I got home. Thankfully she was able to find a non-nut based alternative that would work for this treatment.
My therapist spent half an hour on my lower back, a chronic source of tension and sometimes pain, and by the end of the massage, I was feeling relaxed and ready for a nap. This seems to be a normal occurrence for me every time I visit Elmwood Spa – most likely due to the treatment, the warmth from the fireplace and the soft music playing in the background.
Other treatments here include several varieties of massages, facials, and body treatments. I can vouch for many of the massage treatments here at Elmwood Spa. The therapists know what they’re doing and if you want to feel like a puddle of mush, book a massage!
Unfortunately I was unable to catch a few ZZZZs because it was time for lunch.
Lunch at Terrace Restaurant
I headed to the fourth floor in my spa robe to the Terrace Restaurant.
The Parmesan Custard was served warm and surprisingly very good – normally the custards I order are of the sweet variety!
I decided to have a vegan main and ordered the Elmwood Puri featuring chickpeas, grilled eggplant, peppers, zucchini and tahini. The Indian inspired dish was very filling even without any meat.
Although my first thought was to order the S’more Fondue for dessert, I opted to try the Sour Cream Gelato thinking it would probably be a healthier option. I don’t actually know if it was the healthier, but I convinced myself it was!
The gelato was delicious and I really enjoyed the sweetness of the blueberry compote paired against the tartness of the sour cream.
Lunching in a spa robe is something I have to do again and I’d highly recommend it to every Elmwood Spa guest.
Elmwood Spa is very clean, the staff is extremely friendly and attentive and I’d recommend every parent schedule a few hours of relaxation if they’re in the area.
Next time, I’d take advantage of Elmwood’s Water Therapies – whirlpool, steam room, and swimming pool – complimentary with all spa services.
Elmwood Spa is conveniently located close to public transit (Dundas Station is the closest TTC subway station to the spa), walking distance from Eaton Centre shopping mall and right next to the Chelsea Hotel. It is an urban oasis where guests can escape the chaos of the downtown core.