Vancouver, Canada, boasts two sides to its “personality” -- cosmopolitan and outdoorsy. Pacific Ocean beaches and coastal mountains, scenic Stanley Park and it’s mile-long seawall contrast with up-to-date Robson Street’s restaurants, shops, and coffee shops. Close to mountains, ocean and rivers it has an energetic, hip feel visitors sense walking its hilly city streets.
But if you're shopping, skiing, hiking, biking or museum-going, schedule a break from a hectic schedule for a spa treatment restores tired tootsies and body. One of my favorite Vancouver spas, the Absolute Spa, is in the The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, a downtown landmark.
Whether staying at this lovely hotel or not, men and women can book appointments at the well-appointed The Absolute Spa. The extensive spa menu can puzzle anyone so the last time I visited, I took a friend’s advice and discussed treatments with the spa staff. Whew! What a relief that was, and I recommend that to everyone before choosing a specific service because even massage offerings can confuse – hot? Stone? Shiatsu? Aromatherapy? Swedish? European? Californian? So don’t be afraid to ask for help before picking treatments.
Before I chose my service, I talked to the skin care specialist who recommended a specific facial treatment I chose -- called, coincidentally, Absolutely Personalized, priced at $125. I also added the DNA Enriched/Vitamin C, at $135, to complement my choice.
To prepare for my treatments, I was led to a locker room and given a plush white terry-cloth robe, slippers, and a private locker. The changing area included showers and amenities including hair spray, dryers, deodorant and towels.
After showering and changing, I headed for the serene, low-lit relaxation room where I lounged on a comfy chair, put my feet up, hydrated with mineral water and waited for my appointments. This is where I returned to after treatments for more relaxation.
In the treatment room for my facial, I took off my robe for a special neck-cloth, then sat back in a comfy chair while a gentle, warm mist wafted over my face and neck for about five minutes, just to open my pores. Before my aesthetician began the misty stage, she asked what kind of music I enjoyed; I like jazz, so she put a jazz tape on her cassette. Closing my eyes, I just mellowed out, waiting for the treatment to continue. Next, I was gently rubbed with a special cleanser, then some pores were opened for extra cleansing (dare I mention black heads?), and finally, a washcloth carefully smoothed away the cleansing cream. The last stage was a deep cream, rubbed carefully over my face and neck.
Finally, in the same room, I had the DNA Enriched/Vitamin C mask put on for a while, then removed. At last, I was glowing and headed for the relaxation room.
After enjoying a half-day at the spa, including time in the relaxation room sipping tea, my body, mind and spirit was revived. Then I was ready for another frantic day sightseeing and shopping from Gastown to Chinatown.
The Absolute Spa at The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver is open Sunday through Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Located at 900 W. Georgia Street, (604) 648-2909, and www.absolutespa.com.