Gypsy Journal - Search for Journals Habeeb Salloum


12 Jul 2005  thru   31 Dec 2005

Fairmont Springs (Credit: Travel Alberta)

As we relaxed in the soothing waters of the large mineral pool before our massages discussing the spa’s offerings, Jesús described the place well when he remarked, “It’s the mother of all spas!”

Glorying in the Spa

“I wonder if it’s going to be worth it?” I asked my colleague Jesús from Mexico as we travelled westward on the trans-Canada highway through the foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. “It should be! We’re going to be massaged at the Willow Stream Spa, the best spa in Canada.” I hardly heard his voice as I sat engrossed by the breathtaking scenery of Banff National Park. He went on, “I hope we have a masseuse, but with my luck it will likely be a masseur. I love the softness of a woman’s hand.”

“He’s likely right! I thought to myself, “We can’t be lucky twice in a row. I was thinking of the fine massage that I had in Calgary at the Oasis Wellness and Spa where the masseuse, Asia, rejuvenated me.

Soon, we settled down inside the walls of the Fairmont Springs Hotel, one of the top tourist abodes in the world. I was enthralled. Its spires and turrets, nestled in a storybook setting, gave it the appearance of a majestic fairytale castle and its storybook setting made it appear to be a true mountain paradise, especially for the affluent.

From my window overlooking the thickly pine forested Bow River Valley, into which there has been carved an exhilarating 27-hole golf course, I stood engrossed with the view as if in a dream. Before me was one of the most scenic panoramas on earth - an enchanting vista of sky-reaching mountains sculpted by time and ice overlooking an emerald landscape in a picturesque rolling green valley, edged by golf course greens.

I had hardly settled in my room when Jesús was rapping on my door, “Let’s go! What are you waiting for! Just think! Soon a beautiful masseuse will be soothing our tired muscles.”

“Hope your words are true”, I snickered as we made our way to the hotel’s Willow Stream Spa, where we intended to luxuriate and be pampered in one of the prime spas in Canada.

Reminiscent of the hot springs that have beckoned travellers for millennia, it was totally renovated in 2003 and is today at the forefront of the spa industry, offering a world-class European-style spa experience. A tranquil and opulent world with modern amenities set in a backdrop of spectacular fantastic mountain scenery the Spa reflects an image of elegance and luxury. As we walked in, its atmosphere and its serene aura seemed to connect with the hotel’s fairytale setting, giving it a true embodiment of peace, tranquility and natural beauty. It has been ranked the number one spa in Canada by Spa Finders, an internationally recognized publication, for those looking for premiere spa vacations where travellers can rejuvenate tired muscles and soothe troubled spirits.

We were ushered in the main area of the spa with its 11 calming pools and whirlpools complete with waterfalls, saunas, and steam rooms. After the pools and steam rooms, we had chosen a massage session. However, there is much more offered at the spa - a tranquil world of 29 treatment areas, and a whole range of treatments from body scrubs and massages to hydrotherapy sessions and rose hip wrap - the most in demand. As we relaxed in the soothing waters of the large mineral pool before our massages discussing the spa’s offerings, Jesús described the place well when he remarked, “It’s the mother of all spas!”

We had gloried in the pools and steam rooms for some 30 minutes when a young man came out, saying that it was time for the massage. As we walked toward the massage rooms, I felt downhearted when I saw Jesús with a smirk on his face. There was to be no soft gentle massage for me.

However, all this was soon forgotten as Steve with his strong hands gently whipped me into shape. Smoothly but firmly, he kneaded my muscles while in the background soft music seemed to sooth the rubbing of his muscular hands.

After an hour’s session, I felt totally revived and uplifted, leaving with a feeling of relaxation and contentment. When I walked out, bidding Steve goodbye, I turned the corner to see Jesús coming. His smirk was gone. He looked at me, “No soft hands!” We laughed together. We now knew that our fantasy of masseuses with tender hands had been a mirage.

Willow Stream Spa, The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, P.O. Box 960, Banff, Alberta, Canada, T1L 1J4. Email: Tel: 1-800-257-7544 within North America or (506) 863-6310 internationally.

Two Good Treatments Willow Stream Signature Relaxation Massage, surrender ones body to a calming relaxation massage, combined with the application of Calming Mind Oil and deep breathing exercises. (90 minutes - $209.00) Find Your Energy - For Rejuvenation, experience the Rose Hip infused massage, culminating in a gentle wrap with an infusion of Rose Hip and a re-mineralizing face massage, leaving your skin and body nourished and your energy restored. (90 minutes - $259.00)


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