lone candle filled the room with a glow like a full moon rising. I felt the smoothness
of cool linen around my nude body, stripped of worry and the everyday façade
of clothing. Soft music engulfed me, lifting me to a different plane of existence.
As Rénald's hands worked their way down my back, massaging oil into my
skin, I became keenly aware of each muscle.
walking up to the main building at Spa Eastman.
massage, my first, was just one segment of my visit to Spa Eastman. When my friend,
Theresa, asked me if I was interested in an opportunity to try a destination spa
listed in the top 100 of the world, just an hour out of Montréal, Québec,
I agreed immediately. Not that I was sure what a destination spa was, but I was
sure I'd find out soon enough!
Dubuc, President and Chief Executive Officer, of Spa Eastman took a few minutes
to talk to us when we arrived. Her enthusiasm and commitment to the experience
was evident as she explained the philosophy of a destination spa. "All of
the ingredients," she said, "are combined to promote the pursuit and
maintenance of a healthy and stimulating lifestyle."
ingredients of a destination spa vacation include an educational component, healthy
diet, restful environment, and a variety of treatments that help guests take charge
of their physical and mental well-being. Whether guests go solo, as couples, family
groups or with friends, the atmosphere is of pure luxurious relaxation.
check-in Theresa and I both retired to our rooms. While I'd chosen the most economical
package, Theresa was on the opposite end of the scale. My cabin room was cozy
and tasteful, while hers in the Spa main building oozed gracious décor.
The single bed in my room was soft, while Theresa's king-size bed and down-filled comforter offered a night of pampered dreams.
there were advantages to my location! The cottage, just a five-minute walk from
the main building, was nestled amidst trees and wildflowers, which just begged
to be enjoyed. From my tiny balcony I watched one of my neighbors (there were
four individual rooms in the cottage) swing back into careful childhood days,
as she glided back and forth on the rope swing under the huge maple tree.
activity calendar for the day listed several walks around the grounds: a fitness
walk, an anti-stress walk, and an evening walk, but rather than join the group,
I preferred to enjoy the solitude of my surroundings. I set off at a brisk pace,
but soon stopped to explore things, from the weathered rail fence, put together
without benefit of wire, staples or nails, to the old barn and the gardens. Lush
green trees, plants and wildflowers provided each of the other cabins I encountered
on the path with privacy from the world.
appointment with Rénald was for late afternoon, so I regretfully cut my
walk short and headed up past the pond to the main building. Clad in the standard
issue beige robes, various spa residents lounged on the chaises, watching the
water in the fountain, and the tiny fish swimming below them. The load croak of
a bullfrog echoed past us all.
the quiet charm of a French nobleman, Rénald gave me halting English directions
on settling myself on the treatment table. But the language of body message has
no barriers -- soon the Miracle Minéral Dos had worked its magic and every
muscle in my body was fully relaxed. After the oil massage came the minéral
treatment. Rénald covered my back, thighs and legs with cloths then applied
a warm mineral layer. With another layer of cloths and a blanket I soon felt its
effects, as the warmth permeated all of my pores. The strong smell of menthol
filled the room, even opening my nasal passages to the experience.
that wasn't the end. As he removed the mineral wraps he continued the massage
from my neck right to my toes. Using some reflexology techniques, he worked on
my legs and feet. After what felt like ten minutes, but by conventional time was
more than an hour, I slipped from the table and into my robe. Back to fluorescent
lights and reality, my body somehow melded with my mind, I wandered back out to
was next on the agenda in the dining room, and what a meal it was. Spa Eastman's
chef was a treasure, from his training in Belgium to his French restaurant experience,
he had the ability to make magic with foods we often think of as less than exciting.
Part of the spa program is a tantalizing, very healthy menu, focusing on organic
foods grown in their own gardens. However, Spa Eastman staff hasten to assure
visitors, "We don't push people towards a diet -- you can eat what you like."
to a salad bar, the menu's first course included Leek soup, Waldorf salad, and
Ramequin of barley and oyster mushrooms. The entrée choice was salmon filet
with red bell pepper sauce or veal roast with mustard and tarragon sauce. Dessert
options for those of us, like me, with a sweet tooth, were maple pie or wild berry
pie. Edible flowers garnished all of the dishes, so the meals were true French
Canadian culinary delights.
night at Spa Eastman is far from over after the evening meal. Workshops are offered
in both French and English as part of the basic spa package. Theresa and I chose
the stress control and diminution of physical pain by flowers of Dr. Bach, which
was presented by Naturopath, Barbara Dowgiallo. A fascinating topic, made even
more interesting by Barbara's expertise with her Doctorate in Physics, the hour
provided enough information to get me hooked on the topic.
next morning I found the schedule at Spa Eastman was also full -- whether guests
sign up for treatments or take advantage of on-going classes. Massages range from
underwater jet massage to stone massage to lymphatic drainage, while body and
aesthetic treatments span a selection from body wrap with hydromassage bath to
the decléor silhouette program, which consists of five treatments for five
There were, of course, a full range of facials from aromaplasty to an integral
facial, as well as pedicures and capillary treatments. The free activities for
guests included Aqua-gym or body sculpting, Butts and Abs, Yoga, Swiss Ball, Cardio
Mix, and various other activities. Or, guests were free to sleep late, roam the
grounds, read and visit with others, according to preference.
I knew it, our visit at Spa Eastman was done, and it was time to return to Montréal
for our separate flights home. For me, I was thankful I'd taken the opportunity
to stop and smell the flowers, while pampering my mind and body.
and reservations for Spa Eastman are available at: