Entering eforea: spa at Hilton Suites Toronto/Markham is a pleasant surprise. With a $12 million renovation scheduled to finish in mid 2014, the property is already impressing guests with its transformation thus far. The lobby boasts the Absolute Atrium Lounge that serves as a central hub for hotel guests and visitors, and the Essence of Unionville restaurant is inviting with high ceilings, private booths, skylight and modern art.
The light, open feel of the lobby is echoed in the boutique and reception area of eforea Spa, the luxury spa brand’s first location in Canada. Formerly occupied by Holtz Spa, some of the original architecture elements remain, though the transition to eforea has brought about changes and additions, including a “man cave”; a treatment room designed specifically for male guests. The room is equipped with a shower, and lounge area, complete with a television and the temperature is set a few degrees cooler than most treatment rooms, as preferred by most male guests.
My eforea spa experience began with herbal tea, then, wrapped in my generously-sized robe, I was escorted to my treatment room. I had selected a treatment that would serve as the perfect antidote to the harsh, cold winter weather Torontonians have been experiencing – the Signature Full Body Repair. A mineral salt scrub is an ideal way to exfoliate the dead skin cells and freshen your body for spring, a treatment further enhanced when the salt is infused with your choice of their signature oils. After my therapist, Grace, invited me to smell each one, I opted for the “healing journey” scent. I think I detected a hint of clove, which is always a favourite of mine.
Grace instructed me to take three deep breaths, inhaling the aromatherapy. She gently massaged the salt scrub on my body and I could feel my shoulders and neck muscles easing. My treatment took place on the steam bed, so after the scrub was complete, the lid of the bed was lowered and the flow of steam began. Within seconds I could feel the warmth of the steam on my body and the moisture being welcomed into my skin, parched from the dryness of winter. As I relaxed into the soothing steam, Grace massaged my scalp.
After the steam subsided, a shower of warm water began, serving to rinse off the remaining salt and preparing for lotion to be gently massaged into my skin, sealing in the moisture from the steam bath. A gentle facial massage performed with rose porphyry stones completed the treatment.
I wandered back to the transition lounge for a glass of water before I was taken downstairs to the spa’s private dining area for lunch. eforea’s lunch menu includes a selection of options from the “Hilton Eat Right Program”, promoting a healthy lifestyle with nutritionally focused recipes. Opting to embrace the healthy choices available, I selected a roasted carrot and quinoa salad with roasted cashews, cinnamon and mustard vinaigrette. It was delicious, offering the perfect balance of flavours and textures. My beverage of choice was the “Soul Cleanser”, comprised of strawberries, fresh basil and lemon juice, topped with soda water. It was so refreshing and delicious, I can only hope the spa staff didn’t hear the sound of my straw trying to ensure I sucked up every drop!
For my afternoon treatment, I was back with Grace again, this time for Eforea’s Signature Correcting Facial created by Kerstin Florian. Following the body scrub earlier, it was time to refresh my face, neck and décolleté. A light acid exfoliation tingled my skin before a facial massage, followed by a peel-off masque for enhanced hydration. And personally, the highlight of any spa treatment is a scalp massage. Lucky for me, that element is also part of this exquisite facial experience.
After the hours spent lounging during my treatments, a quick glance in the mirror confirmed my hair was quite a mess! Rather than taking time to wash and style it myself in the locker room, the spa had kindly arranged an appointment for a blow dry in the salon.
My stylist, Alin, cheerfully welcomed me and began gently washing my hair. Inquiring about the shampoo being applied, she shared that the salon uses botanically based products by Kevin Murphy. “It’s like skincare for your hair”, said Alin. A quick blow dry and a few minutes of styling, and Alin’s warm personality and skillful hands had me emerging looking like a new woman and feeling like a rock star.
Meandering throughout the various areas of the spa throughout my visit, I was captivated by the artwork throughout. As I was checking out, I inquired about it. Spa Manager, Kim Assar, explained they showcase the work of local artists, with the artists changing two or three times each year. “It’s a gallery…reinvented”, she cheerfully noted. As for the beautiful butterfly display accenting the lounge on the lower level, “the spa’s motto is ‘emerging brighter’, like a butterfly from a cocoon”, noted Kim. Mission accomplished on my visit! It was an exquisite spa experience and I can’t wait to return.
Insider Tips: For guests seeking an enhanced spa experience, an impressive array of Getaway and Romance packages for couples in the couples suite. Childcare is available.
~ Wanda Love, Spas of America. Wanda is a fervent traveler, spa fanatic, lover of wine & food, crappy golfer and mediocre runner. She also works as a marketing & pr specialist for a range of luxury lifestyle companies. You can follow her blog at www.wandalove.com.