With St. Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, you’re probably starting to think about ordering flowers, hunting down the perfect Little Blue Box or booking a romantic getaway with your partner. Ste. Anne’s Spa in Grafton, Ont., should be at the top of your list for the latter if you’re within driving distance.
Only about an hour and a half from Toronto, Grafton is close to Cobourg — and easily accessible from the 401 — but is removed from, well, everything. There’s no hustle. No bustle. You won’t see anything but farmland in the distance during your stay. And that’s what makes Ste. Anne’s so special. Not to mention quiet.
I’ve been to Ste. Anne’s a few times — always with girlfriends or colleagues. I’ve been in summer, fall and winter. It never disappoints.
So perhaps that’s why Big B all but begged me to take him.
This past fall, we were hosted in the Anne Elizabeth room, located in the Main Inn. It has a cozy, four-poster king bed, fireplace and huge ensuite bathroom. When you peer out of the French balcony, you see the grotto and the beautiful grounds that go on and on. The view goes all the way to Lake Ontario, in fact!
Cue the romance…
For Big B’s first sojourn to Ste. Anne’s Spa, I got a little splashy and ordered chocolate-covered strawberries and fresh rose petals for our room. The team timed it perfectly, coinciding with our dinner one evening. We were busy eating something wonderful from the carefully edited and beautifully prepared menu in the dining hall while someone adorned our bed with rose petals collected from the grounds.
It was gorgeous and the perfect precursor to some overdue Mommy and Daddy time.
This was my first time staying in the Main Inn and it’s now my preference. Of course, if you’re with a bigger group, you really need to stay in a Ste. Anne’s cottage — both for your own comfort and to keep noise levels down in the evening for other guests. But if it’s just you and one other person, I loved the Inn because you don’t EVER have to get out of your robe!
Get up for breakfast, put on robe. Go to treatment, stay in or remove robe. Go for lunch in robe. Oh, it’s dinner? GO IN YOUR ROBE. (Can you tell I love the Ste. Anne’s robes? Which, incidentally, even come in sizes big enough for Big B.)
I suggested the Essential Oil Scalp Rejuvenation for Big B. It’s my favourite treatment and I’m still kind of miffed I didn’t book one myself this time around. My sense is that it’s perhaps better with hair, though, because Big B — although he found it very relaxing and said he’d do it again — didn’t get the added hair twisting and pulling. And you must not underestimate the power of someone gently pulling your hair as you breathe in some lovely vanilla or lavender oil. OMG.
I tried Reiki for the first time, and either I don’t have an inner child or this treatment (or the practitioner) and I were just not jibing. This is essentially how it went down:
I ended up having a helluva nap on that table and awoke refreshed, but I didn’t experience any notable healing of the two problem zones the practitioner detected. Apparently, it can take a few sessions before the magic happens, so I won’t close the door entirely.
The best treatment of all during this visit was my massage. It was a sports therapy massage — Big B got one too — and was the right pressure and the right amount of upfront small talk followed by not-awkward silence. Loved it.
Just walking around Ste. Anne’s is therapeutic in and of itself. The snow-covered grounds must be stunning right now, but since we went in the fall, you’ll have to soak in all of these delicious fall colours:
The way to someone’s heart is through his or her belly, right?
I’ve always come home raving about Ste. Anne’s food, and Big B was equally impressed. The menu tends to rotate with what’s seasonally (and locally) available, but if you can have a homemade burger, the almond pancakes and the flourless chocolate cake dessert, these are always some of the very best dishes. You won’t be disappointed no matter what you order. Especially if you pair it with one of Ste. Anne’s tea selections — and there are many. (Try mixing green with peppermint tea!) Everything is gluten-free, too, and they’re serious about accommodating allergies.
Just imagine treating your partner to a Ste. Anne’s retreat — because nothing says love and appreciation quite like getting away from it all. Together. There’s an overnight February Detox Retreat starting at $304 per person that includes everything — even your first treatment. No one says you have to celebrate the big V-Day on the 14th.
You don’t even have to stay overnight. But if you do, don’t forget to add on the chocolate-covered strawberries, and add some romantic rose petals while you’re at it.