The Ritz Carlton's celebrated chef, Tom Brodi, isn't the only one stirring up "farm-to-table" fanfare at Toronto's newest five-star hotel. Spa director Kim Cadra wins kudos for bringing the concept to the spa as well - except in her case it's a marine farm harvest and the table is dressed in bespoke bed linens. Her choice in Euoko is right on trend with going local - the high-end Canadian skin-care brand is both an international hit and a Toronto-based favourite.
One of the spa's signature "Proudly Canadian" treatments, the Breath Of Fresh Air Facial is a veritable fisherman's net of precious algae extracts. Marine derivatives have revolutionized skin care and the Antarcticine algae found in Euoko's cleanser is a star anti-aging ingredient. My aesthetician draws out every little step, turning toning into a ceremony. This toner features a micro-algae to stimulate the mitochondria, increasing cell turnover and improving complexion. Next up, the Intense Lift Concentrate and the ingredient I'm most curious about - Waglerin 1, mimicking a peptide found in the venom of a temple viper.
The good news? It's a refreshing tingle rather than paralyzing. An achingly sweet scalp and foot massage seals the deal and leaves me in a spa coma.
I detect the most immediate benefit with the facial's Blueprint Resculpting Cream. This algae-based formula quickly strengthens the skin's connective tissue. Another perk, the antioxidant toner counteracts the elements with white tea and high oxy-radical absorption capacity plants. The most prized is Buddleja, a butterfly bush brought to Europe from China in the 19th century.
As the city's top three spas are subterranean -The Spa at The Hazelton Hotel, The Park Hyatt's Stillwater and Hammam on King West - The Ritz Carlton Toronto spa is a welcome "top up" to Toronto's budding scene. Embraced by floor-to-ceiling windows, it's a rare treat to be cared for in an urban spa with cathedral ceilings. This 23,000-square-foot ethereal environment offers 16 treatment rooms, including an executive "Cloud 9" Suite. Bay Street executives are doing cartwheels over the private pedicure cabins, by far the best in the financial district. The steam, sauna and vitality pool area is a dream, albeit too forensically lit. Slipping prevention is still key, but they may want to experiment with tones and levels. My favourite new staycation is booking a night on the Club Level for the signature hallmark service and impressive complimentary offerings throughout the day (breakfast, light snacks, hors d'oeuvre, cocktails and late-night chocolate truffles).
The Spa at The Ritz-Carlton Toronto at 181 Wellington St. W., Toronto; 416-585-2500; ritzcarlton.com; $240.00 for 90 minutes.
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