A visit to the spa isn't just about the treatments you receive. For many people, it's about the experience – a tranquil break from their busy lives, and the positive impact that time has on the rest of their day.
Guests come to Elmwood Spa for different reasons, but all have found a welcoming environment where they can feel at ease, whether they are spending time with a loved one or simply experiencing the joy of recharging in a familiar, beautiful setting.
A chance for couples to reconnect
For Helen Pejnovich and Dave Cieslowski, Elmwood Spa is a place they go to reconnect.
"We spend a lot of time in parent mode, so we need some time in order to make sure that we communicate clearly and nicely to one another, when we're not just dealing with the day-to-day fires that we deal with every day," says Pejnovich, mother to six-year-old twins.
"This is our chance to regroup and have those conversations that we take for granted; that we used to have," she adds.
The couple has been going for dates at Elmwood since Cieslowski introduced Pejnovich to the spa about 12 years ago. While busy careers and parenthood have forced them to pare down their visits, both feel it's important to make time to check in to a place they find relaxing and welcoming.
While they enjoy the quality of massages and extra amenities like steam rooms and whirlpools, what the couple finds most valuable is the way Elmwood creates an atmosphere where they can, for at least a while, focus only on each other.
"It's just a very relaxed pace and we tend to cover off more things, have better discussions and have that time to devote to each other and block out the rest of the world," says Cieslowski.
"It's like being on vacation and having a mini escape."
A home away from home
Nicole Stacy Champagnie will tell you she doesn't impress easily. But attention to detail and quality service will go a long way toward getting in her good books.
When Champagnie finds something she loves, she sticks with it. That's why she's been making the trip from North York into downtown Toronto for the past 17 years to go to Elmwood Spa.
"Even if I'm in a bad frame of mind, as soon as I walk through the doors, I never regret it," she says.
Champagnie has come to consider Elmwood a second home, as frequent visits have ensured the staff knows her and her preferences. From housekeeping to innovative treatments to the carefully selected lunch menu, the staff at Elmwood "goes the extra mile for you," she says.
The spa underwent extensive renovations, completed in 2008, which were aimed at maintaining the building's heritage while updating facilities and creating a more open and inviting environment for guests. Most recently, upgrades were made to the Water Therapies™, massage and couples rooms on the lower level. A brand new and fully licensed manicure-pedicure space was also added, where guests can enjoy a mimosa and cheese plate during their service.
The renovations were another element Champagnie feels were done with care: "You can see they put thought into it – not just what's good for them, but what's going to work for the guests."
That extra care means Champagnie can feel confident bringing friends along to Elmwood Spa because she knows they'll have a good experience as well.
"It never disappoints."
Feeling like part of the family
Helen has made spending time at Elmwood Spa a family affair, so she likes the fact that the spa staff treats her loved ones like they're family as well. Her sister, brother, daughter and mother all frequent the spa.
"It's a very nurturing environment," she says. "It's about customer service and being close-knit and making sure that all your needs are met."
That's especially important for Helen when it comes to her 81-year-old mother. Though they can't always attend the spa together, she knows if she leaves instructions they will be carefully followed, and her mom will be in good hands.
"She's had a couple of falls, so [I want to make sure] she's well taken care of," she says. "I pay ahead of time, so she doesn't have to worry about all that. They take care of her."
That trust, comfort and consistency are always present during Helen's own visits as well, and she says the spa staff pays attention to every detail during her monthly facial, massage and pedicure appointments.
"Someone is always there to make sure you get to your appointment at the time that you're supposed to," she says.
"They just make sure that everything is easy for you."
This content was produced by The Globe and Mail's advertising department. The Globe's editorial department was not involved in its creation.