I don’t know how to relax. That’s what I told Geysel, the aesthetician working on my callused feet at the Spa at Four Seasons, when she asked me to unclench my toes.
I’ve been researching spas across the city for an upcoming story about the best places in Toronto to go to unwind and get pampered. A dream job for any girl, to be sure. But not for someone who finds yoga to be more stress-inducing than blissful.
I’ve never been much of a spa person—due to all those years working at one in my twenties—but after reading an excerpt from a newly published book from the Copenhagen University about stress and work titled “New perspectives on work related stress”, I’ve decided to take baby steps towards de-stressing during my workweek, for the sake of my physical and mental health. [read the gist of the study here]
The first stop on my workweek stress-busting initiative was the spa at the Four Seasons Hotel, which is a hop-skip-jump from my office on Bay Street. Escaping the grind for just a few hours in the afternoon, as opposed to spending the whole day at a spa getaway, is more my cup of tea.
Located on the ninth floor of the cosmopolitan hotel is an airy 30,000 square feet spa – the largest luxury hotel day spa in Toronto, in fact. The spa offers everything you’d expect at an urban retreat: a pedicure and manicure room (where they use quality polish lines such as OPI and CND’s Vinylux which dries in “8:35 minutes”, notes Geysel with wild enthusiasm), an indoor pool, a whirlpool, spacious lockers, steam rooms, and seventeen treatment rooms for massages and facials. All performed with the 5-star service you’d expect from a tony hotel in Yorkville.
There’s even a private salon where you can get your hair done by Stephen Cito, their dandy hairstylist who gave me fabulously flouncy hair without using a stitch of sticky product. He credits his magical ceramic round brushes and a signature teasing technique.
Not many people realize that the Spa at Four Seasons is open to the public; you don’t need to be a hotel guest or a resident. This little-known fact might be why you’re almost guaranteed a quite atmosphere when you go during the workweek. I only had three hours to spare on my visit, so it was the essentials for me: mani, pedi, and a blow dry. But next time I’m there, I’ll treat myself to a healing honey massage, and perhaps a private yoga lesson. Maybe I’ll finally “get” it this time.