The classic Rosewood Hotel Georgia is perfectly placed for some downtown Vancouver fun. The lobby is warm wood, crystal chandeliers and a flickering fire. On the fourth floor, the stylish Sense, a Rosewood spa, reached from a dedicated elevator from the lobby, or direct from your room, offers an elegant environment in which to relax and unwind at your leisure.
Take your time. If you are visiting the hotel spa for a treatment, you also have access to the fitness centre and pool, on the same floor, which we thoroughly recommend. The dinky but divine lap-pool has salt water that is soft to swim in. The gradually changing soft lighting -- in geometric panels on the floor of the pool, and mirrored in panels in the ceiling above, graduate from lilac, to blue, to green -- and make a swim an altogether more sensory experience than usual. There are loungers round the pool, too, so you can stake a claim to some sociability here, as well. The fitness centre is also nicely done, with plenty of towels, water and daylight views over the streets below, as well as cardio and resistance equipment.
The tiny but nicely appointed changing room -- two washrooms, two marble showers and every amenity you could wish for or even think of -- is where your white robe and spa slippers repose in your electronic locker, alongside a jewellery dish where you can leave your diamonds somewhere safe. Both the ladies and gentlemens changing rooms include sauna and steam rooms, as well as large sensory showers.
After your treatment, take time to recover in the four-lounger relaxation lounge, where there is a soft feel to the environment, with fabric on the walls, tea to sip and clever mirrored screens giving you a sense of privacy as you read your glossy magazine or simply return to yourself.
Treatments on offer at SENSE include Face Place facials and Sodashi treatments, many with a distinctly Canadian twist provided by Beauty Through Balance, a natural spa-product range that uses indigenous ingredients such as Pacific seaweed and glacial clay. (Fittingly for a brand whose motto is "A Sense of Place", each Sense spa around the world features local traditions or ingredients.)
The "Tides" body treatment involves a wrap made with regionally harvested algae and British Columbian glacial mud. The manicures and pedicures include maple-sugar scrubs and glacial honey, as does the "Cocoon" body treatment. Perhaps the most distinctively local experience is the three-and-a-half-hour "Discover Vancouver" package, in which you are driven to the sea wall so you can enjoy a brisk walk in the fresh marine air, taking in some of the most gorgeous views of the city while raising your endorphin levels. On your return to the spa, choose a body treatment and finish with a Canadian Maple pedicure.
We tried the Vancouver Signature Sensation treatment, which was highly personalised; my massage therapist listened to my concerns, took them seriously and delivered just the treatment that my mind and body required.
Don't miss treating yourself to a pedicure if you can. The chairs "with NASA technology" do away with the need to scrunch your knees up while your polish is applied. Instead, you lie back, the chair tilts, leaving you almost weightless, with your feet in just the right position for your therapist. ("Most people fall asleep," the spa manager, Lindsay, informed me. I am not surprised. Zero-gravity does that to you.) The Spa Ritual nail colour range is vegan-friendly, too.
Anyone who wants to take time out in a soothing ambience, with treatments tailored to you.
Floating in the pool as the lights change around you, the wooden walkways and bamboo walls.
29th November 2013
Warm floors when you put your bare feet upon them; heated treatment beds; soft towels; attention to detail, so that your treatment room looks and smells beautiful when you arrive in it.
Cold floors when you put your bare feet upon them; therapists who use your treatment time to write up a list of product "recommendations" that they hope you will purchase.
Behind the scenes