A few bucks to spare
Floating in the ocean, surrounded by men…it’s not just a Club Med fantasy anymore. You and the ladies can hit the beach together and burn calories by enrolling in surf lessons at One Life Surf School. One Life is eastern Canada’s first women’s surf school offering instruction for both groups and individuals. Lessons are offered by an all-female crew of instructors at Lawrencetown Beach about 30 minutes outside Halifax. They last about three hours, with one hour devoted to practical land instruction (including safety tips, surfing etiquette, and basic ocean knowledge) before you hit the water. All gear will be provided by the school, you’ll just need to make sure that everyone in your group is a competent swimmer.
A private lesson for two people costs $88.00 plus tax per person. For groups of three or more the cost is $61.50 plus tax per person. www.onelifesurf.com.
When it comes to spoiling yourself in Halifax there are few better places than The Summit Day Spa and Wellness Clinic. This full-service retreat is a great place to get together with the girls and enjoy a few hours of blissed out relaxation. If you and the ladies have some extra cash to spare why not opt for one of the Spa Escapes? Try out the hour-and-a-half-long Summit Mini Vacation, which includes a facial, a mini pedicure, a half-hour massage and a treat to take home from the spa’s store. Or go all out with the Summit Signature Vacation – a six-hour experience which includes a two hour massage featuring a skin smoothing sea salt scrub and hydrotherapy treatment, in addition to the spa’s signature facial, pedicure and manicure treatments. This package also includes a gift to take home from the spa’s store as well as lunch.
The Summit’s spa escapes range in price from $185.00 to $477.00. www.summitspa.ca
Just 60km north of Montreal, the Saint-Sauveur Valley is the perfect year-round getaway destination. The quaint town of Saint-Sauveur is home to several charming boutiques and intimate restaurants worth investigating, but the real excitement comes from a trip to Mont Saint-Sauveur. In the winter months the mountain draws hundreds of skiers and snowboarders from the city. The hill boasts Quebec’s longest ski season with more than 140 days of operation â€“ but don’t think the fun has to end when the snow melts. The Mont-Saint Sauveur Parc Aquatique is sure to elicit squeals of glee from even your most uptight girlfriends. And don’t think you’ll be the only adults in attendance without kids. This fully-equipped water park draws just as many groups of grown-ups as it does kiddies. Spend the day tanning in the Leisure Pool or splashing in the Super Wave Pool or, if its an adrenaline rush you’re after, check out The Niagara â€“ a rafting ride that propels you through tunnels and down waterfalls or take the plunge in The Grandes Cascades River â€“ where, nestled in an inner tube, you’ll plummet through a long series of heated pools trying not to overturn.
Go back in time as you reminisce with the girls by spending the day in Old Montreal. Start your afternoon with a trip to Le Spa at Hotel Le St-James, located in an historical building that served as the Merchant’s Bank vault in the late 1800s. The peaceful candlelit setting is the perfect place to relax and unwind with your favourite friends. Choose from a wide range of massage treatments, body wraps and European mask treatments and make sure you leave yourselves enough time to enjoy the steam bath and sauna together. Bring your makeup and a change of clothes along to the spa and head out on to the streets of Old Montreal to do some late afternoon shopping before heading to prisonâ€¦well not exactly. Nearby Restaurant Da Emma is housed in a building that was, in 1842, one of Canada’s first women’s prisons. The dimly-lit space has been transformed into an elegant subterranean dining room with a killer wine list. Da Emma serves huge portions of meat and pasta cooked by the restaurant’s namesake herself.
Treatments at Le Spa range from $120 to $330.
Restaurant Da Emma (no website) call: (514) 392-1568.
A few bucks to spare
Bet you didn’t know that getting blitzed with the girls could be healthy and inexpensive? Centrally located and surrounded by hip restaurants, body blitz is the country’s first authentic water spa for women. For under $50 you can spend the day luxuriating in the spa’s therapeutic waters catching up with the girls. The water circuit starts with a soak in the warm sea salt pool, which contains unrefined Dead Sea salt to soothe the skin, relieve joint and muscle pain and supply the body with vital nutrients. Step two is a steam to eliminate toxins and impurities, then a brief stint in the cold plunge pool to close the pores and help stimulate thyroid. You continue on to the infrared sauna for more detoxification before another plunge in the cold pool. The circuit is completed with a soak in the hot green tea pool, which has anti-aging benefits and helps boost the immune system, another cold plunge and an additional soak in the sea salt pool. Take a break mid-circuit and enjoy a nutritious refreshment from the in-house juice bar on one of the poolside lounge chairs. Towels, robes, sandals, toiletries and lockers are provided by the spa. Bathing suits are optional. The only rules are those conducive to a stress-free urban escape – no waiting, no tipping and no men. Hallelujah!
Often named among the country’s top rejuvenation spots, Toronto’s Stillwater Park Hyatt spa is nothing short of magnificent. The queen-for-a-day experience starts the minute you hand the valet attendant your car keys. Arriving in the spa you and your girlfriends will be greeted by the soothing sound of waterfalls as you are lead to the fully-equipped change rooms. Whether you’re at the spa to enjoy the Signature Stillwater massage, a Swedish massage enhanced with warm foot booties as well as heated neck and eye pillows, or Infinite Beauty, an anti-aging facial, make sure everyone arrives early. Give yourselves an extra hour or so before your scheduled treatments to enjoy some time together in the steam room, sauna and whirlpool. After your treatments meet back up in the spa’s tea lounge for snack and a cup of coffee or enjoy a rest alone in a private cabana before heading out for lunch and a bit of shopping in uber-chic Yorkville. Spa facials and body treatments range from $98 to $217.
A few bucks to spare
Take some time to enjoy the great outdoors and your favourite gal pals, during an afternoon in Assiniboine Park. Stroll through the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden – a beautiful, flowered area that’s home to 200 bronzes created by internationally-renowned sculptor and Manitoba resident, Dr Leo Mol, hang out by the duck pond, ride the miniature steam train, then work up an appetite tackling one of the park trails. Afterwards, head to the elegant Tavern in the Park for a gourmet lunch (or Sunday brunch). Forget your diet for a day and dive into the bistro sandwich with sauteed beef tenderloin tips, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions and a herbed demi glaze or opt for something a little lighter like the Mediterranean salad with grilled shrimp, crisp calamari, black olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions and feta cheese. During the summer months enjoy your meal as you bask in the sun on the restaurant’s outdoor terrace.
Lunch menu items range from $6 to $16.
Pamper yourselves like sultans in the place that once housed Liberace. For decades a favourite of celebs and royalty visiting the city, Winnipeg’s Fort Garry Hotel is home to Ten Spa, a luxurious place to escape for the day. In addition to the typical spa fare, Ten also features an onsite Turkish hamam (a steam room with heated floors, walls and seating areas) and a selection of detoxifying hamam treatments. Opting for one of these, you and the girls will first be treated to a cup of Turkish tea and a small sweet. You then move on to the aromatic salting area, where you apply warm aromatic salt while seated on a heated bench. After 10 to 15 minutes, the hamam attendant will rinse you off and guide you to the large communal heated marble platform where you can relax for the next 30 to 60 minutes. If you have booked a Hamam 101+ or Hamam Fully Loaded package, this stage includes a foot and scalp massage by the hamam attendant and traditional soap scrub in your own private treatment bed. If you have a group of six or more opt for the Warm Mud party, a less expensive, more D.I.Y. experience than the other hamam packages). During this treatment you’ll all start in the aromatic salting area, then you’ll select from a range of face and body muds and clays to apply while you’re in the hamam.
Hamam treatment packages range from $65 to $175.
A few bucks to spare
Forget Vegas, grab the girls and head out for a night of craps and cocktails at Casino Regina. Surrounded by the historic Union Train Station, Casino Regina boasts 800 slot machines and 35 table games, including blackjack, baccarat, craps, roulette, Caribbean stud poker, red dog and three card poker. Even for gambling enthusiasts the night doesn’t have to cost a mint – slots range from 1¢, to $2. If you and the ladies are feeling lucky fork over a few extra dollars and take in a concert in the casinos show lounge or hit a nearby restaurant for dinner and drinks. A good bet is The Crushed Grape Wine & Food Bar, which is known for its outstanding wine list and affordable mains ($11 to $26).
Can’t afford a trip to Indonesia? No problem. You and the girls can experience the best of Southeast Asia in the heart of Moose Jaw. Just 45 minutes west of Regina, Sahara Day Spa is one of the few spas in Canada recognized as a “Jamu Spa,” encouraging a natural approach to health and beauty by combining ancient rituals and natural ingredients. Save up and take advantage of the Ultimate Indulgence spa package. This includes an aromatherapy foot soak, your choice of body scrub, a tropical Balinese facial, an invigorating foot massage and a Sahara Signature massage â€“ the house specialty during which two therapists work in synchronization on either side of your body using five different massage styles. The three-hour experience promises to leave you totally refreshed and reenergized.
Ultimate Indulgence package – $295, other treatments range from $45 to $140.
A few bucks to spare
Pull out the old Stetson, wrangle up your lady friends and head out for a night at Canada’s greatest honky tonk. At Ranchman’s Cookhouse and Dancehall you can let go of your inhibitions and embrace your inner cowgirl with a night of mechanical bull riding, country music and down home cooking. This Calgary Stampede hotspot also offers weekly dance lessons. Mosey over to Ranchman’s on a Friday at 7pm and for $10 you and the ladies can take line dance lessons before dinner.
Mains range from $9.99 to $17.99.
If you’re searching for a memorable experience that you and the ladies will be discussing for years to come, look no further than Heli-Yoga. Though you’ll need to head out of the city for the day, the adventure is well worth the three-hour drive to the heliport. Departing from just outside Rocky Mountain House, AB, you’ll take off in a helicopter for a four-hour retreat in an alpine meadow high atop the Canadian Rockies. This eco yoga experience draws together Eastern and Western traditions by combining yoga and outdoor activities. The idea is for participants to explore, and reconnect with, nature and themselves. The trip includes a session with a qualified yoga instructor as well as a gourmet picnic and some time for meditation. Talk about a life changing experience!
The trip costs $449.00 plus GST.
A few bucks to spare
Go gourmet for a day and indulge in a private cooking class at The Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts. During these tasty tutorials a European-trained chef instructor will work with you and your girlfriends to prepare a three-course meal. All menus are custom-designed ahead of time with your preferences in mind.
The best part: After two-hours of culinary instruction you’ll get to enjoy your creations in the Institute’s fine dining restaurant. You’ll leave with your inner foodie appeased and will be sent on your way with a souvenir apron to commemorate the event.
Classes are available Monday to Saturday. Cost is $150 per person plus GST for groups of two to five and $120 per person plus GST for groups of six or more.
Combine relaxation with exhilaration on a Whistler Zipline Adventure. Departing in the morning from North Vancouver, you and the girls will board the Whistler Mountaineer train for a three-hour journey north. You can catch up over breakfast while passing by breathtaking Howe Sound, the whitewater rapids of Cheakamus Canyon and the snow-capped peaks of the Tantalus Mountains. Upon arrival in Whistler you’ll head to the Ziptrek Ecotours base on Blackcomb Mountain and will be outfitted with your climbing harness and helmet. Before you know it you’ll be sailing through the air high above Fitzsimmons Creek on a series of five ziplines joined by a network of suspension bridges, boardwalks and trails. Don’t worry if you’re lacking in experience when it comes to flying through the air – the Ziptrek Bear Tour is designed for beginners. This two-hour excursion also has an educational component – during the tour your guides will provide insight into the surrounding area so you can take away more than just the adrenaline rush. After sailing through the treetops you’ll return to Whistler village with some time to spare for a snack or some shopping before boarding a motor coach back to Vancouver.
The day-long adventure ranges from $282 to $357 plus GST per person.