Story by Diana Ballon
CAMBRIDGE, ONTARIO — Ahhh. The tinkling sound of a piano and rushing of ocean waves emanate from speakers overhead, as the smell of eucalyptus infuses my nasal passages and peppermint oil seeps through the skin on my back.
I’m lying here on a massage table in the “hooded warbler room” at the newly minted Langdon Hall spa, which opened last May in a wing adjacent to the cloisters’ suites.
Langdon Hall in Cambridge, Ontario is a luxe country inn with a long history of offering first-rate dining, comfy and elegant sleeping quarters, and impeccable service. In fact, its restaurant has been a perennial favourite on the Vacay.ca Top Restaurants in Canada rankings. But its spa had been in need of a makeover to match the high level of service at this upscale property.
In its current incarnation, a large whirlpool with underwater coloured lights, and a bright glass-fronted sauna and steam room are all located on the main floor, and are co-ed — so don’t forget your bathing suit! The upstairs is then reserved exclusively for the treatment rooms (all named after birds of the Carolinian forest), and their “quiet lounge,” where you can put your feet up, cozy under a blanket and sip on herbal tea or orange-infused water, kept in recyclable bottles available to you throughout your stay. Complimentary snacks consist of muffins, apricots and nuts in the morning, and mini-cakes later in the day.
The spa was the vision of Langdon Hall’s owners. Architect William Bennett worked with an outside design company and his partner, Mary Beaton, oversaw the interior design. The style is sleek, traditional and modern. The chintz in the upstairs lounge is a pale blue floral design while the chintz of the wicker lines are done in soft pastels. While wood-framed black and white photos of Langdon Hall flowers adorn some walls, large glass windows on the main floor face out onto a stone patio overlooking tall, lean fir trees: The natural landscape is the real picture being framed.
Relaxing in Style in Southern Ontario
My treatment is a classic relaxation massage, but there are many other options for lighter touch massages, such as the “Aroma Touch,” in which the masseurs use eight essential oils purported to have various healing properties, among them to promote relaxation, reduce stress and inflammation, and improve autonomic imbalance. They also have a hot stem Thai massage, which incorporates stems filled with organic herbs that release oils when pressed into the skin. And there are, of course, facials. A popular signature treatment is Langdon Hall’s elixir facial and body treatment, which includes a 20-minute body massage and a collagen mask. All of the facials incorporate Valmont’s line of Swiss skin-care products.
While I loved the calm warmth of the spa, one of the particularly impressive aspects of the facilities is its accessibility. There is a large disabled washroom upstairs and an elevator to get there, as well as generous-sized showers and railings in the washrooms. The prices are also reasonable for a high-end spa: a Swedish massage, for example, is $115 for 55 minutes (RMT receipts available) — and special promotions are posted on the property’s website. Overnight guests can use these facilities whether they have a treatment or not, and day guests can use them all day with a body treatment.
By the time I emerge from my massage — and from my heated eye pillow and warm towel over my feet — I look so uncharacteristically relaxed that my husband barely recognizes me. But that’s a good thing.
MORE ABOUT LANGDON HALL
Address: 1 Langdon Drive, Cambridge, ON (see map below)
Room Rates: Prices vary by season but you can expect to pay about $400 per night; several packages, including gourmet dining features, are offered.
Notable: Jason Bangerter is one of the 20 top chefs who is participating in the “Inspired Cooking” project, a charity cookbook that will was released in December 2016 and which will benefit InspireHealth, a not-for-profit agency that provides supportive cancer care for Canadians. You can find Bangerter’s recipes in the cookbook, which was edited by Vacay.ca’s Adrian Brijbassi. Order “Inspired Cooking” here.