Quebec’s unique destination spa
Story by Bruce Sach
No, I’m not talking about the fact that we were there just before the February 14 weekend when couples could spend a blissful time spoiling themselves. I refer, rather, to the passion I noted when dealing with the personnel at the spa.
For starters, many of the staff members have been at the Eastman Spa for dozens of years. I think of Lise, who has provided massages for 23 years, or Manon, a naturopathy expert who has worked there for 20 years.
I have no idea how long Gilbert has worked at the spa, but I appreciated his attention to detail, bringing ice cube-cold facecloths to us when we were in one of the three saunas, or wrapping us up in blankets outside by the fire. I think of Yoma, who, aware of my shoulder issues, was willing to return the next day, his day off, to offer me continued therapy.
I think of the therapists, who didn’t hesitate to ask, “Is this okay?” during a treatment and for the general sense of respect I felt over and over again. That respect spilled onto the clients as well. They obeyed the rules of the silent areas and, in fact, were quiet even where silence was not specifically requested. No one was using cell phones and no one was fooling around in the pool area.
A Blissful Oasis Near Montreal
Why should you drive all the way to the Eastman Spa, which is more than one hour from Montreal? Or for that matter, why were many guests willing to fly into Montreal in order to make it to the spa?
Well, for starters, it is a destination spa. This means that people come deliberately and directly to this area because of the spa. Your visit includes a room, all meals, snacks, and a diverse and busy schedule of activities that you can take part in or ignore.
For example, every morning we participated in the Wakeup Walk guided by a kinesiologist. This means you are given advice on inventive ways to improve your walking and there is often a stop when calisthenics are practised. Then on a typical day there are scheduled classes in pilates or yoga. Following breakfast, there were anti-stress walks (remember this is in the dead of winter). One of these walks resulted in half of us closing our eyes and being led by another person — a way of reawakening our sense of sound. At 10:20 am, just minutes after finishing the anti-stress walk, there was a workshop indoors on how physical activity can improve the health of our bones.
A local resident, originally from Syria, and with a background in healing through scents, explained the use and benefits of essential oils and the techniques he uses to refine them. And then at 5 pm there was meditation and awareness. At 8 pm, a conference on naturopathy with a naturopathic doctor and finally there was time, a short time, to think of what to do on the next day!
Of course, you want to fit in those meals. The spa is justifiably proud of its kitchen. This is the place that was serving local and organic food 30 years ago before most of us had ever heard of the locavore movement. Owner Jocelyna Dubuc is recognized in Quebec as a pioneer of that movement. She recently went to France and brought back a tonic-food specialist, Jean-Marc Enderlin, who refers to himself as a nutritherapist. He and award-winning chef Kevin Bélisle are constantly changing and improving the menu.
Should you somehow tire of the spa, its location in a stunningly beautiful area offers a lot to do. In the winter this could mean going to Orford Mountain or Mont Bromont for downhill skiing, or into the nearby towns of Magog and Bromont to shop for antiques or to enjoy select après-ski activities. And don’t miss the Musée du Cholocat on Bromont’s main drag, Shefford Street.
Let’s put it this way, there are a lot of people in these parts working hard to help you relax.
MORE ABOUT EASTMAN SPA
Phone: 1-450-297-3009 or 1-800-665-5272
Address: 895 Chemin des Diligences
Make A Reservation: Click here
More Info: Eastman Spa celebrated its 40th anniversary in March 2017. Founded in 1977 by Jocelyna Dubuc, the spa has become a favourite for wellness, healthful nutrition and body treatments.