Ahh, the spa. A destination so intertwined with “relaxation” that the two words are almost synonymous. From aromatic steam rooms to the gentle trickle of indoor waterfalls, an escape to Vancouver Island’s impressive selection of spa-centric resorts is truly the perfect way to unwind and evade the cold. Whether you’re hoping to Zen out after a busy holiday season, looking for a romantic Valentine’s Day getaway or just seeking a spot to melt away the winter blues, we’ve got you covered with our list of the five best spas in and around Victoria that will leave you rested, rejuvenated and ready to tackle anything the new year throws your way.

Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Empress Hotel

A glittering jewel in the crown of downtown Victoria’s renowned Fairmont Empress Hotel, it’s no wonder that the Willow Stream Spa was named one of Conde Nast’s Top Resort Spas in Canada. It’s not too often that luxury and convenience go hand in hand but this is certainly the case with The Empress. A quick 10-15 minute stroll from the Victoria Clipper terminal will land you at the front door of this grand and historic building. Step inside and whisk away all your stress with a selection of more than 10 different kinds of massages in the newly refreshed space, which reopened in April 2017.

Round out your regal day with a visit to Q Bar for an expertly crafted cocktail and watch the sun set over the harbor through their floor-to-ceiling waterfront windows. (Inside tip: Take advantage of their signature Spa Ritual – a Steam Inhalation Room, Finnish-style sauna, and soothing Thermal Mineral Bath – which is complimentary with any spa experience you book.)

Oak Bay Beach Hotel

Just 15 minutes outside of Victoria’s Inner Harbour, the Oak Bay Beach Hotel is truly an experience for all the senses. From the scent of eucalyptus wafting out from the Boathouse Spa, to the sights and sounds of the waves crashing on the shore, you’ll be lulled into a state of total tranquility. Choose from a range of invigorating massages or opt for one of more than two dozen different facial treatments that are sure to leave you glowing.

Afterward, stop by The Snug Pub, a must for refined, locally inspired bar bites and unobstructed views of the bay. Of course, a trip to this coastal oasis is not complete without a late night soak in the hotel’s famed seaside hot mineral pools. Bonus points for taking some time to explore Oak Bay on foot by way of the area’s extensive waterfront walking trails after checkout, which is allowed as late as noon – how civilized!

Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort

Located on 22 acres of forest northwest of Victoria in the town of Parksville, Vancouver Island’s luxurious Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort is the perfect space to bliss out. Duck into the award-winning Grotto Spa to leave the hustle and bustle of mainland living behind and pamper yourself with everything from facials and pedicures to body wraps and massages many with a focus on West Coast natural ingredients. Spend the afternoon taking a soak in their 2,500 square foot Mineral Pool and enjoy the calming rush of a two-story indoor waterfall. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a subterranean cave.

Extend your relaxation through mealtime at Treetop Tapas & Grill where the dress code consists of spa robes and sandals. Reserved exclusively for Grotto guests, you can feast on endless tapas like scallops with chorizo, smoked paprika aioli and lemon oil while overlooking the surrounding woods. (Inside tip: Tigh-Na-Mara is situated on 3 kilometers of pristine, sandy beaches. Allot some time to explore the coastline and maybe even take a dip! This region is home to some of Canada’s warmest waters, at times reaching up to 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit.)

Brentwood Bay Resort & Spa

A mere 30-minute drive outside the hub of downtown Victoria, Brentwood Bay Resort & Spa exudes serenity and is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a romantic retreat from city life. Go for a dip in the hotel’s heated outdoor pool or hot tub and soak in breathtaking views of the Sannich Inlet. Relax with one of their indulgent spa treatments, which include an entire selection tailored to couples looking to enjoy their treatments side-by-side.

If all day at the spa has left you peckish, you’re in luck, there are two fabulous on-site restaurants to choose from. Indulge in a hearty West Coast-inspired menu and an excellent selection of craft beers at Brentwood Bay Pub, or enjoy dinner on the bay at the Brentwood Bay Dining Room where you’ll find everything from freshly shucked oysters to delicate sushi rolls.

Sante Spa at Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa

Tucked into the side of Bear Mountain itself, the Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa has the tranquil, laid-back vibe of a woodsy cabin but with ten times the wow factor. On top of their long list of classic spa services such as massages, body scrubs and facial treatments, the property’s award-winning Sante Spa features indoor and outdoor relaxation spaces. Cozy up in the Forest Lounge beside their “living wall” of lush flora or step out onto their Terrace on the Mountain for sweeping views of the surrounding forest.

(Insider tip: While you’re visiting, be sure to stop by the resort’s underground, climate-controlled wine cellar for a selection of 2,000+ bottles from around the globe. If your stay falls on a Friday, don’t miss their weekly Friday Night Flight event that includes cheese, canapés and a guided tasting with their in-house Sommelier.)

During the holiday season it’s easy to overlook your own well-being in the jumble of shopping, wrapping and entertaining, so make a point to set aside time in the new year for some hard-earned R&R. And where better to do so than an island spa? Trust us, the stresses of 2017 will feel like a distant memory the moment you slip into a plush spa robe and pop those cucumbers onto your eyes. Say it with me now, “ahh…”


Photo Credits: 1st photo block: All photos courtesy of The Fairmont Empress. 2nd photo block: All photos courtesy of Oak Bay Beach Hotel. 3rd photo block: All photos courtesy of Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort. 4th photo block: Spa treatment room, Brentwood Bay Pub and outdoor pool photos courtesy of Brentwood Bay Resort & Spa. Brentwood Bay balcony. Credit: Flickr user dhelling01. 5th photo block: All photos courtesy of Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa.