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Health Spas Massage the New Manly Pursuit

Copyright (c) 2007-2018 Travel Alberta, All Rights Reserved
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What happened? How did macho Wild West guys and international visitors go ga-ga for Alberta health spas? What makes Alberta spas for men different than other places is the geographical context: a wide open space with a spine of muscular mountains, where male bonding has mainly resulted from competitive spirit, not goo applied to a guy's face during a spa weekend. Here's a sample of services with a testosterone slant, as a new breed of man seeks upscale downtime at Alberta men's health spas.

RNR Wellness founder and owner, Elisabeth Fayt, says men's desire for maintenance helps fuel the rising business of spas, which is catering to a growing male clientele. More than 70 per cent of spa-goers are women, but Fayt services at least seven downtown Calgary hotels with her spa team and men comprise more than 90 per cent of her clients. At her spa, about 50 per cent of the clients are male and she's made a gentleman's spa menu available.

"For men, it's not really about pampering," says Fayt, whose successful spa business at La Caille Park Place near the Bow River has just spawned a second location in Calgary, Alberta's gateway to the Canadian Rocky Mountains. "For men, it's more about taking care of themselves."

At RNR Wellness, if you aren't already a CEO, you leave feeling like one. If Donald Trump were to assign his ambitious apprentices to build a small palace to male bliss, this would be it. Promoting a male's preference for privacy and man's primal urge to aspire to his Inner King, this well appointed spa nestled in Calgary's downtown at the edge of Prince's Island Park pays attention to details in ways that pay off. It's decidedly urban (black and white décor with fireplaces, sturdy leather chairs, private rooms and a book-stocked reading lounge with high quality teas). But any lingering metro edginess is blunted by the soothing background music, soft click of doors and lulling treatments. The Holistic Escape, which combines hot stone massage, the healing energy of Reiki and reflexology (I hate to admit it, but my feet curled like flowers beneath the masseuse's fingers – manly flowers, mind you), is inspired bodywork that is an out of body experience for guys who enjoy health spas. If you enjoy meditation with the finer aspects of relaxing, this place will fit you like a fine suit.

Spa Europa is an "upscale luxury spa and anti-aging centre" in Calgary's lower Mount Royal neighbourhood. It brings an Eastern European mother-daughter team to deal with the rising mystery of men and massages at health spas. Laura Ezekiel and her daughter Jennifer offer ‘Men's Only Mondays' with an extensive menu of "luxurious treatments in a relaxing, professional atmosphere." And here, men put on more than a brave face.

"Men are a big portion of our skin care clientele," says Laura. "The term ‘metrosexual man' is coming to Calgary. Men want to look younger and better, so skin care is not just for women anymore."

Can't imagine John Wayne (or Vin Diesel) getting a facial? Well, buck up, pilgrim. Just grin and bear it. "In macho Calgary, men do like to relax," says Laura. "And they can see that going to a spa is more than just relaxing, it's helping them to look good." Acid peels, microdermabrasion and laser treatments are among the services available, along with a tried and true European facial. Luxe Spa on Calgary's restaurant row, 4th Street, is another place where you can face the music while getting your manly visage tuned. "Your skin will be plumper and smoother," says co-owner Young-Mi Kwon. What's not to love?

In Edmonton, Alberta's urban gateway to the North and home of the Greatest Indoor Show On Earth (The West Edmonton Mall), a new downtown spa is devoted entirely to men. Indeed, it promises to be "the world's finest spa for men." The Board Room in Commerce Place recognizes the rising allure of facials, manicures and pedicures for downtown professionals. At The Board Room, each client has his own space in a 2,900-square-foot spa, recognizing the North American male's desire for privacy at health spas.

Many hotels in the Canadian Rockies have health spas and fitness centres which cater to both men and women, including the Delta Lodge in Kananaskis, The Fairmont Banff Springs, the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and the Waterton Lakes Lodge. And there's the Banff Upper Hot Springs and Jasper's Miette Hot Springs for a soothing soak at the source of where Alberta's spa industry began. Mystic Springs Chalets in Canmore, Black Cat Guest Ranch in Hinton and the Stillwater Spa in Calgary's Hyatt Regency Hotel are among many from which to choose.


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Copyright (c) 2006 Travel Alberta, All Rights Reserved

Travel Alberta is the destination marketing organization for the Province of Alberta. Guided by the Strategic Tourism Marketing Council, Travel Alberta is the steward for the effective delivery of tourism marketing programs. For information about our organization, please visit our Travel Alberta industry web site at http://www.travelalberta.com

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