Dorset Manor Spa…Beyond Your Typical Hotel Spa

After a short taxi ride to Union Station in Toronto, I hopped aboard VIA rail, which is a great way to travel throughout Canada! It was about an hour and a half ride to Cobourg, which is just outside Port Hope, Ontario, the home of the Dorset Manor Spa.   VIA rail is very comfortable, whether you are riding in coach or business class.  In business class, you will be spoiled with wide seats, free drinks and a great meal.  The food was outstanding.  I had salmon cakes with basmati rice and vegetables and it was better than any airline food I’ve had!  There is also free wi-fi on board, which makes the trip fly by.

Upon arrival into Cobourg, a representative from the Dorset Manor Spa was there to greet me and take me to the spa.   As soon as I stepped into the old Victorian home overlooking Lake Ontario with beautiful lush views, I knew it would be easy to relax.  I began my day with a delicious lunch full of fresh vegetables from their gardens and a delicious potato and leek soup followed up by a fruit cup for dessert.  After lunch, I changed into my robe for what was going to be a day full of two treatments, the first called Caribbean Therapy in Which Rob, who is an awesome therapist, exfoliated my skin and then massaged seaweed all over!   After he wrapped me up, he proceeded to massage my neck and scalp, which got me into total relaxation mode.  After showering off the seaweed, he followed it up with a 20 minute massage which focused on releasing the muscles around my shoulders and pulling them back, which most people should get done since they sit at a computer all day or drive a lot.    After my session with Rob, my skin was as smooth as butter!  I definitely need to exfoliate more often!  I had an hour before my next session, so I had some of their homemade tea and an apple as I took in the sun on my room’s balcony.  It was then time for my 90 minute Swedish massage which was just as out of this world as the last treatment.  I told her the area on my body that was hurting and I wish I could tell you what she did throughout the session, but I fell into a deep sleep!

After dinner, which was also extremely good, especially the trout over warm apple appetizer and the sorbet for dessert, I relaxed in the outdoor whirlpool and sauna before settling into my Victorian style room full of antiques and soft classical music playing in the background.   Dorset Manor Spa is the sister spa to the widely popular St. Anne Spa, which has been voted Canada’s number one spa for five years in a row.  I am told this is just a smaller version of that spa.  It doesn’t have the wellness classes of St. Anne’s, but instead of being set on a large property, you have the quaint town of Port Hope to work to.  The therapists work at both, so you are going to get the same caliber of treatment no matter where you stay.  It’s really the perfect place to go if you’re looking for a quiet retreat.  It has just nine luxurious guestrooms, making for a very intimate setting. 

I slept like a baby and while I didn’t sleep long enough in what was such a comfortable bed, the nutritious breakfast woke me up.  The multigrain pancakes topped with apples were delicious!  Every breakfast also comes with a continental bar including fruit, yogurt, granola and pastries and your choices or juices or tea/coffee.   After checking out, I did a quick tour through Port Hope and Cobourg and was back on VIA train for my next stop in Ottawa.

Hop Onboard the Spa Train!

I have trouble relaxing and I’m always running around, so when I heard about the opportunity to jump aboard the spa train in Canada, I was very excited.  Not only did I want to explore parts of Canada I have not seen, but the idea of being pampered for a few days with no choice but to relax, was very inviting.  What a perfect escape for you to rejuvenate or escape on a romantic trip with your partner or grab some friends for the perfect girlfriend getaway. I flew into Toronto aboard Porter Airlines, a Canadian airline with great service and one of the few airlines that serves you a meal on board!  Many of the airports have lounges where all passengers can relax before the flight.  I flew out of Newark and was in Toronto in a quick hour and a half!  After arriving at the lovely Delta Chelsea hotel in the heart of downtown, I walked next door to the Elmwood Spa for what would be a day of complete relaxation.  After changing into my bathing suit, I enjoyed their water therapies for an hour, swimming and sitting in the steam room.  After that, it was time for the three course lunch which was made with all fresh, healthy ingredients, and even thought it was supposed to be “spa food,” the portions were enough to have me leaving there very full from the spinach and avocado salad, salmon with asparagus and the rhubarb pie with a side of mango sorbet.  (normally comes with ice cream, but I substituted!)

After lunch, I had the elmline facial, which was out of this world!  The esthetician evaluated my skin and decided to go with the hydration line.  The combination of the face massage while applying the products, and the hand and feet massage while I was getting steamed was enough to put me into a very deep sleep! I left there looking very refreshed for someone who was on three hours of sleep and the wrinkle lines between eyebrows were not visible!  I liked that fact that she told me every step of the way what she was doing and explained a lot to me about how to take care of my skin after leaving there. If you are looking for a peaceful oasis in the middle of a big city, this is the place to go as part of the spa train or as part of your Toronto visit.

I would highly recommend staying at the Delta Chelsea for any occasion if you are in Toronto.  The hotel has every amenity, including two pools, one in the adult fitness center, which also houses top of the line equipment, a whirlpool and sauna.  There is no shortage of restaurants and bars, including everything from a gourmet serve yourself restaurant to their elegant bistro.  It is the largest hotel in Toronto and if you are traveling with kids, this is definitely the place to stay!  With a kids and teen center, there is plenty for them to do, from playing with the in house rabbit to video games and billiards.  If parents would like some time to themselves to explore the city or to go see a show, they can pay a nominal fee for babysitting.

I finished my stay at the Delta Chelsea with their great breakfast buffet filled with fresh fruit, yogurt, and eggs benedict.  After a quick taxi ride, I was at Union Station and hopped on VIA rail for my trip to Port Hope and the Dorset Manor Spa.  Could it get any better than this?