The Legend of the Holy Grail is an ancient tale dating back to at least the 12th century. Some say it is based on even older Celtic mythology and nature cult folklore. If you’ve seen the excellent Spielberg and Lucas flick, Indian Jones and The Last Crusade, you’ll remember that the Grail holds mystical powers. According to the legend, it was the cup that Jesus used at the last supper. Anyone who drinks from it is blessed with eternal youth.
So for a holistic health resort featuring natural living and a focus on helping their guests recover their youthful appearance and vigor, Grail Springs Health Resort is aptly named. Even their message at the bottom of their new website (just launched on Sunday, the day I checked out) promises, “where the legend is alive and well…”
A vacation get-away for Hollywood stars (like Jim Carrey), wrestlers (like Trish Stratus), music moguls and top executives, Grail Springs is the perfect place to be pampered. It’s no wonder people travel from all over the world to get its guaranteed R & R.
One American guest told me that Grail Springs was by far the best health spa he’s been to out of seven he’s encountered during his globe-trotting. Another guest traveled all the way from London, England to get the tonic served here in Bancroft, Ontario.
Driving through the front gates, Grail Springs is protected by two stone angels. Idyllic is a weak descriptor as its quaint, rustic European country architecture, complete with beautiful climbing vines and landscaping, nestles against a Northern Canadian lake and country setting. The newer addition features a castle turret and a wooden hobbit door. Not quite ready to meet Bilbo Baggins, and enamoured with the place already, I miss that it’s the entrance to the front desk.
Using the more traditional square door, I find myself by a staircase and the dining room. The busy chef (Ryan) happens by and my first encounter with the Grail staff is delightful. He is friendly and welcoming, showing me the way to the lobby.
The girls at the front desk are just as helpful, genuine and down-to-earth. I sit down to fill out my health forms and look around. There’s a movie listing for every day of the week, as well as a daily schedule of activities. Among these are sun salutations yoga, the morning Mantra, nature walks, afternoon yoga, the grotto, a workshop, campfire, and ending with movie and popcorn.
Mom meets me in the lobby and practically drags me up to our room before I get a chance to finish filling out the health history questionnaire.
The room, like the rest of the resort, is an enigma – posh yet charming and colonial. A stone fireplace is the centerpiece of the room. From the ceiling, a hanging chandelier. The bed is massive and I joke that we’ll need a step stool to climb into this deliciously fluffy dream-maker. Past the big buckwheat pillow are French doors leading out to the double balcony overlooking the lake.
Laid out side by side at the end of the bed are two housecoats and on the floor, two sets of orthopedic plastic slippers. Pinned on our robes are our itineraries for the rest of the day. It’s a light list which leaves us plenty of time to get settled and back downstairs for a tour.
Kelly takes us through the inside, showing us the spa (which includes many different rooms), steam room, workout and yoga rooms, gift shop, dining room and immense living room. This last room fits comfortably three regular sized living rooms and features the mother of all stone fireplaces.
Our tour takes us outside past the beach with paddle boats and canoes available for our pleasure. Close by is the Grail grotto which includes an outdoor sauna, cold plunge tub and hot tub. I barely get out my excited chatter about jumping into my bikini right away when we come across the fascinating labyrinth. The sight leaves me dumb while I drink in its magical energy.
That ain’t all. Walking further into the property, we catch a glimpse of the owner’s house as we’re shown the path to the walking trails. The tour ends at pungent red stables. Five retired rescue horses feed lazily at their troughs hanging from the internal set of a series of fences. Although I haven’t booked horseback riding, I ask if it’d be ok if during my stay I pet them. “Sure,” she answers. “I think they’d like that.”
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this review, where I describe the different packages Mom and I experienced, our individual treatments and meals. The overall Grail Springs philosophy will be exemplified as I discuss the complimentary workshops and movies, gifts sold in the shop and some of the stories of healing from staff and guests, including myself.
Just so I don’t have you waiting in suspense, would I go again? In a heartbeat. Between Mom and me, we spent nearly $2000 for 2 nights at seasonal prices. Was it worth a few months of cutting out the extras to save for such a luxurious adventure? Definitely. But only for longer.
Note: Mom and I received the same treatment as any other guest. No one knew I was a blogger and that I was planning on writing a review until the last day after check-out.
If you’re curious about the labyrinth, take a walk with us in Friday’s post in a video I shot while there. I’ll also explain what it is, where it came from and its purpose.