With personal wellness and self care a continuing theme in the travel industry, what better to embrace this belief than to take on a wellness based weekend getaway in Ontario at the Elm Hurst Inn and Spa. The Elm Hurst Inn is a destination spa near London, Ontario which provides the perfect combination of travel and wellness. Providing a flawless marriage between the two ideals, it offers spa treatments, 5 star dining, a peaceful hotel room and manicured grounds. As an added bonus, the activities of Oxford County (and the cheese trail) are within easy reach.
Traveling is about experience. I have always felt that the best way to experience a location such as Elm Hurst is to arrive, kick off your shoes, and really embrace all of the features offered by the destination. In consideration of wellness; taking the time to relax without needing to be anywhere, while at the same time being somewhere, is a gratifying experience for the traveler. One of the key attractions of a destination spa is to have the opportunity to take a moment to focus on yourself and take advantage of what is around you. Recently I took the opportunity to travel to the Elm Hurst Inn and Spa in Ingersoll to embrace a moment or two at one of the best spas in Ontario.
Oh and did I mention I brought my Dad again? Speaking of personal wellness, the men of the world and the Dad’s of the land should really take the opportunity to experience a spa resort in Ontario like the Elm Hurst Inn. Read on to see how his #dadswhospa experience panned out. Now, lets get to the details of this Inn and Spa in Ontario.
If you take your Dad to the spa or have a #dadswhospa, use the hashtag on Instagram and we can unite the #dadswhospa of the world!
The Elm Hurst experience as a weekend getaway in Ontario
The Elm Hurst Inn and Spa is located just off highway 401 in Ingersoll, not far from bustling London, and part of Ontario’s South West. Country based, the Inn is surrounded by rolling hills of farmer’s fields and thus has that underlying calm tone of a ‘slow and steady’ lifestyle. Away from the city and into the country, the Elm Hurst Inn is located in the perfect location for a much needed break from the city.
We arrived at the Elm Hurst Inn and Spa mid morning. We were a little early for our check in time but the staff, who were beyond pleasant, were ready for us. Feeling appreciated and special from the moment we stepped into the building, I knew we were in for a positive experience at this Ontario getaway.
We were given the keys to our room as well as a package detailing locations around the spa which we could visit if we were so inclined. These locations included a few stops on the Oxford County Cheese Trail. This cheese based experience weaves its way around the area presenting the opportunity to enjoy tastings from some of Ontario’s cheese industry leaders. While meandering through the grounds we bumped into a group of ladies who were staying at the Inn but cycling the cheese trail during the day…not a bad idea.
The Oxford Cheese package
Speaking of the cheese trail. While at the Elm Hurst Inn, we actually chose to enjoy the Oxford County Cheese Package. A cheese lover myself, this might be one of the best spa packages Ontario has. Our cheese based stay came with one night at the Inn, an Oxford County cheese tray, a bottle of Burning Kiln Sparkling wine, and a box of locally made tea infused chocolates. Along with our package we also opted to enjoy two spa treatments and the Chef’s selection dinner…but we will get to those in detail later.
One of the factors which attributed to our positive experience at the Elm Hurst Inn and Spa was the ability to customize the package we chose with regards to event timing. Before arriving at the spa we were able to request our cheese, chocolates and wine to arrive at various times throughout the day. Choosing our meal reservation and spa visits were also key. This perfectly planned experience made this Ontario getaway feel very special, because anything personalized feels special.
While the grounds are beautiful and the hotel historical, it was the staff at the Elm Hurst Inn whose personal care and attention to detail elevated the experience. We were always greeted with smiles, our questions answered, and we were always made to feel comfortable. The staff were respectful and enabled us to feel relaxed as we ate, drank and spent our time leisurely. By allowing us to choose where we enjoyed our cheese plate and wine, or by making us a coffee in the spa to enjoy as we explored the resort, or through a sense of humour; our experience was frequently lifted by the staff who brought a certain sense of comfort to the luxury spa experience. A night at the Elm Hurst Inn feels like a night with good food, good friends, and good atmosphere. This makes for an attractive weekend getaway in Ontario.
Our Personalized Schedule
As I stated above; one of the best features of the Elm Hurst experience was being able to customize our schedule. Let me outline ours briefly before getting into too much detail.
The morning was spent enjoying the floral grounds of the Elm Hurst Inn and Spa; eventually leading to a 12:00pm cheese plate and beer. Followed by an afternoon of lounging on one of the many outdoor patio’s; we polished off our afternoon with a bottle of Burning Kiln sparkling wine which was delivered to our room at 4pm. We took our wine downstairs to take advantage of the lounge, relaxing before Dad slipped on his robe and headed to the spa for his hot stone massage. While he was enjoying his #dadswhospa treatment, I spent an hour enjoying a cup of coffee and hot tub down in the spa. Our chef’s selection dining experience happened soon after, where we spent the next 2 hours and 20 minutes dining. After a delectable dessert we were up in the room to shower and get a good night’s sleep.
We made our way to breakfast early in the morning, in fact, we were the first ones there. We spent the morning drinking coffee and picking away at the generous breakfast buffet until it was time for me to head to the spa for my treatment; a personalized facial. Arriving back to the room, glowing, we enjoyed a cup of coffee and a taste of the tea infused chocolates which were delivered to our room at check in. Our time to depart came just a little too early, as relaxing at this spa retreat in Ontario was luxurious enough to want to stay another day.
Now that you know the schedule, let me break it down a little more.
Our Weekend Getaway in Ontario at the Elm Hurst Inn and Spa
We stayed in one of the Deluxe rooms with 2 queen beds while at the Elm Hurst Inn and Spa. The room was tastefully decorated in grey and white with modern amenities such as our very own Kuerig coffee maker; a win if you are a coffee fan such as myself. With an upgraded bathroom, which included a rain shower and of course two super comfortable bathrobes. The beds were covered in soft white linens and had a pillowy duvet which lead to an eventual cozy and restful sleep. The room had a partial cathedral ceiling which opened up to a large window giving us sweeping views of the flowery grounds and countryside. A comfortable arm chair was included from which to enjoy said view. With lots of room for storage, our room at Elm Hurst Inn was a pleasant place to rest our heads after a long day of relaxation.
After moving into the room, we spent the majority of the day meandering through the gorgeously maintained grounds of the Inn. With bright green freshly cut grass, gardens of floral displays left, right and centre, and flowing fountains appearing around every corner; a walk around the Elm Hurst Inn and Spa is like strolling through a secret garden. Spread throughout the grounds are a number of pergolas to relax under and bright red Muskoka chairs which make for the perfect place to read a book or to enjoy a glass of wine. There is a creek running through the property with a lookout deck over the water, and a series of patios to enjoy a moment in the sun. With a theme of wellness and relaxation, this spa provides a number of places from which to enjoy the view of the grounds they work so hard to maintain.
The Elm Hurst Inn and Spa is housed in an historical building with an attached addition which maintains its architectural integrity. There are 2 outdoor patio’s available to enjoy coffee, wine, beer or lunch as well as a number of rooms set up in which to dine. Separating the dining areas makes for a quieter, more intimate experience. Once again, Elm Hurst feels more personal; an apparent theme at this destination spa. There are 2 other outdoor patios which can be used for larger events such as weddings, although if there is no event they are available for guests to enjoy. One is a ground floor patio and the other patio is raised to a second story and provides a great view. Inside there is a lounge with comfortable chairs next to either a fireplace or windows, as well as a few tall chairs next to a bar to relax on should you choose.
Down in the spa area there is a hot tub for visitors to use at their leisure as well as soft white towels and a drink station offering coffee, tea and water. Change rooms and lockers are also available in the hot tub area as well as a steam room, sauna, and a boutique of wellness products used by the spa.
A fitness centre and yoga studio are located in the barn across the way which has its own lounge area and pool table. With bright red Muskoka chairs distributed all around the property, there are a number of ways and places to enjoy your time at Elm Hurst Inn and Spa.
Treatments at the Elm Hurst Spa
The Organic Balancing Facial
While I love visiting a spa, I have to admit, this was the first time I have ever tried a facial…and I loved it. Upon entering the spa, I was given a comfortable bathrobe and slippers to change into. My belongings locked away in the change room I was led to my own treatment room and introduced to my aesthetician, Susana.
After laying down in the heated spa bed, Susana came in and asked me a few questions about my non-existent skin care routine. Following this, she used a magnifying glass and bright lights to take what I believe was the closest look anyone has every taken at my skin. It was educational to have someone look at me in a different (literally) light and to teach me about my dry to normal, small pored skin type.
Following my examination she left the room, eventually returning with an artist’s palette filled with creamy concoctions. For an hour, she would cover my face with a warm cloth and then proceed to paint on a face mask, explaining the process with each and every layer. Some felt cool, some were active and tingled, and some smelled like tzatziki sauce. An hour of face massages, neck massages, and arm massages later, my eyes were hydrated, my face conditioned and I looked like a glowing angel in the mirror. I left that facial feeling like I was high on relaxation; feeling confident, beautiful, and down right good about myself. Would I get another facial? Yes! I am a changed person.
The Fusion Stone Massage -By Dad
Attired in my fuzzy white robe supplied in my room by the Inn, I ventured downstairs to the “Spa”. Warmly greeted by a receptionist upon entering I was directed to take a seat while she contacted my masseuse to let her know I was ready. I could have indulged in a coffee while waiting but we had just enjoyed some Burning Kiln wine. Shortly I was collected by Crystal my relaxation massage therapist who was to supply my “hot stone massage”. She explained the procedure then left the room briefly while I climbed into the warmth of a massage table covered in hot blankets. She then rejoined me and proceeded to apply hot, smooth, flat stones along my spine and other locations on my back. Now these stones were not applied directly but on wrapped in a pre-warmed towel. She then gently massaged my arms, legs, neck, virtually my entire body (minus the underwear area) back and front with scented oils and hot stones. By the end of the hour I was totally relaxed, ready to face the next challenge with vigour….actually it was dinner and was I prepared!
Dining at the Elm Hurst Inn
The dining experience at the Elm Hurst Inn is one of the reasons I define this spa resort in Ontario as luxury. The thoughtful and local fine dining of the Elm Hurst Inn is nothing short of delightful, as is the atmosphere.
The Cheese Plate
Our first taste of dining at the Elm Hurst came with our Oxford Cheese trail package cheese tray. Delivered to us on one of the outdoor patios, I would first like to mention that this cheese tray was sizable. All of the cheeses were local to the county and the flavours included one brick of wine cheese, two bricks of cheddar, two bricks of delicious firm white cheddar, and two bricks of chive and garlic cheese. This all came with a selection of flavoured crackers and a side of grapes and strawberries. The flavours ranged from mild to sharp and the experience was fantastic. We spent almost an hour tasting the cheeses with the flavoured crackers, washing them down with a Rail City Brew.
Our second taste of dining at the Elm Hurst Inn featured the Chef’s selection. This meal is from a special menu and came with an appetizer, entree, and a dessert accompanied by coffee or tea. I’ll be real with you. We dined for 2 hours and 20 minutes and had a great time while we were there. The restaurant is separated into a few smaller rooms in the historical home where the formal dining area of the Inn and Spa is located. Just 5 or 6 tables in each room, make the dining experience seem more personal, private and enjoyable. We were able to focus on our meals and received what felt like personal attention from Dave and Peter, our waiters.
Our meal began with homemade bread which was served with an oil and balsamic mix, everyone’s favourite. Following this we both opted to begin with the garlic and cauliflower soup. A sizable portion for fine dining, this soup was savoury and delicious as any garlic flavoured meal should be. Thick but covered with shavings of Gunn’s Hill white cheddar, the appetizer was one of the best things I have tasted in a while.
For an Entree I chose to try the seared pork tenderloin with chorizo, sweet corn and fontina barley risotto with an apple and pear chutney, brown sugar and mustard sauce. Once again, the portion was sizable, which is appreciated when considering fine dining. Cooked to perfection, the pork mixed well with the spice of the chorizo and the sweetness of the chutney. The chutney really brought the dish together, and of course I have always been a sucker for risotto.
Dad ordered the lemon and rosemary roasted chicken with roasted potatoes, oven dried tomato, wild mushroom, leeks, spinach and a tomato and micro green salad with natural pan jus. Exquisitely presented, this dish offered a variety of delicate flavours. The perfectly roasted chicken with crispy skin was placed on top of roasted duchess potatoes and a variety of other vegetables resting in the well seasoned juice of the chicken. A delightful meal for those that appreciate the leaner proteins of chicken.
When dessert came, we were already full, but managed to find room for these delightful treats. We finished our meals with a lemon tart and a maple pecan tart which were made on site. Desserts made on site are seemingly more rare than expected. The lemon and pecan fillings were both smooth and flavourful, pairing well with their vanilla cream and maple ice cream sides. A final coffee and joke with our waiters and we were on our way, waddling to bed, wondering what will be next for breakfast!
The Breakfast Buffet
As early risers we made our way to the breakfast buffet at 7:30am and were the first in the room. Our waitress once again was out of this world as she filled up our coffee cups whenever she walked by, joking along the way. The breakfast buffet consisted of a selection of fruit juices, fresh fruit, yogurt and granola as well as eggs, bacon, sausages, homefries, baked beans, frittatas, sweet pastries and toast with locally made preserves. We sat for almost 2 hours once again and tasted our way through the breakfast buffet, stopping to enjoy one of two of the fresh preserves along the way. Our coffees once again, were always full.
#Dad’sWhoSpa- Elm Hurst Inn and Spa through Dad’s Perspective
Often overlooked by fathers or shall I say men in general are the benefits of a relaxing time spent at a destination spa. When accompanied by members of family be it parents, siblings or your own nuclear family it presents the opportunity to reengage with those closest to you in a different, always serene environment. An environment that endeavours to remove those daily pressures that dominate your life. Relax and enjoy the pampering, maybe book a spa treatment that you would not normally make time for. Chat in the serene peaceful setting while enjoying a tasty repast or libation. The staff will always ensure you are well looked after so it is up to you to take advantage of all that is offered. Regenerate your energies. Make the time. Take the time. You will not regret it. I am in!
A visit to the Elm Hurst Inn and Spa near London Ontario was nothing short of relaxing, pleasant, and enjoyable…which is exactly how a spa is meant to make you feel. The staff at the Inn went above and beyond what was expected as they commence every interaction with a friendly smile. In an uplifting atmosphere, we were able to enjoy the people at the spa, as well as the grounds and facilities; a positive experience for sure . The tastefully decorated room left us feeling well rested and the spa treatments left us relaxed. Finally, the food and wine were always enjoyable, with the chef knocking it out of the park every time. When considering weekend getaways in Ontario and with the theme of wellness in the atmosphere, there is no reason a destination spa should not be on your list of things to do in Ontario. The flawless marriage between travel, destinations, and personal wellness and self care makes destination spas an ideal experience to have or to share with someone.
-The Elm Hurst Inn & Spa was kind enough to host us in exchange for an honest review-