The Scandinave Spa in Whistler is such an awesome place to stop and spend a half day! Especially epic if your legs are killing you after hitting the slopes, but also as a nice treat yoself experience just because. The Spa is a very quick drive from most of the hotels in the Village, and if you don’t have a car you could easily cab.
Scandinave a complex of hot and cold pools, saunas, steam rooms, and relaxation rooms as well as treatment rooms for massages in the Scandinavian tradition. I’m sure it’s fun in the summer, but there’s something incredibly special about enjoying it in winter time, as the steam rises all around you into the cold air.
Two things to note about the Scandinave Spa are that they are an electronics free and silent facility, and they take this VERY seriously. I saw people admonished (albeit nicely) by the staff for talking and you won’t see any phones out at all.
1. Book a service
Luckily for us Americans, that CAD to USD conversion rate is strongly in our favor! However, I definitely still feel like it’s worth it to book a service. Entrance to the baths alone costs you $70. Here’s the kicker – it’ll cost you $13 extra to rent a robe. Which is absolutely mandatory with the freezing temps. While I don’t think the “package” with lunch and robe rental is really worth it, I do think by the time you are considering $83 to just use the base services it’s time to think about a massage. An hour long Swedish massage will run you $175, which in my mind is worth it.
2. Eat beforehand
While there is a cafe with coffee, tea, juice (bottled not fresh squeezed), some baked goods, and sandwiches it’s a bit overpriced and honestly nothing to write home about. I’d recommend going to one of the many other eateries in Whistler instead of investing in a meal at the spa.
3. Pack flip flops
When it’s 15°F outside, you’d never think about walking around barefoot with your feet wet. Unfortunately, the Scandinave Spa doesn’t offer you any flip flops or slippers, and you can’t even rent or purchase any. When you’re experiencing a 80° drop in temperatures from the pools to the outside temps, you’ll feel it on your feet – HARD. Luckily, you don’t have to go very far before finding a fireplace or a sauna but I wish I had known this beforehand!
4. Bring a magazine or book
If you’re one of those people who can silently meditate and enjoy yourself for a few hours, that’s amazing. That is also… NOT me. Do yourself a favor and bring a magazine or book for the relaxation rooms. They are so beautiful and peaceful, but you can begin to feel a little antsy after spending more than 15 minutes in there in complete silence.
5. Remember a hairbrush
While the locker rooms come equipped with hairdryers, lotion, cotton pads, and Q tips, and the showers have shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, there are no disposable combs. Do yourself a favor and make sure you can comb out and dry your hair (or at least throw it up in a messy bun) before you head back out into the freezing temps.
6. Make a plan
Because the Spa is silent, it’s important to figure out what you and your crew want to do before you head out of the locker room. Are you one of those people who wants to try the cold plunge pools? Hate the dry heat of the sauna but love a good steam? Just want to sit in the heated pools the whole time? Figure it out beforehand so you’re not trying to decide through a use of excessive hand gestures and facial expressions. Also, you’re there to relax and it’s no fun stressing to make sure everyone else is having a good time. Decide if you want to stick together or meet back up at a certain spot before you leave.
7. Take a picture from just outside the cafe
However, one thing that shouldn’t be missed is a picture from the top of the stairs right outside of the cafe. I didn’t notice it when I first got in but while I was enjoying the baths I saw multiple people pop out the door on the left side of the cafe and snap a picture of the grounds. It’s a great viewpoint above all the pools, and since you’re technically not in the baths yet no one will yell at you for using your phone. I took a picture on our way out, but by that time it was already very dark.