Spa of the month: Shizen Spa, Toronto

From the West Coast to the Atlantic Ocean, Beauty Director Adriana Ermter scours the nation for must-try rejuvenating, relaxing and beautifying spas.

Shizen Spa
Pantages Hotel, 200 Victoria St., Toronto, 416-369-7882, or

The neon lighting of the lobby at the Pantages Hotel is a far cry from the quiet, calm atmosphere of the Shizen Spa on the fifth floor. I slip on a robe before being guided to the room where I’m set to enjoy the spa’s signature service: a 70-minute Rose Wrap ($140). Lying face down, the treatment begins with an exfoliation using a natural mixture that includes, of course, rose petals. Satisfied that every dead skin cell has been gently sloughed off my back, my aesthetician rolls me over and repeats the process on my front. She cocoons me in plastic (to keep the rose-infused product close to my skin) and a blanket to ensure that I’m warm enough—a detail I appreciate. I inhale deeply, allowing the delicate scent of roses to transport me into a sleepy catnap. Later, the sound of running water awakens me, and my aesthetician props up my body, which is now heavy with sleep and relaxation. Wrapped in a towel, I step under the refreshing shower in an adjacent room, appreciative of the dim, warm lighting. The treatment finishes with an application of body oil, and I’ve opted for an additional 30-minute reflexology treatment ($60). Initially wary—my feet are, after all, my most ticklish zone—I’m happily surprised: my aesthetician’s thumbs prod my soles in ways I didn’t know were possible, and the resulting pressure doesn’t induce giggles, but sighs of bliss instead.

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