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Spa Eastman - Spa Review

Feed the Soul

by Sandy Samuels

An exterior view of the Spa Eastman from the woods during winter
An exterior view of the Spa Eastman from the woods during winter

Imagine a tranquil, tri-level ski lodge facing a pond and set in a rural winter wonderland. Now open your eyes, and you'll see the beautiful Spa Eastman. This retreat sits on a 315-acre "country village estate" surrounded by woods studded by quiet "sentiers" (paths) that are perfect for walking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Located 90 minutes from Montreal and just 30 minutes from Mont Orford Ski Area, one of the three highest peaks in Quebec, the spa benefits from hands-on owners, Jocelyna Dubuc and her husband Gerard Marinovich, who have devoted their energies to both French and English-speaking guests since the spa's inception in 1977.

The main house sits on a slight slope with an entry level that includes the reception, living and dining areas as well as meeting rooms. Its upper level houses some of the 43 accommodations (among them luxury rooms with jet tubs and terraces) and a lower level with 35 treatment rooms, a spa boutique, pool (where there are daily aqua-aerobics classes) and outdoor access to gardens, the fitness pavilion and cottage accommodations. In winter, hardy spa-goers warm up in the steam room (hammam) before a run and roll in the snow and a dip in the icy pond. (The tradition is to repeat the process three times!)

A woman receives a Watsu massage in their body-temperature shallow pool The women's spa locker room at Spa Eastman
A woman receives a Watsu massage in the body-temperature pool
The women's spa locker room at Spa Eastman

The clientele includes gal-pals, couples and solo spa aficionados who come for a day (mostly from Montreal) or for a stay. A variety of spa packages (forfaits) include seven daily activities, meals, accommodations and choices from a full menu of body, beauty and health services, such as the Swedish massage, the signature four-handed treatment (The Eastman Quartet) or a warming Stone Massage. There's also a private, in-water watsu massage in a heated-to-body-temperature shallow pool. And for those who aspire to make more permanent changes to their lifestyle, consultants are available to assist with nutritional, personal and fitness-related goals.

The hall foyer in the Main Pavilion at the Spa Eastman A pool at the Spa Eastman, where daily aqua-aerobics classes are held
The hall foyer in the Main Pavilion at the Spa Eastman
A pool at the Spa Eastman, where daily aqua-aerobics classes are held

One of the three kinesiologists leads morning walks as well as Pilates, fitness ball and aqua-aerobics classes. We enjoyed Marie-Josie's motivational session with tips (vary activities), "petit changements" (use stairs, not elevators) and advice (incorporate daily "plaisirs" or pleasures). Evening programs feature both a lecture and a movie, which can be offered in English or in French.

The organic food and edible flowers which decorate the garden beds in warm weather enhance meals year round; the buffet features blueberry preserves, eggplant spreads and pureed carrot or leek soups. The friendly wait staff serves entrees at tables for two, four and at the "convivial" tables where up to six solo guests can mingle. Chef Frederic Cyr's hearty dinners defy the myth of spa cuisine; we savored rack of lamb with four ribs on the first evening and pasta with three cheeses on another.

Spa Eastman feeds the body magnificently, but what it does best is feed the soul.

Spa Eastman
895, chemin des Diligences
Eastman (Québec), J0E 1P0, Canada
450-297-3009
800-665-5272
www.spa-eastman.com


PKR102808

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