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Elmwood Spa

Posted by Catherine / Posted on November 29, 2009

Elmwood SpaElmwood spa is located in an historic, five-story brick building at 18 Elm Street in downtown Toronto; designed by Gordon & Helliwell Architects and built by Edward James Lennox - the same architects who designed Old City Hall, St. Paul's Anglican Church and Casa Loma.

According to Elmwood: "Four spacious floors of treatment and renewal options mean that Elmwood Spa can provide the convenience and flexibility to cater to demanding schedules."

OPEN SINCE

1982

PRICE POINTS

  • ElmLine Essential Manicure: $42 | 35 min
  • ElmLine Essential Pedicure: $60 | 50 min
  • ElmLine Essential Facial: $99 | 50 min
  • Swedish Massage: $99 | 50 min

SIGNATURE TREATMENTS

  • "LI'TYA Healing Rituals, exclusive to Elmwood Spa in Canada: sensory therapies integrating ancient and revered aesthetics of the Australian earth and spirit"

SPECIAL SERVICES

  • Swimming pool, whirlpool, steam rooms and pool-side lounge
  • Spa cuisine and on-site dining: Bangkok Garden; Terrace restaurant; Juice Bar
  • Over 50 Registered Massage Therapists

FEATURED PRODUCT LINES

"Elmwood Spa has its own Canadian made ElmLine range of body care, and skincare products that covers all the essentials for various skin types and conditions with protective creams, masques, toners and serums for Sensitive, Hydrating, Purifying and Anti-Aging. The spa also carries Guinot skin care products, and selections of SeaFlora and LI'TYA products."

PACKAGES & DISCOUNTS

EXTRAS

  • Couples Suites - "The spa has several couples rooms for treatments for two, and on the fourth floor of the spa, there are two unique couples' suites, the Royal and the Sapphire where the beamed ceilings and cozy niches that were part of Elmwood's unique architectural heritage have been retained"

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Photos by Eugen Sakhnenko

Discussion

50 Comments

Melanie / May 16, 2011 at 05:21 pm
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The worst service I have ever had at a spa. I was asked to arrive for my appointment 15 minutes early. I did this, and it was almost an hour before I was seen. The person was going through "personal issues", which I got to hear all about and had a poor, unprofessional attitude the entire service. To top it off, I got home and realized I was charged for the wrong service (overcharged at that) and had not been given my credit card back. My next statement reflected some very odd charges obviously from whoever took it at the spa. I wrote a letter to the manager and a month later, never heard anything back. Avoid this scam ridden spa.
Megan / May 28, 2011 at 08:40 am
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I took my friend here for a massage the week before her wedding and then went back again later last year with another friend for a birthday treat. Both times the service and the atmosphere were pleasant and relaxing. I enjoyed it so much I gave my mom a gift certificate for here for mothers day!
Heather / June 4, 2011 at 09:39 pm
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This is my favourite spa in the city. The water therapies are lovely (especially the steam rooms), the services are very good quality and the place is very well appointed.
Angie / June 13, 2011 at 05:54 pm
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I had booked the Elmwood spa for my mother-in-laws wash and style and for my entire bridal party's makeup. I myself had gone there two weeks in advance so the make-up artist could find the right colours.

My mother-in-law hated her hair style as it was asymmetric and far too modern for her conservative tastes. She said that the stylist (TINA) was very rushed and didn't take the time to listen to what she wanted and rushed through the entire styling process. What was worse was that when I saw my mother-in-law in the makeup area and saw how unhappy she was, I asked for them to ensure that the stylist would fix it. After we had both had our make-up done half an hour later, I again had to ask them to call upstairs to find the stylist. I was told that she had left and there was no one else working and there was nothing they could do. I ended up having to fix it myself in the salon.

In addition, they didn't have the lipstick colour that the makeup artist had used on me and the woman working at the cosmetics counter was completely unhelpful and couldn't even suggest a similar colour as she said that she didn't know what the colours were.

As most people can understand, you already have a lot on your mind on the day of your wedding. These hassles were the last thing that I wanted to deal with and the entire experience was made worse by the unhelpful attitude of the staff and of the manager (who took my information, and said that he would look into, and I have never heard back from him).
Mary / June 13, 2011 at 05:56 pm
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Ok, where to begin. Firstly, my spa visit was due to a gift certificate received at work and I must say that once the staff knew it was a certificate visit the shabby service began. Secondly, they ask that you arrive at your appointment a little earlier so they can give you a run down of the spa and the way it works but due to a road closure I arrived at my appointment only 5 mins in advance as opposed to the required 15 mins. Boy did I ever get treated badly. I don't think I was 'punished' this much for arriving late in highschool or even to the office!! Since my spa visit was with a friend we decided to have a few of our services together (this was an option offered by the spa anyway). Our pedicures were pretty much in the middle of a corridor that led to other treatment rooms and although the pedicures were scheduled together we were on opposite sides of the hallway getting our treatment. My second treatment - a massage was then in this tiny tiny room, or should I say cubicle? and when I had my facial treatment the esthetician (not professional at all) went on and on about how I had various imperfections in my skin. Now the imperfection-talk didn't offend me in any way...it's just that the treatment was no longer a 'treat' and this only led to the line up of goods left at the check out counter that the esthetician suggested I purchase for my supposedly imperfect skin. (For the record, I have never had acne, I am under 30 and use other professional products on my skin on a daily basis - so basically I didn't really believe her little sales pitch). All those little perks they supposedly offer weren't perks at all. I could go on and on about the shabby service at this place but I'll leave it up to you if you ever decide you'd like to blow your $$ on a place like this.
Marika / June 13, 2011 at 05:56 pm
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I went to the Elmwood with some girlfriends in the summer for a standard pedicure. I disliked every minute of it. The seating was uncomfortable, the choice of polishes was very limited and the woman performing the service was less than friendly. And they charged $50 for this!
I have received better service for half this price at several spas and nail bars around the city.
It is not worth the time or money.
Carmen / June 21, 2011 at 06:10 pm
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I've been here a few times over the past twenty years. There is no flow to this spa. It is multi level with an elevator and can be confusing.

The steam room in the women's section isn't hot enough and the whirlpool isn't private enough. It's smack in the middle of the change room where people are blow drying their hair. The sauna closed years ago and now they just have a curtain covering the door. When will this be fixed?
I like the restaurant but the food isn't really spa like. It can be heavy on calories.
I use to come here for a specific massage therapist who had magic fingers but he left.
Try Body Blitz instead, you won't regret it!
Jenni / July 15, 2011 at 07:47 pm
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Defiantly over priced. Compare...
The Elmwood Spa: 50 minute RMT massage $98. ($110 with tax)
The Holt Renfrew Spa: 55 minute RMT massage $90. ($102 with tax)

Yes the spa at Holts lacks the wonderful water area, but when I went there today and my service was both switched away from my preferred gender and therapist, then placed on a different floor without my knowledge leaving me sitting and waiting for 15 minutes alone. It occurred to me that The Elmwood is just too large for their fresh out of college employees to handle.

NEVER AGAIN.
eeveec / August 22, 2011 at 05:15 pm
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THIS IS DEFINITELY MY WORST SPA EXPERIENCE EVER!! My boyfriend and I went to this spa about a week ago and were booked for a 60-minute facial. We arrived about 5 minutes late and were sent to our rooms immediately to make up for lost time. During the facial, I had no idea what my aesthetician was doing - she never explained to me what she put on my face or the type of products I was receiving. Also, during the 10-minute break for the facial to set, the hand/arm massage was nothing but a few squeezes on both my arms and hands. To make my experience even worst, she finished 10 minutes before the allotted time was up! A 60 minute facial turned into no more than a 45 minutes session. Of course, the reason why my session ended early was because my aesthetician wanted to go home on the dot. Honestly, the price of this facial, even though it was during the August special, does NOT justify this level of service. I would be even more furious if I had to pay for this facial at regular price!! NEVER AGAIN will I visit this spa! Definitely my WORST spa experience EVER!!!
Natalie / December 12, 2011 at 02:12 am
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This is a great spa! The staff is always very friendly, the masseuses are informative and listen to my concerns, and the food in the Terrace Restaurant is outstanding!
On my most recent visit, we arrived to discover the woman who booked us had accidentally scheduled us for the following day. We expressed our frustration and the manager re-booked us that day for massages and made sure we were satisfied by not charging us for our massages or lunches that day. We ended up receiving $280 worth of services for no cost at all.
I will certainly be going back!
Tiffany / April 5, 2012 at 09:56 pm
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I decided to treat myself to a spa day at this spa for my birthday. It was the absolute worse spa experience of my life! Lunch was nothing special and the massage was torture. They need to sound proof their rooms as I had to listen to a bunch of loud banging and clowning around outside my room while I was trying to relax with a massage. Don't even get me started with the pedicure! I was booked for a deluxe pedicure with a girlfriend. We started at the same time, but my girlfriends pedicure was finished 20 minutes before mine. The chairs are about as uncomfortable as they can get :( The girl clipped my toenails with dull clippers and basically ripped my toenails...wtf? Honestly, this spa ruined my birthday as I had planned on leaving feeling relaxed and pamper, but instead I left feeling stressed out and embarrassed because I asked my friend to join me. I honestly think that people who like this spa have not been to a good one yet. The decor is tired as well.
Bill / August 1, 2012 at 11:12 pm
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Wow....another high end crap t.o. Spa....tks for the low down ladies.....I get the feeling rich people like everything fake
Karina / September 28, 2012 at 12:13 pm
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I just moved to Toronto three years ago and the first thing I did was look at spas. My day at the Elmwood with my husband was a nightmare. I have an esthetics and medical background so I can say, the place is not the cleanest, it also was the worst facial and pedicure that I have ever had. The woman doing the facial had big rough hands and I could feel every callous scrape against my poor face. The pedicure was horrid, she made me bleed...and as a person with a medical background (I'm a doctor), I would say never ever to go to that place again. It's a risk to your health!
Michelle / March 4, 2013 at 09:04 am
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Elmwood Spa has dramatically improved since all these reviews. I signed up for a swedish massage and my appointment was on sunday at 7pm. Their staff were extremely polite and very fast service. My husband and i got checked in, our coats were taken, and we were shown to the change rooms on the second floor. Then we were taken on a tour of the change rooms by staff and i was amazed at how clean everything was. I usually go to a medical clinic for a massage and compared to that this was like hitting the jackpot. My husband i went into the steam rooms and steamed for about 10 minutes. Everyone was very polite and kept asking if we wanted tea or needed help. We had massages on different floors and my massage therapist was excellent. Kept asking if i was okay, if i wanted the pressure adjusted and i was extremely satisfied. She even massaged my head and face which was a bonus. Furthermore, afterwards she offered me green or herbal tea and allowed me to relax a bit in the lounge before heading up to change again. The check out was excellent and we got gifts as a bonus for rebooking. Our next appointments are in 2 weeks. My husband had a male masseuse and said he was excellent - Mikael. Mine was Lilibeth and she was just a star! I think everyone should experience this place for themselves and go in with an open mind!
Leslie / January 9, 2014 at 05:00 pm
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First of all my husband bought a spa day for myself and best friend for Christmas, great idea. When we finished our day and was checking out I was told that it had not been paid for. So they billed my husband visa (again) I called the spa and asked for the manager and after about five minutes going back and forth they transferred my call to the duty manager and I left a message. No return phone call and still no call. I called the next day and was told I could not speak with the duty manage, this is extremely poor customer service. We notified our credit card company and we were told it was fraud as my husband did not give them permission to bill his credit card.
Secondly, the spa day was JUST OKAY. My massage was okay, but when I asked the massage therapist to go deeper I was told it was good enough for me.(not a good answer) The facial was spectacular. The pedicure was great, but the manicure (done by another staff) was substandard. Lets talk about the lunch, it was awesome,and our server was great with an infectious personality.
This is not the first time at this spa, but not sure if I would do it again.
If a client has a concern and asks to speak with manager this should not be an issue. Customer service should be number one.
Stokely / February 9, 2014 at 10:35 pm
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It's a totally mediocre spa--nothing special at all. My massage was ho-hum at best, and earlier in the morning, when I mentioned I was experiencing stomach pain after consuming a smoothie from the juice bar, staff told me they had informed their manager…. and that he had tried the same one I had and was not feeling sick at all, so clearly the issue was not their smoothie.

The summing pool is teensy-tiny--nothing like how it looks in the photos above--and I fled the whirlpool when I saw the dead skin-cell crud ring around the tub. Also, I saw little bits of floating green stuff and when you see that in a hot tub, there's only one thing it can be. Yuck.
Neha / February 10, 2014 at 11:04 am
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I stopped going to Elmwood a few months ago. It used to be my main massage place, and I went regularly (about once a month or once every two months) to get an RMT deep tissue or Swedish massage. The massages became more and more mediocre, and I started having issues with the massage therapist starting late and ending early. I always got a 90-minute massage, and found that the therapist would just waste some of the time away and end up saying "Oh we won't have enough time to get to your legs" or something of the sort.

It's hard to get the same therapist on a repetitive basis - their staff changes frequently, so if you had someone you liked a couple of times, they may not be around on your next visit.

If you go on a weekday when the Thai restaurant downstairs is open, chances are your massage room will smell like Thai food. They have some sort of ventilation issues in the building and as much as I love Thai food, I don't love getting a massage while smelling onions frying and curry cooking.

I also found their hot tub to be dirty on occasion, and the steam rooms were often "scummy" and just felt unclean.
Adi / March 3, 2014 at 02:36 pm
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Elmwood spa is one of the worst spa's I have ever been too. Customer service was awful, the locker room area is tiny, the floors were wet and hair everywhere in the change room, it was hot and humid, the water therapies is just a small pool. The massage was awful, I explained to her where I needed extra attention and she paid no attention at all to those areas. There was NO flow or position energy from the massage, never asked if the pressure was ok, nothing. I actually couldn't wait for the whole experience to be over. I will never go back there again.
Tiffany Rogers / April 9, 2014 at 12:11 pm
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Absolute worst spa experience of my life. Got one of the more expensive messages and could hear the staff clowning around in the hallway for the entire time. Got a deluxe pedicure with my girlfriend. Exact same pedicure and the girl that did my girlfriends pedicure was in a rush and finished my girlfriends pedicure 20 mins before mine...wth? I complained and they offered us free future pedicures. My girlfriend was so turned off she declined. I went back for my free pedicure and got the worst pedicure ever. I will never return to this spa.
Nick / July 15, 2014 at 10:24 am
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Hi All thank you for your reviews, I will be staying away from this spay. I am looking for a package for my wife and the reviews are a helpfuly way for me to weed out the bad spas.

Thank you
Mark / July 23, 2014 at 04:43 pm
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I was looking for a SPA for my wife for her birthday and I was about to book a whole day for a couples treatment. After reading so many bad experiences, I will keep looking elsewhere. Thanks for the warnings.

Katie / September 29, 2014 at 05:05 pm
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My partner brought me a spa package for my birthday from Elmwood, I went there and to be honest would not go back, The service when I first walked in was average there was one girl on and four people waiting! My massage was great, however when i got my facial instead of a nice relaxing facial I was bombarded with sales pitches on the products they were using, how i should buy them etc etc, i also had a pedicure which was nice however the lady was not that friendly and the polish job was something a 6 year old could have done! I then proceeded to wait 25 miniutes ( yes 25 miniutes) for someone to come do my manicure - At this point I was over it and left - They gave me a voucher to come back to get my manicure but i think id rather just not go back! I would rate this spa a 5/10, needs a fresh paint, better customer service and more timely manner!!
Dave / September 29, 2014 at 10:05 pm
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The last two times I went to the Elmwood, the place was packed. It had all of the charm of a factory.
Michelle / October 24, 2014 at 09:41 am
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My friend reserved a birthday package from Elmwood Spa and it was a spam and rip-off. Watch out for the small prints, basically you have to pay a $125 minimum in order to be eligible for the free lunch, but there was no service around that range, the next available level is $150. In addition to that, the whole place was packed like a supermarket, and the customer service at the front desk was awful, nobody was smiling and they only care about their own bottom line especially the on-shift Indian managers. I would not go back to this place even though they gave me a voucher to go back.
Vivian / October 27, 2014 at 02:35 pm
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Too bad, but I'm glad I looked at the comments. My boyfriend has never had a massage, and it was going to be a birthday treat along with our trip to Toronto - will have to pass. Don't know how you stay in business!
melanie / December 4, 2014 at 12:54 pm
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I got a mani/pedi, a light lunch and got to use the water facilities. The day was okay, the food was super slow and mediocre. The water facilities were fairly packed and the people at the front desk were friendly. However, I did NOT like the price $145 for a mani/pedi and use of their pools?

On top of that, the next day I got a rash, turns out I got RINGWORM from using their pool/whirlpool.......disgusting and NEVER COMING BACK........
Lara / January 27, 2015 at 08:59 pm
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I visited the Elmwood in June 2014, and would not go back. I had a one hour massage and used the hydrotherapy area. My RMT smelled like cigarette smoke, did a mediocre massage, and was too chatty, plus he said we wouldn't have time to do my legs because I had been 5 minutes late arriving for the filling out of the forms beforehand (!). The layout is pretty awful, with everyone having to go up and down in elevators between their treatments, whirlpool, etc. To put the cherry on the cake of it all, the water area is cramped, ugly, cheap-looking and there was a massive wad of hair floating in the tiny, tiny whirlpool when I was in it. I know these are first-world problems for us all, and I didn't even have to pay for my visit as it was a gift from a friend (I didn't tell them about these complaints). But man, I just thought I'd put my two cents in for the benefit of those who are searching for opinions.

From my experience, the Four Seasons is fantastic if you can get a deal of some kind (they have specials every once in a while), and Body Blitz for women is good if you don't mind the noisy conversations in the main pool. For silence, cleanliness and a good massage, go to Scandinave Spa if you are in Montreal (not the Blue Mountain one).
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