pillar and post spa

This spa and outdoor hot spring is a winter oasis near Toronto

While Nordic spas are all the rage, you know what else sounds pretty nice? A trip to Tuscany. Given that most of us can't just hop on a plane, it's nice to know that there's a more convenient but still beautiful local option. 

The Pillar & Post has long been one of Niagara-on-the-Lake's favourite hotels, but the 100 Fountain Spa on site is also worthy of plenty fawning. Beyond the lavish treatments, it's the facilities that really set this place apart.

A highlight has always been the sophisticated room that houses the indoor pool. Cast in red brick with wood beams across the soaring ceilings, it's about as far from a community centre pool as you can get. It feels like a step back to the Old Country.

Alas, not everyone gets as excited as I do by elegant swimming pools. As far as Instagram-worthy amenities go, it's the outdoor hot spring that's most popular. Nestled in a secluded spot beside a rock garden and small waterfall, it's an oasis for relaxation year round.

As is the case with most hot springs, it's really amazing in the midst of a snowfall, when the steam soars from the hot water and the powder collects on the surrounding area. If you can manage a weeknight visit, you might even get the place to yourself. 

Since the facilities are reserved for hotel guests only at this time due to the COVID pandemic, an overnight stay will have to be on the cards in order to enjoy the hot bath experience. 

There are also a variety of spa treatments on offer here. The spa itself is a whopping 13,000 square feet, which makes it one of the biggest in the province. Given its location in the heart of wine country, it's probably not a surprise that the spa offers Vinotherapy.

Yes, that's right, you can soak up the benefits of wine both in the glass and by having it rubbed into your skin at the spa. Paradise. 

More conventionally, visitors in the summer can also take advantage of the outdoor pool and lounge area, which really does feel like it could be located in Tuscany, when the sun is shining and you have a glass of Prosecco in your hand. 

At about an hour and half drive from Toronto, it's possible to indulge in some deep relaxation without spending much time in the car.  

Lead photo by

@trvlscapes. Written by Derek Flack. 


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