Ste. Anne’s Spa nurtures your body & spirit

Part of my job as a travel writer is to discover new places. And the best part of my job as a writer whose specialty is chocolate travel, is to discover new places that offer memorable chocolate experiences. All of those criteria were met during my visit to the Ste. Anne’s Spa in Grafton, Ontario, Canada.

This aerial view of the Ste. Anne's Spa shows the spaciousness of the setting.

This aerial view of the Ste. Anne’s Spa shows the spaciousness and character of the setting.

The Ste. Anne’s Spa is located 90-minutes by car, or just a short train ride from Toronto, but is truly a world away. I boarded the VIA Rail train at 11:30 am at Union Station, and arrived happily at Cobourg (the nearest) station at 12:41 pm. I was greeted by a smiling Ste. Anne’s staff member and within 15 minutes, arrived at the Ste. Anne’s Spa, just five minutes from the tiny community of Grafton.

What a thrill it was to be invited to experience the peace and serenity of this stunning location, but also to enjoy their seasonal chocolate treatments. But wait! It gets even better. Ste. Anne’s also has its own on-site bakery and chocolate shop. That put this chocolate-loving, pleasure-seeking traveller right on Cloud 9, and there was no way anyone would be removing me from this place of quiet ecstasy until 48 hours later, when I would take the return train to Toronto and re-enter the world of reality.

The grounds at the Ste. Anne's Spa are stunning.

The grounds at the Ste. Anne’s Spa are stunning.

I was assigned the Garden Room, which was very comfortable, with a fireplace, a nice soaker tub and separate shower. I’m sure the view of the gardens in summer would have made my stay even better (which is hard to imagine) but I found the view to be most pleasing, even in March. And it sure was cozy with that wood-burning fireplace.

tea-at-ste-annes

An extensive tea menu is available in the Ste. Anne’s Dining Room.

You have quite a variety of accommodations to choose from, including private cottages and rooms in the original wing of the Main Inn, and a newly constructed wing as well. If you’re flying solo, I’d recommend staying in the main building. If you’ve got a group together and want to create your own atmosphere, the cottages are a great option.

ste-annes-spa

If you have a small group of gal pals, I recommend getting one or two of the private cottage units to enjoy your stay at Ste. Anne’s.

In addition to the spa treatments, there is an outdoor hot tub, and the spectacular grounds to stroll and fill your mind with peace and serenity. So I highly recommend coming to stay for at least a couple of days if you can swing it. That way … you get to taste the incredible culinary offerings in which Ste. Anne’s takes great pride. The food is creative, healthy, and delicious, and there certainly are a number of chocolate offerings on the menu, and available for take-away purchase in the bakeshop and in the spa’s giftshop. Remember to bring your own wine, as Ste. Anne’s doesn’t serve alcoholic beverages, but invites guests to bring their libations into the dining room with them.

ste-annes-chocolate

Ste. Anne’s Spa truly is the perfect spa destination for chocolate lovers.

A highlight for me, was going to the gluten-free bakeshop (it’s in a separate building from the spa) and meeting the chief chocolatier at Ste. Anne’s. I had the pleasure of tasting a variety of handcrafted chocolate creations and was impressed. I think you’ll also be impressed with the beautiful baked goods available for sale. I know I was!

The chocolate spa treatments were equally delightful. I enjoyed the Hydrating (full body) Hot Chocolate Wrap. My skin never felt better! The following day, I was treated to a Warm Chocolate Swedish Massage. In each of the treatments, you get to choose your preferred aroma. I had peppermint in the wrap, and cinnamon/clove in the Swedish massage. I also enjoyed a Foot Therapy Treatment just prior to my departure that left me floating on a cloud.

chocolate-wrap-treatment

The hydrating warm chocolate wrap leaves your skin feeling baby soft.

Ste. Anne’s has its own line of chemical-free botanical skin cream products that you can enjoy while on-site, and purchase for at home or as gifts. In my short two-day stay at Ste. Anne’s, I barely had a chance to fully get into the restful and rejuvenating vibe. I now truly understand why so many Ste. Anne’s customers return regularly and stay for several days at a time. And why Ste. Anne’s continually rates as one of the top spas in North America, the top spa in Canada for nine consecutive years, and is in the Hall of Excellence according to Trip Advisor members.

Thanks to Ontario Travel for making this trip possible.

Have you been to the Ste. Anne’s Spa? If so, please share your experience with us. And if you have a favourite spa that you think compares to the excellence known at Ste. Anne’s Spa, please tell us about it! 

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

88 Responses

  1. Those chocolate spa treatments at Ste. Anne’s Spa in Grafton, Ontario, Canada, sound good enough to eat! Funny that I was just sucking on a wonderful dark milk chocolate from Omnom chocolate in Iceland as I was reading it.

  2. Your site is lovely. A chocolate spa? Interesting but I would try (nearly) anything once.
    Paula McInerney recently posted…Top 14 Places in SwitzerlandMy Profile

  3. Looks like a great getaway. Maybe it’s just my mind playing tricks, but I think those chairs in the second photo look like they could be made of chocolate.
    The GypsyNesters recently posted…Wicked Views & Wonderful Wildlife Along Alaska’s Seward HighwayMy Profile

  4. Ken Dowell
    Twitter:
    says:

    Just don’t tell me that the hot tub was filled with chocolate. Not sure about the spa treatments. The bakery sounds a better bet for me.
    Ken Dowell recently posted…Coding Our Future: The Industrial Revolution Ends HereMy Profile

  5. Warm chocolate wrap sounds amazing! Glad to hear it wasn’t a waste of chocolate rather than eating it! LOL!!

  6. How tempting to take a little lick here and there of those chocolate treatments! Never heard of this treatment and would love to try it. The place looks beautiful, too.
    Jacqueline Gum recently posted…Lies… Where’s The Justice?My Profile

  7. Donna Janke
    Twitter:
    says:

    Ste. Anne’s Spa sounds great. The chocolate Swedish massage appeals to me.
    Donna Janke recently posted…Nine Reasons to Take a Garden TourMy Profile

  8. Marc Smith
    Twitter:
    says:

    Sounds pretty sweet!

  9. Linda Paul
    Twitter:
    says:

    Oh my! Lovely photos. Ste. Anne’s Spa looks like a special place indeed. I was uwing and awing till I got to the part about the chocolate wrap. Somehow that seems like a waste of good chocolate to this ol’ gal who’d much rather slurp it than slather it. But that’s just me. It is cool to see young people getting into artisinal creations. That ensures the continuation of the craft. Nice post, Doreen.
    Linda Paul recently posted…Hit the ground running, and keep on goingMy Profile

  10. Linda Paul
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    says:

    PS…posting my comment was easy peasy this time! 😉
    Linda Paul recently posted…Hit the ground running, and keep on goingMy Profile

  11. Rosalind
    Twitter:
    says:

    I’m liking Ken’s idea a chocolate hot tub with marshmallows on the side, I don\’t think we have anything like this in the UK, but I am going to have to chekc now.
    Rosalind recently posted…Review: The Jewel GardenMy Profile

    • Hi Rosalind: I didn’t check into chocolate spas when I was in the UK back in 2011 researching volume I of Chocolatour. But I’m liking the research for volume II even better, as I’m focusing on all sorts of chocolate adventures and experiences. Stay tuned for much more!

  12. It sounds as though I need to make a return trip to Ste. Anne’s Spa – the chocolate treatments, bakery and store are all new since my last visit and sound delicious!
    Michele Peterson recently posted…Day trip to untouched Mexico: Roca Blanca beach, OaxacaMy Profile

    • Hi Michele and thanks for your comment. Lucky you, in that you live close enough to visit Ste. Anne’s on a regular basis. They have oodles of customers from the GTA who take the train out for a fun or relaxing getaway. It can be whatever you want from it!

  13. Chocolate inside and out – A visit to the Ste. Anne’s Spa sounds like heaven!
    Anita recently posted…Pillars of the Earth: La Sagrada FamiliaMy Profile

  14. Erica says:

    I was already thinking how wonderful Ste. Anne’s Spa seemed, and then you mentioned a gluten free bakery. I’m totally sold. I wish it was close to me so I could just run away there for the weekend.
    Erica recently posted…5 Ways Dogs Help You Lose WeightMy Profile

  15. Kathy Andrew
    Twitter:
    says:

    WOW – sounds amazing Doreen. And I’ve never heard of a chocolate wrap. Sounds terribly decadent but I bet it felt really good too.
    Kathy Andrew recently posted…#Author in Focus: Virginia Woolf – A Life of Her OwnMy Profile

  16. The ability to take the train to St. Anne’s was the clincher for me. No 401 stress and a beautiful environment to sink into when you arrive.

  17. Lenie
    Twitter:
    says:

    Doreen, I would love to go to St. Anne’s Spa and have the chocolate wrap. What an experience. Here I am, living in Ontario and I’ve never heard of it. Must tell my daughter-in-law about this – she’s a chocoholic – maybe she’ll invite me to go with her to the Spa – I can dream, right?
    Lenie recently posted…Everyday Herbs: Recipes and RemediesMy Profile

    • RIGHT ON, Lenie! Ste. Anne’s Spa has many mother and daughter groups who come to visit. There’s no better place to spend time together and just chill out. Refer your DIL to this post, and make sure she reads the comments! 🙂

  18. Megan
    Twitter:
    says:

    Wow, I’m a huge fan of chocolate but haven’t experienced any spa treatments with it yet. It looks delicious and relaxing.

  19. Suzanne Fluhr
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hmm. I think I might choose the chocolate soap over the chocolate body wrap—I’m just not into spa treatments—certainly nothing against chocolate. In fact, if it were ordained that I HAD to have a spa treatment, I’d insist on the chocolate wrap. Do they leave the sugar out?
    Suzanne Fluhr recently posted…Sisterhood of the World (Travel) BloggersMy Profile

    • Hi Suzanne, and welcome back to the site. It’s been quite awhile since your last visit. I hope you like the changes. 🙂

      The formula for the chocolate wrap is different at every spa, but it is always a pure and healthy formula that might include ingredients such as mud, seaweed, and the wonderful cocoa butter. It is always aromatic and leaves your skin feeling like you’ve been reborn.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…Ste. Anne’s Spa nurtures your body & spiritMy Profile

  20. Susan cooper
    Twitter:
    says:

    Oh my gosh that place looks heavenly. I don’t know what would be best, the gorgeous accommodations, getting covered in chocolate for a spa treatment or eating the chocolate. But I’m definitely jealous. 🙂
    Susan cooper recently posted…Roasted Onion Flowers: #RecipeMy Profile

  21. Rachel Heller
    Twitter:
    says:

    The idea of a massage involving chocolate just sounds wonderful! I can’t get to Ste Anne’s anytime soon, but I’ll definitely look to see if any spas near here offer it. I’d have to eat some at the same time, to avoid licking it off my body!
    Rachel Heller recently posted…Hiroshima: An Emotional VisitMy Profile

  22. What a lovely break! The chocolate wrap sounds absolutely wonderful… being a fan of chocolate and spa treatments in equal measure, this is right up my street! 🙂

    Gabby
    Gabby recently posted…Doorstep Adventures: How Turville Stole my HeartMy Profile

  23. Hot chocolate wrap? I would feel like a Smores! Sounds like a luxurious destination.
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  24. Tara Cannon
    Twitter:
    says:

    You had my mouth watering for chocolate. It looks like a simply lovely place that I must visit someday.
    Tara Cannon recently posted…8 activities for kids – moncton, new brunswickMy Profile

  25. Tim says:

    I came across a chocolate spa in Bali once and thought it was a great idea. It was not as luxurious as St Annes but with chocolate everything on the menu it had my interest from the get go. You do have a very cool job.
    Tim recently posted…Island LifeMy Profile

  26. I’ve never heard of a chocolate spa! I can’t imagine what it would feel like, sounds sticky. There’s a tanning salon in Santa Monica that gives chocolate spray tans! I thought that was pretty novel.
    Pamela Chollet recently posted…Surprising Facts About Your Newborn BabyMy Profile

    • Hi Pamela: No, the chocolate wrap is not sticky at all. They’re usually kind of pasty when first applied, and then you get wrapped and the substance gets kind of crusty and takes some work to wash off!

      I’ve never heard of a chocolate spray tan! Will have to look into that! Thx for sharing.

  27. I am soooo jealous! This spa looks absolutely marvelous and I love the European feel to Ste. Anne’s. I can just imagine myself parked in one of those lawn chairs with a good book!
    Marquita Herald recently posted…What If It’s Time to Rethink Your Dream?My Profile

  28. How cute are those cottages?!?! I’ve got to get some friends together and head up there!

    • Hi Valerie: Yes, the Ste. Anne’s Spa really does have a variety of options to help us create just the right ambiance for our stay. I may not want to stay in one of the cottages in the dead of winter, as there’s a little trot to the main building where you eat and get the spa treatments, but it would definitely depend on who I was with and what our expectations for privacy where. I hope you get a chance to check it out.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…Ste. Anne’s Spa nurtures your body & spiritMy Profile

  29. Are you serious? I am FROM Toronto and had no idea this place existed! It sounds perfect for me and the private cottage just looks like a dream… guess where I am asking to go for my birthday?

  30. Doreen — glad you had such a good time. Can you explain why chocolate is used in massages and wraps? Is there an ingredient in chocolate that provides a specific benefit? Prior to your writing about it I had never heard of chocolate being used in that way.
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…Career Advice for a Budding PR ProfessionalMy Profile

  31. This article is good enough to eat. I sighed when I saw it was a spa critique. I really want a spa day! I miss the extremely cheap massages of South East Asia!
    Gemma Two Scots Abroad recently posted…The Great Canadian Lake OffMy Profile

  32. Oh man!! I don’t usually have a strong urge to drop everything and head home… but for this resort and spa with that bakeshop I’m thinking a trip home may be in order! Thanks for sharing this!
    Carolann – One Modern Couple recently posted…8 Things I Didn’t Do In ThailandMy Profile

  33. I am a total non spa person, BUT can I enjoy it vicariously through you? You obviously had such a delightful time, that I kicked back, read with pleasure and pretended to be with you!
    Rose M Griffith recently posted…Deck Building 101My Profile

  34. I’m so jealous!! This looks like the perfect getaway. So happy you were able to get there!

    Thanks for reading,
    Sarah
    Sarah Butland recently posted…WHAT A TANGLED WEB WE WEAVEMy Profile

  35. I am glad you enjoyed it there. What a neat looking spa,I am surprised at all the different items that people use as a skin treatment now.
    thank you for sharing this with all of us.
    William Rusho recently posted…Tribute to a Wrestling LegendMy Profile

  36. That looks like a wonderful spot to spend a weekend away.
    Bethaney – Flashpacker Family recently posted…Getting to Know Dutch Cuisine on an Amsterdam Food TourMy Profile

  37. Catarina says:

    Ste. Anne’s sounds like a wonderful place to get back into shape and relax completely. Have seen chocolate wraps advertised on quite a few spas. Have to admit though, that I have never asked what the benefits of such wraps are to your body and mind. Who better to ask than you? Why is chocolate a better choice than, say, mud?
    Catarina recently posted…Vanity boosting prosperity and biodiversity?My Profile

  38. Tracie Howe
    Twitter:
    says:

    Doreen, this place sounds heavenly! Just based on your description and photos, serene seems to describe it very well. Sounds relaxing and rejuvenating… if you stay long enough.
    Tracie Howe recently posted…Vasque Pow Pow boots reviewMy Profile

  39. Karla
    Twitter:
    says:

    I love chocolate. Absolutely love it. Then there’s this chcolate spa? I can imagine being in willy wonka and trying to stop myself from licking it off my hands. Id love to try it!
    Karla recently posted…Comment on 12 Places you must see in Siquijor by Doreen PendgracsMy Profile

    • Hi Karla and thanks for your comment–and enthusiasm for chocolate! I hope you will subscribe to this blog, as we have many delectable posts here.

      Yes, it does get quite tempting to put the chocolate into the body, as well as onto it while you’re immersed in it. So fortunately, many chocolate spas offer you a piece (or two) of chocolate to eat while you’re in the wrap, or after.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…Ste. Anne’s Spa nurtures your body & spiritMy Profile

  40. Mike - HoneyTrek
    Twitter:
    says:

    Ok….you had me at Chocolate….this place look delicious in all senses of the word. How can you control yourself in such a venue. I mean did you take a little sip of the chocolate bath, Willie Wonka style?
    Mike – HoneyTrek recently posted…Avenue of the Volcanoes, EcuadorMy Profile

    • Hi Mike and welcome to my blog! We weren’t talking about a chocolate bath here, so there was no chance to take a sip. In the chocolate wrap, you are covered in a rather dry mixture and then wrapped in plastic. In the Swedish massage, you are rubbed with a lovely oil that is smoothed into the skin. I have heard, however, that the Hershey resort in PA does have chocolate baths and I am hoping to get there soon to check it out!
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…Ste. Anne’s Spa nurtures your body & spiritMy Profile

  41. Sandy
    Twitter:
    says:

    Oh my goodness! A chocolate spa! How perfect for you, Doreen! Great post. I have heard so many wonderful things about Ste. Anne’s Spa. It sounds magical…and looks magical too. Love the aerial photo! Thanks for sharing this great info!

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