a decadent diversion at Pearson International Airport

Shopping. Eating. Drinking. Catching up on your e-mails or a few Z’s. Those are the most popular activities travellers engage in during an airport layover.

If your layover is a long one, you’re likely to bite the bullet and take a room at one of the airport hotels in your location. They’re often worth the cash outlay and can provide you with a comfortable place to crash or clean-up in the case of a layover, or be ready for a super early morning departure.


Pearson International Airport in Toronto is Canada’s biggest and busiest airport, so it’s no wonder that you will find many hotel properties in close proximity to the airport and a couple right within Pearson’s two-terminal layout. (Terminal 2 has been demolished and closed for a long while, and you will find everything you need in Terminals 1 & 3.)

I love the Sheraton Gateway Hotel (which has now been integrated into the Marriott International family of hotels) in Terminal 3 and have stayed there on several occasions. But I finally got a chance to try the Vaccaro Angel Beauty International Spa located within the Sheraton’s lobby level, and I was glad I did!

Vacarro Spa at Pearson International Airport is a great place for a diversion

The Vaccaro Spa is a full-service facility with a global staff hailing from around the world making the experience of a visit even more exotic. On my visit, I had enough time for a body wrap and to get my hair done. How great is that? I arrived at my destination feeling gorgeous.


Yep. That’s me, wrapped in a mixture of pure cocoa and seaweed at the Vacarro Spa at Pearson International Airport.

No surprise … I chose the chocolate wrap. The Vaccaro Spa mixes cocoa with seaweed to create their own formula for this body treatment to detoxify the body and purify the skin. It takes about 90 minutes for the chocolate spa treatment. I then got showered up and had my hair done before I was off to my destination.

What a terrific way to kill time during the inevitable layovers we often face when travelling. What’s the best way you’ve killed time when waiting for a flight? Have you been to any chocolate spas or had a chocolate spa treatment?

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.

74 Responses

  1. Salman says:

    One day I want to try this. Had so many long layovers (10 hours). Never been to a spa and now it is on my to list because usually with long layovers I would like to see the city a little around the airport, that too if I could get out 🙂

  2. Celia says:

    It looks like someone had a great time! I am really delighted that every time you post, you can always find an angle writing about chocolates.
    Celia recently posted…Migrants and Employers Benefit from New Zealand ImmigrationMy Profile

  3. cary says:

    The best times I’ve ever had while waiting for a flight involve sleep and then, it’s never comfortable sleeping curled up in a chair at the gate! This spa would be PERFECT to pass the time and lucky me.
    cary recently posted…Job Opportunities in Canada For ImmigrationMy Profile

  4. Alice says:

    This is the best Layover ever. I love staying in hotels and having a spa therapy.
    This is heaven Doreen .

  5. I used to dread layovers! But now I do enjoy them for the most part. I even try to get a longer layover(more time to explore!) if I’m not in a hurry to get where I’m going. I’ve never done a Spa day during a layover though. Looks like I have something else to do while I’m waiting! Great post!
    Joe Ankenbauer recently posted…Destination Layover: TokyoMy Profile

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Joe, and welcome to my site!

      Yes, I found the spa experience to be a really great way to kill a few hours at the airport. There are an increasing number of airports that either have a small spa right in the airport, or at an airport hotel, as in the case of the one I visited. Cheers!
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…MUCHO Museo del Chocolate, Mexico CityMy Profile

  6. Kiani says:

    Thanks for this nice article. Keep it up. 🙂

  7. This is Very Nice Article. Thanks

  8. chocolate wrap! I want to try that one day! 🙂 I never have a spa experience before, because it isn’t my top priority. but I know I should treat myself at least once! 🙂

    During layover, if it is more than 12 hours long, I would actually take advantage to see the city if it’s nearby! I did that in Singapore when I had more than 12 hours layover. 🙂
    Stacey Valle recently posted…Visiting the world’s most heavily fortified border: The DMZMy Profile

  9. Now that is flying in style! I am going to Toronto in October but we will be doing it hostel style! No face mask for me *sad face*
    Gemma Two Scots Abroad recently posted…Photo of the Fortnight #10My Profile

  10. That sounds AMAZING!! The best times I’ve ever had while waiting for a flight involve sleep and then, it’s never comfortable sleeping curled up in a chair at the gate! This spa would be PERFECT to pass the time and lucky me, Pearson is the main airport we use to fly from home!
    Carolann – One Modern Couple recently posted…11 Wacky Inventions Found In JapanMy Profile

  11. What a great find! I think I may well cross my fingers for a delay in the future so I have an excuse to seek out this chocolatey pampering. Yummy!
    Gabby | The Globe Wanderers recently posted…Self Drive Adventures on Fraser Island (and 4 of the best bits)My Profile

  12. Facial with cocoa? It looks like someone had a great time! I am really delighted that every time you post, you can always find an angle writing about chocolates. You really know what you are doing, Doreen! Btw, I haven’t visited your blog in a long time and I am loving the header! Thanks for sharing and have a lovely evening. Xx
    Trisha Velarmino recently posted…Best Restaurants in Moscow, RussiaMy Profile

    • Thx so much for your comment, Trisha. Yes, I really do try to find a chocolate spin for everything I do. That’s what Chocolatour is all about. Thx for the kudos. I wish you would subscribe to the site. Lots more great stuff to come. Next up … Mexico!

  13. What a great way to spoil yourself while waiting for a flight!
    Rose M Griffith recently posted…Travel – Surviving Long FlightsMy Profile

  14. Jason B says:

    I’ve never had a layover that nice. Mines are typically stuck in the airport reading a book or listening to my MP3 player.
    Jason B recently posted…The Beginners Guide to Selling On eBayMy Profile

    • Hi Jason & thx for your comment. Sometimes you’ve just got to bite the bullet and go for it! I’ve learned in being an avid traveler, that we often have a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a special memory or moment, and by doing so, can really create some of life’s special moments.

  15. Doreen the spa sounds just wonderful! Having spent nearly 20 years as a road warrior I’ve certainly had my share of lengthy layovers, but you know one of the most memorable occasions was being snowed in at Chicago’s O’Hare with about 15 other managers just coming off a huge incentive show. We sat around on the floor of the terminal, ate junk food and shared stories and laughed till we cried. 🙂
    Marquita Herald recently posted…Why It’s So Easy to Skip Self-CareMy Profile

  16. It looks like a good way to kill time at an airport. I rarely travel, been years since I flew. When I got a layover, it was actually a joy. I like to investigate the construction of the airport and all the shops within. It is an adventure when you do not do it that much. Thanks for sharing your post with us.

  17. Justine says:

    How much did you spend in the spa? I never have enough time on a layover in Toronto but I might check it out when I do!

    • Hi Justine & thx for your comment. I’ve included the link in the post that takes you to the spa’s price list and menu of services. Yes, the chocolate wrap is pricey, but it’s the kind of thing that you should do at least once!

  18. Ahh are you kidding me! This is unreal, the amount of awesome chocolate spas you find here in Toronto and the GTA. I need to get involved. I have stayed at the sheraton before, maybe next time I do a pre-trip pamper too :
    Kimberly Erin recently posted…Top 5 Traveler Parties in Central AmericaMy Profile

  19. It was a lot easier to kill time between planes before the major security changes. I used to love layovers, especially if I was in a new city. I’d grab a cab and head to popular attraction or restaurant. Now, I wouldn’t think of doing anything like that. It’s wonderful when an airport is a “mini” city in itself and the hotel escape is a great idea! Although. I wonder if I’d still stress about my missing my connection.
    Pamela Chollet recently posted…What Everyone Ought To Know About Psychosocial DevelopmentMy Profile

  20. Oh Lord! This is the best Layover ever. I love staying in hotels and having a spa therapy. What more can you ask for? LOL!
    This is heaven Doreen . . .

  21. Elizabeth says:

    I love how you have worked a airport layover into chocolate! The Asian and Middle Eastern Airports have taken the layover to new heights. You can do everything there- spa, exercise, shower, nap, watch a movie. A lot of them also offer day tours to the nearby city. You can leave in the morning and return in the evening. Call me cynical but I think layover times are increasing so they can take more of your money at the airport 🙂
    Elizabeth recently posted…Ephesus, Pamukkale and BergamaMy Profile

    • Absolutely, Elizabeth! I think that longer layovers are becoming more and more of a reality for travel. Primarily air, but even rail travel, as a friend was just telling me yesterday how her train had been delayed and she missed her connecting flight! Thx so much for stopping by my blog. I hope you’ll subscribe and become a regular, as I can see that you have a lot of travel stories to share. And yes, we always try and find a chocolate take on just about everything! 🙂
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…a decadent diversion at Pearson International AirportMy Profile

  22. Mina Joshi says:

    I like the idea of staying in a hotel and having some Spa therapy rather retail therapy where you end up spending money on stuff you really didn’t need. This way, you are relaxed and rested for the next flight. The idea of a chocolate wrap sounds good!!

  23. Jeri says:

    I’ve never really had an extremely long layover, but a few times I sought out local wines in a couple of airports as a way to pass an extra hour.
    Jeri recently posted…#Editor Interview: The Break-Up RecipeMy Profile

  24. Doreen — I’ve noticed lately that a number of airports I’ve passed through now have spas which I think is a great idea. Unfortunately, my recent trips where I had to change planes were cliff hangers because I barely had time to make my connections. No spa for me, unfortunately!
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…You’re Never Too Old to Go for the GoldMy Profile

    • Hi Jeannette. Yes, there do indeed seem to be an increasing number of airport spas! I suspect it is because that so many flights are being cancelled that more and more people find themselves killing time waiting for the next one. Definitely takes the pain out of waiting!

  25. Chris says:

    What a luxurious way to while away some time!

    Our only experience at Pearson airport, involved us sleeping on some steel benches as the cleaners worked around us! lol

    I think your option is just a bit more glam… but possibly out of our budget!
    Chris recently posted…Galapagos: Interpreting San CristobalMy Profile

  26. Layovers are horrible. Especially if you are just waiting at the airport. Which makes me think they need a spa right in the airport that can wrap you in chocolate and seaweed and wisk all your stress away from your missed connection, screaming kids, boring business trip, etc. That would be sweet!
    Susan cooper recently posted…Overnight Crockpot Oatmeal: #RecipeMy Profile

  27. Ah…..it looks wonderful! The smell…must be heavenly! I want to try it!

    • Hi Natalie. Some chocolate wraps are pretty much pure, fresh cocoa and smell good enough to eat. Others are mixed with therapeutic ingredients such as seaweed or mud and don’t have much of a chocolate scent but might be infused with something more aromatic like peppermint. It’s always a new, but worthwhile experience no matter where you try it!
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…Ste. Anne’s Spa nurtures your body & spiritMy Profile

  28. Cary Tardi says:

    I had a nine hour layover in Mumbai back in February and a co-worker and I took a rickshaw to a beautiful beach called Juhu Beach. We also found an incredible art gallery and I bought an original painting from an Indian artist named Karuna Priya Pui. It was a once-in-a-lifetime purchase and the trip of a lifetime!

  29. That sounds like the best layover EVER. Although I think I’d have a hard time putting chocolate on my face, and not in it. 😉
    Meredith @ The Palette Muse recently posted…Master Suite MakeoverMy Profile

  30. I have often wanted to have an extended stay at my airport (YVR) including some pre-flight spa treatments. Good for you !
    Tara Cannon recently posted…sensational sandcastles on prince edward islandMy Profile

  31. Lenie says:

    Doreen, What you’ve described sounds wonderful, especially the pampering with the chocolate wrap. Course getting your hair done always makes you feel like a million bucks, right? I’ve been to Pearson airport a number of times to take other people there but have never used any of its services myself so was not aware of the hotels right there. Smart thinking.
    Lenie recently posted…Coffee Makers – A Buyer’s GuideMy Profile

  32. Phoenicia says:

    My children tend to keep me busy at the airport!

    In.the past I bought books or magazines to read. It is nice to relax before boarding.

    In.the future I hope to sit in the VIP lounge.
    Phoenicia recently posted…Who do you serve; yourself or others?My Profile

    • Hi Phoenicia. Yes, I, too, used to pick up a magazine or two while waiting for a flight. But I find them so heavy (especially the kind I like, which are the glossy travel magazines!) so finding other things to keep the time fun makes travel more exciting!

  33. I love the idea of spending time waiting for a flight with a spa chocolate wrap. I might actually choose a longer lay-over time just to do that.
    Donna Janke recently posted…Unique Garden SolutionsMy Profile

    • Hi Donna and thx for your comment. Yes. I think it’s a really cool way to pump up the enjoyment factor into travelling. Coming from Manitoba as I do, you know how many of our international flights originate from and fly into Toronto. So having something unique and special top do with our time between flights at Pearson International Airport can make the whole process of travel more fun and exciting!
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…a decadent diversion at Pearson International AirportMy Profile

  34. Erica says:

    I don’t fly very much so it has been years since I have had a layover and I’m not sure I’ve ever had a very long layover. However, if I could actually go to the spa between flights, I think I may look forward to flying more. I love the picture of you covered in chocolate.
    Erica recently posted…A 20 Minute Morning Routine For Weight LossMy Profile

  35. I’ve honestly never been to an airport that had a hotel attached. Although, I have chosen to stay at a nearby airport hotel and the few occasions where I chose an overnight layover just so I could get horizontal for another long flight! Maybe I need to make another one of those trips, just so I can experience that chocolate wrap! What a fantastic way to ease the stress of traveling these days!
    Jacqueline Gum recently posted…Revenge… Where’s The Justice?My Profile

  36. Karla says:

    Chocolate wrap. You find the most amazing chocolate things to do. I love this idea. I normally just eat and talk and walk around in airports but then again some lay overs are really long
    Next time I should consider exploring alternatives to waiting it out.
    Karla recently posted…Comment on The only Nami Island Resources you’ll ever need by Wandering CarolMy Profile

  37. Catarina says:

    Selecting a hotel with a spa – and chocolate wrap – if you have to wait for your connecting flight is a great idea, Doreen. Luckily I have usually been able to avoid that. Have to admit though that many times when I have had to wait a short time I have treated me to some chocolate.
    Catarina recently posted…How Wagner helped Francis Coppola succeedMy Profile

    • Hi Catarina and thanks for your comment. I find that travel is becoming increasingly unpredictable. Flights are randomly cancelled, you may find your seat has been resold or given away if you don’t show up early enough! So many factors coming into play make layovers a fact of life for today’s traveler. Finding interesting and pleasant diversions makes it that much easier to enjoy every step of the journey. 🙂

  38. Another good thing about staying in the airport hotels is the free parking they provide, rather than paying sometimes gouging parking lots. That, plus chocolate anything sounds like a good deal to me!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge