Monday, October 24, 2011

Spirit Urban Spa, Halifax: My Big Day Downtown Part I

The Big Day Downtown promotion is sponsored by the Downtown Halifax Business Commission as a creative way to draw visitors to the downtown area of Halifax and encourage them to try something new. People are selected to spend $100 from the DHBC to try something new downtown. Those who are chosen for a Big Day Downtown then document their experiences - you can read about them here. Last week I was thrilled to be chosen by the DHBC for my very own Big Day Downtown. It has been a wonderful experience participating in the promotion of Halifax's unique downtown area.

For my Big Day Downtown I went for two splurges: a massage at Spirit Urban Spa and dinner at Chives Canadian Bistro. Both establishments are reputed to be among the best of the best in this little city, and they did not disappoint.

Spirit Urban Spa is located on Salter and Hollis Street in Halifax, and was opened in 2002. It consistently wins all of the Best Spa awards in the local press, and offers a smorgasbord of spa services: manis, pedis, facials, body wraps, polishes and scrubs, massages, as well a full hair salon. Yes, they even have services for men. (Santa might be bringing Mike a pedicure. He needs it.)

This was my first 'real' massage. Mike and I had went to a hammam in Marrakech, Morocco, but I don't think our masseuse was an RMT (Registered Massage Therapist) and there wasn't a lot of deep tissue anything going on.

Spirit Spa is impeccably designed: the perfect balance between cool and comfortable. I visited on a Saturday morning and the spa was quite busy. Always a good sign! When I arrived I was attended by a cheerful receptionist who offered me a hot beverage (herbal tea, coffee, lattes, etc.) I enjoyed a camomile orange tea in the lounge, which was fully stocked with beauty magazines and calming music, until my massage therapist Anne came to greet me.

My massage was fantastic. I opted for the shortest and cheapest massage, so I could spend the rest of my Big Day Downtown dollars over at Chives, and my only complaint is that those thirty minutes flew by. Anne was very easy to get along with, and like all good RMTs she knew her stuff. She was an excellent communicator, and always considerate of my comfort and needs. I have a theory that every paper I write at school creates a new knot in my back, but I think with a few more visits Anne will definitely be able to undo all that damage.

After my massage I took advantage of the steam showers at Spirit Spa. The steam showers had glass doors, so that the rest of the locker room could see your naked tush when you were showering. This was a little strange, but any shred of modesty I used to have about these things was scrubbed off by a nice lady in that Moroccan hammam last winter, so it wasn't a big deal.

Spirit Spa also has access to a swimming pool and hot tub, and has lovely nail and hair salons. Their services are priced fairly for this calibre of spa, but their hair salon prices are especially reasonable, starting at $40 for women and $30 for men. They also sell a wide range of beauty and hair products from many well known brands, such as Moroccan Oil and B. Kamins. You can browse their online shop here, where you can also purchase gift certificates. They make great stocking stuffers, I hear. (Yes Mike, that's a hint.)

I definitely look forward to returning to Spirit Spa in the future. The wonderful staff made my stay a pleasurable one from start to finish, and the atmosphere was just what it should be: relaxing, luxurious and welcoming. Thank you, Spirit Spa & Downtown Halifax!

My Big Day Downtown got off to a perfect start at Spirit Urban Spa. For part two of my Big Day Downtown at Chives Canadian Bistro, stay tuned.

spirit urban spa big day downtown halifax nova scotia

spirit urban spa big day downtown halifax nova scotia

spirit urban spa big day downtown halifax nova scotia

spirit urban spa big day downtown halifax nova scotia

In the interest of full disclosure: The opinions expressed in this blog post are my own. I was not compensated for this blog post. Spa services were paid for by DHBC as part of the Big Day Downtown contest promotion. Consider yourself fully disclosed.


  1. this is a really great idea, and being a design junky, i love the info brochures. finding a great spa is hard to come by, but it's even harder to find a great massage therapist!

  2. The space at Spirit Urban Spa seems incredible and serene, it makes me want to go there. Since I'm in the spa industry myself I'm always looking for the best spas in any city. Although, I'm bias to what I think are the best spas in the world, New York city. Here is where I get some of the best facials and skin care treatments.


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