After a scrumptious breakfast on the sun drenched dining porch of the Hillcrest mansion (with a view of Lake Ontario from every window) we headed to our next spa – Elemental Embrace. Stacey gave me some background about the property explaining to me that they are very much into ayruveda and that we would be meeting with Muquit who owns the establishment with his mom. To my surprise we pull up to a very attractive property, enter the front door and are greeted by the handsome son who made us feel very welcome. After a tour of the property and some introductory conversation Muquit had arranged for each of us to experience one of their special treatments. I was down for the Ayurvedic treatment where two therapists do a synchronized oil massage. But Muquit had taken the time to explain to us the history of the treatment, the value of it, and in particular about the oil they use. It was the first time I understood that it isn’t just about the oil, it is about the herbs in the oil and the heating of the herbs which release the medicine in them which can penetrate your body. This was not your resort-style Ayurvedic treatment. The smell was different, the table used was an authentic wooden table from India, the steam cabinet in which I sat post treatment was from India, etc. This Ayurvedic treatment felt more authentic than anything ayruvedic I have experienced anywhere in the world. (And no, I haven’t been to India.)
It really made me realize how important it is to visit a spa to really understand its heartbeat. You can read about it in brochures or on the website, but there is nothing like experiencing a treatment, eating a meal and hearing about the vision of the property from the owner.
Lunch was unusual and unusually good. First, ginger and lime to get the digestive fluids flowing. Next dessert. Yes, dessert is served before the rest of the meal on the theory that it is better to get these food into the digestive process at the beginning of a meal. Next was a wonderful large shrimp cocktail, that was followed by a beautifully presented soup and finally a stuffed trout. The finale was one sweet date and some fennel and sesame seeds – all eaten together.
Adding to this rather surprising and extraordinary experience was the fact that Muquit was so interesting. A young guy, working with his mom in the family business, having been born in Kenya, he relates strongly with his Indian heritage and is a true believer in Ayurveda. He’s quite impressive – as is the property. Such a specific niche…but for people who are really into Ayurveda I can’t think of a better place.