So you’ve come to Ottawa, Canada’s Capital, to experience the delicious Canadian maple season. You’ve visited a traditional sugar shack to enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh ride and you’ve tasted maple sap in all its delectable forms; syrup, granulated sugar, butter, hard candy and maple taffy on snow. Now, you might be wondering how to kick your maple season experience up a notch? Look no further than Holtz Spa.
Located in downtown Ottawa, at the corner of Rideau Street and Sussex Drive, “Holtz” as it’s known locally, has been operating for 30 years offering a wide selection of high-end spa treatments from massages, to body scrubs and wraps, to various facials and much more.
Holtz was the first larger spa of its kind to open in Ottawa and today, it is also home to luxurious “Maple Luscious” spa treatments including a maple manicure, pedicure, massage as well as a maple sugar body scrub and wrap. If you like the smell of maple or you’re looking for something uniquely Canadian, one of these treatments is for you!
Holtz partnered with Pakenham, Ontario-based Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugar Bush about five years ago, who makes maple-based spa products from moisturizing body lotion, to body sugar scrub, body shea butter, lip balm and even maple baths salts. These products are all part of the local sugar bush’s “Maple Luscious” line.
Christine O’Grady, Business Development Manager at Holtz, says the spa products are “very good quality” and are well-liked by spa-goers because of their wonderful smell. “What we love about the Maple Luscious products is of course, the aroma of maple, which everybody loves,” O’Grady said in an interview with Ottawa Tourism.
She noted the maple spa treatments as well as the Fulton’s products, which are sold at Holtz and at Fulton’s (located at about a 45-minute drive west of downtown Ottawa), appeal to clients as they are made from something that is indigenous to Canada.
“We don’t have a lot of indigenous spa treatments in Canada,” O’Grady said. “Like in the Orient for example, they have such a long history of healing spa treatments. Canada really doesn’t have a whole lot, but we do have a lot of maple.” She noted maple is also a healthy product. “Feeding the skin with the properties of maple, which are many, was also very attractive to us,” she said.
Maple syrup is made from natural maple tree sap and as a natural sweetener, it offers more than 50 antioxidants, which are known to help prevent and delay the progression of many diseases. According to PureCanadaMaple.com, maple syrup also features high levels of zinc and manganese, which are good for the heart and help to boost the immune system.
O’Grady said the partnership with Fulton’s goes well with Holtz’s “farm to spa” direction, in which the spa seeks to utilise local ingredients and products in its treatments. “It’s a concept where we’re using local products, local food products and herbs or oils that are from the surrounding area,” she said.
According to O’Grady, Holtz’s maple treatments are “especially attractive” to Ottawa visitors who are looking for a typical Canadian experience. She noted that often times, these clients opt to take a few Fulton’s spa products home as souvenirs. But though popular with visitors year-round, O’Grady added Holtz sees more locals requesting maple treatments during the springtime maple season. “Curiosity, I would say, is one of the big factors,” she said.
One of Holtz’s more luxurious maple treatments is the Maple Luscious Body Scrub and Wrap, in which the client is gently exfoliated with Fulton’s maple sugar scrub, then covered in a maple shea butter wrap and left to relax in the spa’s exclusive cocooning bed.
“This bed comes from Austria and it’s actually been used for many years in physical therapy,” O’Grady said, adding the bed makes the client feel weightless and as it is heated, is beneficial for aches, pains and conditions such as arthritis. The heat also allows any products used to be fully absorbed by the body, O’Grady noted. “When you are unwrapped from the cocoon, you don’t have an excess of lotion on you. So it’s very very deep moisture,” she said.
Shirley Fulton Deugo, owner of Fulton’s, said in an interview with Ottawa Tourism that the spa products officially hit the shelf in 2011 and have been steadily gaining steam amongst consumers.
“People are getting to know about it,” she said. “But it’s also the desire for local.” Fulton Deugo noted that there are more and more clients wanting to know where products are made and what’s in them.
Fulton Deugo said Fulton’s relationship with Holtz is “win-win,” as it helps the sugar bush get its spa products out to a wider audience. “It exposes us to a whole new market and thereby, some of those people become our customers.”
She said that after visiting Holtz, spa-goers often visit Fulton’s in Pakenham or purchase its spa products online. “[The relationship] gives us profile,” she said. “Holtz is such a highly renowned spa, so it’s wonderful to have our products there.”
Fulton Deugo noted that Holtz is the only spa in Ottawa to offer treatments based on the Fulton’s maple products. She added however, that rural spas in the townships of Perth and Arnprior, which are closer to Fulton’s, have started carrying the products. “There are not a lot of spas carrying it, so it’s kind of exclusive for Holtz,” she said.
Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugar Bush has operated since 1840 and Fulton Deugo is the fourth generation of her family to run the establishment. Her son, who is the family’s fifth generation, now handles all of the maple syrup production. This year Fulton’s maple season runs from Feb. 14 to April 12, 2015.
And if you’re not sure about the amount of maple you might want, why not start with Holtz’s Maple Luscious Manicure or Pedicure?
Relax in the spa’s tranquil atmosphere and be pampered, as you enjoy Fulton’s Maple Luscious body lotion and a hot stone massage before your polish is applied. The Maple Luscious body lotion will leave your hands feeling soft and its delicious smell is sure to evoke fond memories of Canada for visitors and locals alike.
And while your nail polish sets, watch what’s happening on Rideau Street and Sussex Drive, which are below. Holtz’s Maple Luscious treatments are unlike any other in the city.
Holtz recommends that you make an appointment if you’re thinking about trying one of their maple treatments. However, the spa can accommodate walk-in guests as long as they have staff available to complete your desired service.
“We do have a lot of hotel guests that are staying in the city that like to try these treatments,” O’Grady said.