As a wonderful treat I got to take the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV for a scenic drive. We would take the sea to sky highway just past Whistler, BC. Our destination: the highly acclaimed Scandinave Spa. A retreat in the middle of wooded BC, a two hour drive worth the commute. The distance has you appreciating the exclusivity of the spa: a secluded spot where you can disconnect and truly relax, as their resort promotes.
But first the drive. Admittedly I don’t engage in as safe driving habits as I should, as I would soon learn behind the wheel of the Outlander PHEV. This clever vehicle teaches you a lesson in driver’s education. A series of beeps sound if you go out of your lane (a probability along the windy roads of the sea to sky), or if you simply forget to switch on your turn signal as you move about from left to right. When the door is left open or ajar the Outlander PHEV sounds, and again if you walk away without securing your vehicle first. Then there are the normal beeps: when seat belts aren’t buckled and when a car passes you closer than you’d like. These are all regular features in a modern car, but you usually don’t get them all in one vehicle, all together. This taught me how poorly I actually drive, so without any intention of doing so, the Outlander PHEV SUV actually improved my driving the week I had it.
As for the ride to the spa, it was an enjoyable one. You drove up roads that swirled like soft serve, you got to put your foot down on the pedal and climb up the mountain, cruising along one of BC’s most scenic drives. And best of all, all in the world’s best selling plug-in hybrid. The Outlander PHEV’s is powered by a 2.0-litre gas engine, two electric motors and a generator. Meaning, the Outlander PHEV can run on an electric motor, and from a full charge it delivers 35 kilometres of electric-only driving. So you are saving money on your every day commute. Using a 220-volt outlet, the Outlander PHEV takes 2.5 hours to fully recharge and using regular 120volt outlet around 8hours.
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV got us to our destination safe. A little under 2 hours, was much more enjoyable spent sitting on heated (for me) and cooling (for my partner) cushy seats, but sadly no satellite radio to toggle to between channel’s as we waited impatiently in traffic jams caused by fender benders, a three vehicle pile up, and street cleaning.
Fast forward and we got to our destination just in time for our massage appointment. Originally we were aiming to arrive earlier, to be able to enjoy the amenities before our appointment, which would have helped us to relax a bit more. Sadly the confusion with payment method, the lack of instruction on the processes, and no directions to the locker room would have us tense and rushing. Scurrying to change into our robes, travel to the massage pavilion the next building over, and complete a waiver.
During check in at the main counter we were given a stack of towels and a key. Having been to a spa before I knew what they were used for and was able to read between unspoken lines. However, for my partner who joined me this afternoon, this was a whole new experience. I had to be his guide. You are given a beaded bracelet with a key attached, this unlocks the padlock you are given to secure your belonging in one of the lockers. The locker room is dark, although given the number of staff members I saw walking in and out, helping to organize the space, I’d like the believe it’s cleaned regularly. I rather not closely inspect such places should I see something I can’t un-see.
After dawning one of their terry cloth robes, we travelled to the neighbouring building for our massages. From here we walked across a small bridge to their massage complex. Two floors, each with a waiting room where you fill out a medical history form, then leave it on a counter for the massage therapists to discover and call out your name.
You are able to visit Scandinave, and just enjoy their spa facilities, but honestly given the distance to travel, you might as well get the full experience by including a massage in your treatment. Your treatment is customized between yourself and you massage therapist, the price is based on time allotted.
Given that our $210 massage appointments includes the use of the spa amenities and robes, and that if you only dropped in to use the facilities, robe rentals are $13, I expected a more plushier robe. Something softer against your skin, I would have been happy with my robe being of the same material as my two towels. One of which I left in the locker to use after I cleaned up. And one I took with me as a wrap and seat cover for the saunas.
When time you are greeted by your RMT. You are led into a room where you are told to unclothe as much as want and are comfortable with, then lay on their massage table face down, under a sheet and blanket. The massage we got was 60 minutes long. We both selected a full body massage with medium pressure. There were parts of the treatment that hurt, but I knew it was worth enduring so held firm as the RMT kneaded my shoulder blades, and hard poked points on my gluteus. But it was the arms and specifically my wrists that I enjoyed the most. This action and this experience were helpful in getting some much needed rest for my wrists and fingers. Necessary given how often I am on my phone, holding it and texting with it, using the same joints and muscles to exhaustion from the repeated motion.
Sadly I was in so much comfortable bliss that I fell asleep 3/4 way through, when I was told to flip onto my back. I was woken when my session wrapped up, feeling rested over all, but sad to have not enjoyed the sensation in its entirety.
After your appointment you are able to roam the complex at your leisure. As the spa has a strict no technology policy, I won’t have many photos of the resort itself. This restriction makes sense. The property is beautiful and I can see many people visiting just for the photo op: taking up space, trying to get the perfect shot out of the 55 taken at each of their 5 pools; thus distracting everyone on site. Similarly, for similar reasons, there is a strict no talking policy. If you have to do it, it should be in whispered tones. This makes visiting with a friend or a group of friends difficult. Honestly if given the opportunity again, I will most definitely be coming alone. This is meant as a retreat to unwind, and there is no better way to do that than by yourself. That way, there is no need to entertain another person or accommodate their wants. You visit the saunas or pools that you want, in the order that you want. More on that later.
I would also strongly suggesting coming early to enjoy the facilities before your appointment to get the most benefits. The spa is built on the practice of heating and cooling your body temperature to intense ends of either spectrum rapidly. This is hydrotherapy, it is an age-old Finnish tradition that dates back thousands of years. It is known as an “effective way of releasing tensions in both the mind and the body” (as taken from their website). “The cycle of hot-cold-relax is proven to both energize and rest the body, improving blood circulation and activating the lymphatic system to help detoxification.”
All the above is only if done so properly, which I was too impatient and listless of a person to do so. You start with 10-15 minutes of heat either in one their dry saunas with wood, wet sauna with eucalyptus oils, or hot tubs. After, you jolt yourself with a dunk or shower in some very cold water. So chilled that you can only stay within for 5-10seconds. Then you allow your body to rest for 15-25 minutes. Doing so in a variety of different settings. There were wooden chairs by a fire pit, stone benches by the pools, cloth hammocks, firm mattress, and reclinable patio chairs. You were able to rest outdoors on this hot summer’s day or seek shade in one of their three solariums, which was outfitted with a fireplace.
The outdoor spa is open through the year with solutions to beat the heat in summer, and ways to stay warm in winter. In fact, having seen photos, I think I would have enjoyed a visit in winter more, when the snow is out and the landscape white with a fine power. Although I think it is easier to go from a hot summer’s day into a heated pool, than from a brisk winter’s chill into an icy bath. So there is value in visiting during either seasons for a different experience.
There is little interaction with the staff, yet there were boxes for comment cards and sealed envelopes for gratuity in every room. By the door in the washrooms and on the front desk counter. You couldn’t miss the hint. Specifically in the massage rooms where at the end of your session, your receipt and a cup of water waited for you by a propped up envelope, reading “thank you for your gratuity” in bold typeface. I don’t mind the practice, but I don’t like how strongly they kept suggesting it.
And lastly, here are some tips for first timers: a list of things I wish I knew to do differently.
First, bring a bag to carry your stuff around in. You are constantly moving from station to station, meaning your belongings do to. Each stop has hooks and benches to store, but if you are carrying your towel, robe, slippers, and book or other quite entertainment; that is a lot to tote around. Instead stuff it all in a waterproof reusable bag and save yourself the trouble.
second, plan your relaxation route. There is a map you can reference, but the path in which to go hot, cold, and cool down is in any order, by your discretion. It is easier to go from top to bottom then bottom to top. Meaning the hot tub at the very top, followed by a cooling soak in the chilling pool. Next the dry sauna on the middle level, and it’s cold plunging pool adjacent. Then the wet sauna or another dry sauna, followed by a dunk in their cold water fountain. Then lastly the hot tub at the bottom most level followed by a spill from their cold shower (sadly this one was out of order during our visit). If you are trying to avoid the hot water you can simply grab a seat under the hot sun, or boil a little more by grabbing a chair by one of their roaring fire pits.
Third, I cannot repeat enough, how much strongly I recommend coming earlier if you have a massage appointment. Arrive an hour or two before to allow yourself sometime to relax and unwind from the 1.5 hour windy drive up. Sandwich your massage appointment with a couple of heating and cooling circuits before and after. This way if you are antsy like me, all the time waiting and sitting for each circuit doesn’t seem too daunting. Plus you are absolutely getting your money’s worth this way.
And lastly go alone. The point of this spa is to relax, and there is no better way than being alone with your self and your own thoughts. This way you can go at your own pace, and need not have to feel like you have to stick with your guest or cater to their preferences. After all doing so does become extra troublesome considering you can’t communicate with them verbally.
In conclusion, this was a a great experience that I have been meaning to check off my bucket list. A unique way to take in the scenery and escape the city. A mini road trip made possible thanks to Mitsubishi Canada and the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.
8010 Mons Road, Whistler BC, VON 1B8