Sparkling Hill Spa – a quick and comfy getaway

Visitors to Predator Ridge looking for a quick getaway need look no further than the end of the road that heads up the hill behind the community.  Here you will find the world class but still unknown Sparkling Hill resort and spa, so different in style from Predator Ridge that you feel like you have left Canada and gone to Europe.

Whereas Predator Ridge is almost entirely about enjoying the outdoors, Sparkling Hill is all about indoor pleasures.  To be exact, Sparkling Hill is the most amazing spa I have ever visited, and I say that without getting a massage.  What I did get was a personal guided tour by president Hans Peter Meyer, who escorted me around the various departments of his huge complex and dazzled me in the process.

First off, there are so many different spas at Sparkling Hill that it resembles a department store. I have been to many resorts and most feature some sort of spa.  That’s because there is nothing more relaxing while on vacation than to have a soothing back rub, facial or full massage. This usually entails lying on a bed in a small room listening to quiet music while a masseuse loosens the knots out of your beck.  What happens at Sparkling Hill is much different. They have more types of spa treatments there than there are holes at Predator Ridge golf course.

Hans escorted me to the resort’s restaurant, hotel rooms, lobby, meeting rooms, café and bar.  Every hotel has such amenities.  It’s when we arrived at the spa department when my jaw dropped. It was bigger than a Sears department store, with more doors than a castle.  Behind each door was a spa, and each spa was different than the one before. I lost count, but I’m sure we toured a Scandinavian spa, or maybe there were several of those. I distinctly remember a Turkish spa, Finnish, and an Egyptian one, Thai, and I forget how many others.

You could undergo a Canadian Maple Sugar Body Scrub. There were herbal, rose, steam and other exotic treatments I can’t remember. Hot and cold saunas, Himalayan detox immersions, mud wraps and shock therapies.  You could get your nails polished, hair coiffed, and I think they might even straighten your teeth if you asked nicely enough.

The spas were all completely different. What passes for a brisk treatment in one culture, I guess, would be considered cruel and unusual punishment in another. Hey, I don’t mind a 98-pound woman tap dancing on my spine or inflicting a deep tissue exercise that pounds me into hamburger as long as I bounce out of there feeling great, but I draw the line at freezing to death inside a deep space chamber, which is what I narrowly avoided on my brief reconnaissance of the building.

“What the heck is that?” I asked, as we stood outside a room that looked like a set from a James Bond film. It was marked as Ice Lab.  It had an emergency escape hatch with a special lever outside the room that security guards could pull in case of an emergency.  There were strange looking computer screens that pulsed and flickered. It was eerie.

“This is a very special type of cold spa,” said Hans cheerfully. “It is excellent for treatment of many problems ranging from arthritis to fibromyalgia and others.  The athletes in many European sports are now using this. Do you want to try it out?”

I looked at the chambers with some suspicion, peering through the glass windows. It looked like a typical Finnish sauna with wood panelled walls, but with no steam.  In fact, it looked very cold.  There was nobody inside. “How cold is it in there?” I asked. I was wearing shorts.  It was summer.

“There are three rooms,” he said. “The first room is 37 below zero.  The second is 56 below and the third is 110 below. You stay in each room for only a short time.  We have an attendant who stands outside the window watching carefully.”

I think he said, 35, 56 and 111 degrees, whether Fahrenheit or Celsius, but we’ll never know because I didn’t take any notes and I left in a big hurry, looking over my shoulder to make sure no one was following.  This gives new meaning to the words “air conditioning,” I thought.

The other really remarkable peculiarity regarding Sparkling Hill is the crystals. There are, literally, crystals everywhere.  They hang from the ceiling, they are embedded into hotel room walls, they grace the lobby and stairways.  Evidently there are special healing qualities associated with crystals.  The Austrian founder of the hotel made a fortune from the manufacture (are crystals manufactured or polished?) of crystals.  Suffice to say, if crystals are your passion, Sparkling Hill is your kind of place.

Residents of Predator Ridge have special privileges to use the spa and fitness equipment at Sparkling Hill.  Everybody else should go at least once.  Hans told me some people go for a week or more of relaxation and treatment, and never emerge from the spa to goggle at the amazing views of the real world far below.  I sure hope that’s not the Ice Lab cold spa he was talking about.

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Categories: Day Trips

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