Warm up this winter with a schvitz and a soak at these Toronto spas where you can get in without pre-booking.
While most spas and wellness spaces require reservations weeks or months in advance, Toronto is home to amazing oases where you can find a last-minute soak or steam with no pre-booking required.
So whether you overdid it working out or want to warm up after sightseeing, here are six spectacular spas for spur-of-the-moment R&R and impromptu me-time.
For A Deluxe Detox: Stillwater Spa
Twenty years in the business, the Stillwater remains one of Toronto’s most sought-after sanctuaries for luxe pampering in the upscale Yorkville neighbourhood. Products used in the spa range from oils via British wellness company Aromatherapy Associates to skincare from the dermatologist-beloved SkinCeuticals line.
Access to the aromatic steam room, sauna and lounge area (the latter where Jasmine tea, madeleines and mandarin-flavoured pâte de fruits are served) are included with every booking.
Pro Booking Tip: Email firstname.lastname@example.org when they open at 10 a.m. to see if you can snag a last-minute 60-minute treatment slot. The hour-long Marine Detox and Smooth Wrap Ritual is a solid choice with rose-infused body scrub and massage with organic essential oils.
For A Therapeutic Dip: Body Blitz
Named one of the best places in Canada to decompress by Elle magazine, Body Blitz’s therapeutic waters are best experienced in sequence.
First, loosen up tense muscles in the spa’s Dead Sea salt pool, then hit the eucalyptus steam room, followed by a bracing dip in the cold plunge pool, which boosts blood circulation. The full water circuit spans around 40 minutes and includes stops in the aforementioned pools, plus a hot Epsom salt pool and infrared sauna.
Pro Booking Tip: Even if you don’t have a treatment booked, you can walk in for the water circuit. Those seeking quiet time should aim for 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. on weekdays, as the spa gets busy after workdays and on weekends.
For A Group Rejuvenation: Othership Bathhouse
Looking for a more social spa experience? Try the Vogue-, Forbes- and Goop-recommended Othership, which hosts group wellness sessions where up to 50 spa-goers navigate a sauna and ice bath circuit together.
Aufguss-trained sauna masters guide you and fellow detox lovers through breathwork, music, sound- and water baths in themed, ritualized sessions. Othership’s bustling Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening social nights can be accessed by walk-in (if there isn’t a waiting list).
These hip social nights rival any nightclub or lounge experience with chill, upbeat playlists booming through speakers. In place of beer, liquor and a sweaty dancefloor, you’ll find tea, water, a hot aromatherapy sauna and frigid ice baths.
Pro Booking Tip: Download the Othership app to be notified of the spa’s weekly programs. Another reason to add the app? It hosts breathing and body exercises to help you bring the spa experience home.
For An Enlightened Steam: Hammam Spa By Céla
This temple of relaxation creates a luxurious cocoon with marble, Middle Eastern tile and bamboo surfaces, all meticulously appointed. The effect is a luxe zen zone, one that will whisk you away from the bustle of the spa’s Bayview Village location.
If you are lucky enough to snag a day-of treatment at this lavishly awarded spa, consider the Hammam Rhassoul Clay Wrap, which uses locally made Canadian botanicals.
Pro Booking Tip: Phone the day before your desired visit to see if the spa has any last-minute treatment slots. If not, don’t panic: its luxe hammam steam room is still available to unwind in. This steamy area is infused with eucalyptus oil and uses light therapy to relax the mind and body.
For A Deep Heat Treatment: Banya No. 2
No RSVPs, pre-bookings or waitlist scenarios are required to enter Richmond Hill’s all-ages Banya No. 2 just north of Toronto. This Slavic-style sauna and tearoom keeps a strict first come, first served policy.
Guests can sweat out their cares in various sauna environments and temperatures, ranging from a dry-heat sauna, a steamy Turkish Hammam, a warm Himalayan salt cave, a blazing hot Finnish stove sauna and a North American steam room.
For an authentic banya experience, request the venik treatment, which involves getting massaged with a bundle of leafy branches that have been soaked in warm water.
Pro Booking Tip: If schvitzing makes you hungry, call ahead to reserve a table at the restaurant next door to the spa, also called Banya No. 2, which serves Russian, Ukrainian and Georgian delicacies such as Borscht, Drankini (Eastern European potato pancakes) and a delicious tomato and walnut Kharcho soup.
For A No-Frills Scrub ‘n’ Soak: Seoul Zimzilbang Korean Sauna
No reservations are needed to snag entry to Seoul Zimzilbang’s seven-sauna room circuit. Admission gets you a locker and lounging outfit (everyone must be fully clothed in the family-friendly, all-gender sauna areas).
Seoul Zimzilbang’s sauna circuit includes a jade sauna and an icy freezer to help you cool down between heat sessions. This uniquely casual spa welcomes visitors to bring laptops, games and books into the social areas.
Pro Booking Tip: If you’d like to book the spa’s one body treatment (a Korean-style full-body exfoliation scrub), try calling ahead. Otherwise, just walk in. Rush hours span lunchtime to midday and from 6 to 9 p.m.
If you’re a night owl, take advantage of the fact that this establishment closes at midnight—no doubt you’ll sleep like a stone after treating your body to a few hours of muscle-soothing heat.