Spa life: Romantic French escapade
Former history and geography teacher Jocelyna Dubuc became interested in naturopathic medicine and discovered healthy cuisine, so she ventured off to India to study naturopathy, meditation and yoga. Her passions got the best of her, and by 1977, Dubuc opened Spa Eastman, a destination spa in Canada's Francophone province of Quebec, in the picturesque Eastern townships, approximately 75 minutes from Montreal.
In addition to owning the multi-award-winning destination spa, Dubuc also serves as president and general director. Spa Eastman's accommodations include a main pavilion, an eight-room pavilion and a secluded intimate house on 326 acres with 15 km of trails.
With 130 employees (70 of them, therapists), Spa Eastman can administer 35 treatments per hour. The treatment rooms are decorated in warm and neutral tones with beige walls; most have windows with great views. The spa has a hair salon offering both hairstyling services and health treatments including in-depth analysis for hair and scalp.
Guests in comfy robes lounge in a large spa waiting area and enjoy the spa's retail space, gym, steam room and two indoor pools. One pool is used for aqua gym classes, and the other is private -- for treatments such as Watsu. (Watsu is a gentle-motion, floating massage that promotes deep relaxation for with both the therapist and the client are in bathing suits and immersed in warm water). An outdoor pool with hammocks is perfect for summer relaxing surrounded by gardens.
Spa Eastman's aesthetic and well-being services include a full array of body treatments and body wraps, including massage, couple's massage, hair treatments, facials, foot and hand care, and so much more. Signature treatments include Grand Bleu hydrotherapy, Aqua Mineral Back Treatment and Duet Maple Sugar Body Polish with two therapists.
"Our most popular treatments are the Watsu and our mineral wrap, which includes a liquid paste with heat. While it's on, the client receives a head and leg massage followed by a back massage," says Dubuc.
Other offerings include an extensive and informative naturopathic consultation, personalized lifestyle and fitness programs and assessments, life coaching and individual yoga consultations. With your stay and meal package, you can choose from a number of complimentary activities including conferences on health and well-being, fitness classes and walks.
"We have our own product line with ingredients coming from Canada, like mud and our creams. Besides that, we have Decleor from France and Babor from Germany," says Dubuc.
Forty percent of the visitors to Spa Eastman are men. Dubuc says men are comfortable at the retreat because it lacks the "frilly" feeling of beauty institutes. Seventy percent of the guests stay overnight, and often, a week. Others, both local and from the Montreal area, visit just for the day and partake in a la carte services.
Dubuc says her mission is to make people feel good by promoting health and well-being. Spa Eastman offers local and international clients an opportunity to shape up and renew their spirits in an eco-friendly property that endorses sustainable development. The spa is committed to encouraging proper life habits and helping clients achieve overall lasting health.
"We really teach the 'art of living'," adds Dubuc, who says that Spa Eastman is the only destination spa in Quebec. "To be considered a destination spa, your cuisine must be fully healthy with no compromises. We have a fine wine cellar offering 70 percent organic wines. Also, we offer education through the kinesiologist, the personal trainer and the naturopath."
Dubuc says that almost 60 percent of their guests are repeaters. "I feel we offer a European atmosphere with a French flavour that appeals to North Americans. There are no young children, so it is a real break for parents. I want people to leave feeling good, deeply relaxed, connected to themselves and seeing life differently."
Guests often come to the retreat and never leave the property during their stay, but the Eastern townships are home to lakes, towns and villages. Magog has many quaint boutiques, while the neighbouring village of Eastman's mayor, Gérard Marinovich, happens to be Dubuc's spouse and Spa Eastman's vice president.
To book your Spa Eastman vacation, call 450-297-3009 or 1-800-665-5272, or visit online at www.spa-eastman.com. For more information on the Eastern townships, see www.easterntownships.org or call 1-800-355-5755.