Canada, Features

Staying Close To Home – Exploring Ontario: Millcroft Inn & Spa, Alton, Ontario

Iain Shankland,

Living in Ontario for us is somewhat dull – we’d rather be off travelling around Europe or the Caribbean, but millions of people from around the world come to Canada and Ontario specifically for their holidays or vacation time. We don’t understand it, but people we talk to in other countries don’t understand why we go to their country for a holiday! Since we’re not flying anywhere anytime soon, we’re focusing on travelling closer to home by car for the time being – re-discovering home if you will…This week we’re off to pamper ourselves at a spa! The last time we were anywhere near a spa was when we were in the town of Spa in Belgium… but we’ve never actually spent time in one…until now.

* Disclaimer: Opinions are our own. We were not paid for this article, nor were goods or services received for free/discounted *

Located near Orangeville, just north of Toronto and only a short two-hour drive or less from the Niagara region, it’s a quick stop to get to an oasis of relaxation away from home, but still easily done in a day trip.

Iain Shankland,

We hadn’t even planned for the excursion in what was a last-minute, spur-of-the-moment decision and in the end we didn’t regret it one bit. How last minute? On Thursday evening we decided – let’s do this, let’s go tomorrow to the spa! Millcroft recommends booking 3 weeks or more in advance – and Fridays are NEVER available during the summer…but that’s not how we roll.

We got up at 8:30 the next morning, phoned and booked our appointments by just after 9 o’clock (yes they actually had a couple of spaces!) – and we were on the road by 9.30. We were very fortunate that there was space to fit our request but it worked – the concierge moved a couple of things around to accommodate us (kudos from some great customer service on the phone – that’s rare these days!). Our first appointment was 11am and we were encouraged to get there 15 minutes before that – 10:45.

Hmmm travel time was 1 hour 50 minutes according to Google and we had to be there in 1 hour 15 minutes. This is gonna be close…

We actually arrived at Millcroft at 10:50… honest, I didn’t speed at all ;>) But where do we go? The first building we came to was actually a hotel block.

Iain Shankland, ©Charles Jergl

Then we found the headquarters, but that wasn’t it either.

Iain Shankland, ©P.P. Emond

Just past the building hidden behind a van and cars was a little driveway across a bridge and there it was – a big parking lot and a big building with the sign… how novel, let’s make people go on a wild search to find us! (We’ve included the what3words to get you exactly where you need to go, in the details below)

Iain Shankland,

Then there was the dilemma of which door do we go to? We were well out of time by now. Eeny, Meany, Miny, Mo.. Let’s try this one.. yeah – correct guess. Got to the desk at 1 minute to 11. (Hey Millcroft – time to invest in some better signage!)

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I was up first, I got my locker key and luxurious bathrobe and headed straight to the men’s change room and got into my swim shorts – ready for this all-new adventure!

We’d done some research on the various treatments on the spa’s website, and both of us settled on the Hammam Body Ritual – 80 minutes ($175). A detoxifying cleanse and exfoliation followed by a warm cocooning body wrap in clay. This ritual is completed by a warm argan oil application. Sounds good, right?

The 80 minute treatment was amazing and extremely relaxing – I’d highly recommend it. Unfortunately, Gail’s therapist was terrible, late, cut corners and pretty much the entire 60 minutes she was freezing cold, while I was pampered and very warm – as it is intended. Poor Gail – she always gets the worst service!!

Outdoor Hot Spring Pools

After my treatment I went out to the pool area to find Gail and see what she had been doing. Her treatment wasn’t till 3 o’clock, so she was checking out the various pools and snagged us a couple of recliners in a nice quiet, less peopley area overlooking all the pools.

Gail Shankland,

Starting from the top, there’s a large hot pool (the highest temperature) – we were expecting a hot spring pool, but it was just a regular extra hot chlorinated pool.

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Below that is the salt water pool that was a nice hot temperature (though the receptionist claimed none of the pools were salt water, the website said there were salt water pools, so we were a little confused), just bit cooler than the one above.

Iain Shankland,

Below that again, is a small FREEZING-cold plunge pool – think Wim Hoff method folks – this is ice water!  Gail gave it a try a few times because it’s supposed to be very good for your health, but I couldn’t feel my feet after stepping in, so I was outta there!

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The main large swimming pool which is on the same level. Most of the people were situated around the main pool.

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So, what should you expect?

Quiet, relaxation is the reason you’re there, and everyone was just that. Some people intermingled with others and most people kept to their couples/group. Being forced to relax is something new for us –we’re always on the go when on holiday, so this wasn’t an option for us. The day was absolutely perfect – blue sky, nice and hot, but not too hot…around 27 °C.

Around 1 o’clock we were getting hungry so we went off to the café to grab food. The menu is quite limited, but there’s enough variety to choose from. Gail got the Greek Salad ($18) – a bowl of lettuce… and some condiments in separate containers, which was nice because you could add as much as you wanted or not. Overall not very inspiring or filling. I ordered the Turkey Wrap with potato chips ($24) and was very happy – loads of turkey and just the right amount of sauce/mayo. I shared some of it with Gail ‘cause it was way more than I’m used to eating for lunch. We washed it down with a 750 ml Bottle of Pellegrino ($8). Lunch came to $56.50 including tax – expensive, but in Ontario when they’ve got you by the balls, they always stick it to you.

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Iain Shankland, www.TravelBloggers.caThe rest of the afternoon was spent in the pools and lazing around getting tanned. Gail went off for her manicure and Body Wrap around 2:45, and I was scheduled for my Pedicure at 4:30. By 3:15 I was way past being sunburnt/laying around, so I headed off to get showered and dressed for my tootsie treatment. (In our haste to leave on this spontaneous day-trip we forgot our sunblock! Unfortunately, we didn’t realize they had some for sale in the reception area – a missed sales opportunity there Millcroft! Gail had plenty of time to listen and learn about the spa when we arrived – she even had to ask questions to get more info on what to do and where to start – they weren’t exactly forthcoming with info even though they knew we were first-timers),

Tips For A Day At The Millcroft Spa

  • You can enjoy the benefits of the Millcroft spa without getting a wrap or other treatments, and it only costs $30 to enjoy the pools
  • They give you a towel at the beginning, but don’t tell you that it can be traded for a new one any time you want (a real shame because poor Gail ended up damp and frozen while waiting for her body wrap)
  • Bring sunscreen/lotion. We didn’t know they actually sold it there till we were walking out the door at the end – very poor marketing in our opinion
  • Alcoholic drinks are served there, but we didn’t find where you could purchase
  • Make sure you don’t forget to take flip flops/sandals – you’ll need them
  • Shampoo and body wash are provided in the showers – don’t forget to grab a facecloth from the sink before going into the shower
  • Bags are provided in the change rooms for your wet swimsuit – very nice!
  • No outside food is permitted, but I saw a bunch of women with bags of potato chips – just be discreet and consume away from the bulk of the people (ditto on the booze)
  • I overheard a couple of women praising the Pina Colada’s, but felt $25 plus tip was a bit high

Iain Shankland, ©Millcroft Spa

Final Thoughts
We had a great time and it was genuinely relaxing – we returned home more relaxed than we have been in years. If you go on the Millcroft website and/or use GoogleMaps, there’s plenty of pictures showing you that the spa and inn have plenty to offer, right on the property – all year long. It looks like a fabulous place to spend a weekend.

The entire spa area is starting to look its age, but we were told that there is some major renovations going on behind the scene and big improvements and expansions over the coming years are to be expected.

Millcroft Inn & Spa is part of a larger conglomerate called Vintage Hotels that has seven Inns and Spa’s in the Niagara Region, mostly in Niagara-On-The-Lake and southern Ontario. It’s ironic that we went to Alton for our treatment instead of 20 minutes down the road at other spa’s but they had what we wanted and offered the best value based on the number of pools etc.

We’re not the type of people that splurge on big price holidays etc. – we watch our pennies and always get the most for the least in our adventures. The day out at Millcroft Inn & Spa was a rare treat/extravagance for us thanks to a generous $450 gift certificate from Gail’s sister, but we’d probably never do it again simply because we don’t tend to splurge on services like this. For those who do – we salute you! It was a wonderful day out and if you ever get the opportunity to do likewise – do it!! You won’t regret it. An excellent option and way to enjoy the experience without the treatments is just go for the day – it’s only $30!

If anyone out there is listening, Gail would very much like to visit other spas … she has her eyes on the Scandinave Spa in Collingwood later this fall or winter (brrrr) or Mont-Tremblant (spoiler alert we’re headed to Tremblant later in September)! Drop us a line if you’d like us to write a review Scandinave Spa ;>)

Our Day Out – The Cost…
Hammam Body Ritual – 2 x $175
Artistic Gloss Manicure (Gail) – $65
Men’s Pedicure (Iain) – $65
Tax – Body Rituals: 2 x $22.75
Tax – Manicure & Pedicure: 2 x $8.45
Tips – Gail’s Therapist: $15 / Iain’s: $35
Tips – Manicure & Pedicure: 2 x $10
Total – $612.40
Greek Salad – $18
Turkey Wrap w/potato chips – $24
750 ml Bottle Pellegrino – $8
Total – $50 + $6.50 tax

Iain Shankland,

55 John St, Alton, ON L7K 0C4 / +1.800.383.3976
what3words: petite.flashing.pound /

Millcroft Inn

Open Daily: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Spa Reservations: Daily 9:00 am – 5:30 pm
Spa Day Guests: Monday – Friday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Spa Café: Daily 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Day passes are available Monday – Friday on a first come first serve basis and can be purchased by calling (519) 941-8111 ex. 5357 directly, day of and cannot be purchased in advance.
Facilities are included if day-spa treatments are over $100 per person. (Access is included 2 hours prior to treatment time, and any time after – until 6pm)
Day Spa (facility only) access is from 9am – 6pm – $30 per person

Millcroft Spa -GoogleMaps 03 -725

Copyright © 2022 by All rights reserved.
Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Iain Shankland / Gail Shankland

Additional Images – © their respective owners: #1 – Charles Jergl #2 -P.P. Emond #13 – Millcroft Spa ISP was “choking” our internet speed because they didn’t like that we were streaming TV and Movies – after adding NordVPN to our Android Media box & FireStick – problem solved. The bonus is we now get to watch Netflix in the U.S. and U.K.!!
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About TravelBloggers…
Iain & Gail started blogging in order to inspire and motivate people to travel the world from their perspective – specializing in having the most fun while using the least amount of money…travelling on the cheap without sacrificing comfort.

** In the end you will only regret the things you didn’t do **