It’s as salty as the Dead Sea. As full of minerals as the famous spa water of Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic. And it’s in Saskatchewan, Canada. Manitou Springs, the dense mineral-rich water from Lake Manitou in the golden prairies of Saskatchewan is North America’s hidden spa secret. And it’s healing powers are legendary.
The water is so buoyant you can sit, pretend to bicycle or skip without touching the bottom of the pools at Manitou Springs Hotel & Spa. Or like most guests, you can simply float through the mysterious spring water, soaking up it’s benefits. No danger of sinking here – the mineral springs has a specific gravity that is 10% higher than regular water due to its high concentration of salts and minerals.
Canada’s best kept spa secret
The properties of the water, according to a study by Dr William Last at the Department of Geological Sciences, University of Manitoba, are comparable to the Dead Sea in Israel and to the famous spa waters of Carlsbad (Karlovy Vary) in the Czech Republic.
The long list of minerals and salts in the water includes magnesium, sulphate, potassium, calcium, silica, sulphur and oxide of iron. According to the hotel’s Serenity Spa brochure, the water helps with conditions such as skin problems, allergies and aching joints and it boosts the immune system.
A unique setting
Friendly rather than elite, Manitou Springs Hotel & Mineral Spa is a 102-room resort hotel overlooking a long stretch of bald hills that gently slope down to Lake Manitou. The beach, voted one of Canada’s best by MSN.ca, is steps outside the hotel front door. Located near the small town of Watrous, Saskatchewan, the down home atmosphere is pure Saskatchewan combined with a traditional European-style spa focused on the curative powers of ‘taking the waters.’
The large pool complex, an integral part of the hotel, includes two main pools divided into three temperature zones ranging from 94 degrees to 102 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can boost the healing effects with a mud facial, a mud wrap or a massage at the onsite Serenity Spa. Or simply prettify with a manicure or pedicure.
Manitou Springs may be unknown to most North Americans but it has long been revered by locals. Legend tells of Cree warriors who were stricken by the smallpox epidemic being cured by the dense salty waters of Lake Manitou.
In the 1920s Lake Manitou was a popular resort destination and people flocked here for the water, calling it the ‘Carslbad of Canada’. In 1933 the first medical clinic was opened. While Manitou’s popularity declined over the years, the recently renovated Manitou Springs Hotel & Spa has boosted its reputation yet again.
Along with healing came fun, and the tradition continues today. Opened in 1928, the historic Danceland dance hall further along Lake Manitou still attracts dance and music lovers. The hotel offers a free shuttle on weekends.
Travel tips for Manitou Springs Hotel & Spa
Price: Rooms range from $119.95 to $169.95, pool admittance included.
Getting there: Lake Manitou is 110 km southeast of Saskatoon and 175 km northwest of Regina. Bus packages are available.
Address: 302 McLachlan Ave., Manitou Beach, SK Tel: 1-800-667-7672
Read more about Manitou on Carol’s Luxury Travel Blog at WanderingCarol.com or check out Adrian Brijbassi’s great article and Julia Pelish’s stellar photos at Vacay.ca