Do you want your toesies to smell like Christmas cake? CUZ I DO! When I think of an afternoon at the spa, I usually equate it with a 90 minute hot rock massage or oxygen facial. Manis and pedis are the kind of thing that are more personal grooming on the run. For me, anyway. (Total spa snob.) However, if you book a pedicure at Stillwater Spa (Even better if it’s the Buttered Rum one) then you will feel like you’ve taken a blissful staycation. It was a long, sensual treatment that provided a much needed escape from hectic holiday hoopla.

Unlike your neighbourhood pedi bar, StillWater really offers a luxury experience, equipped with baked biscotti. I tore out of Bay Station, wind rippping through my hair, coffee dripping down my coat (THAT WILL NEVER ZIP UP) and pushed the revolving doors into the Park Hyatt. Immediate serenity. Just stepping into the hotel lobby, with hot cider on offer and uniformed bellboys, makes me feel like a grownup Eloise. Upon entering StillWater, the soothing spa music calmed me right down, as did the glass walls of trickling tourqouise water.

The lovely staff at the front desk ushered me to the changeroom, where I removed all my winter gear and slipped into a comfy robe. I was offered tea, and went for a fruity herbal. Shuffling around in my slippers, I was led down a marble path to the Rolls Royce of pedicure chairs.
“Do you want heat? Massage?”
“Oh yes please, I’ll take both!”
I had, rather obnoxiously, selected two polishes and requested the kind esthetician to alternate so that I could have Christmas feet. The colours I chose were Deborah Lippmann’s Across The Universe in metallic green and Razzle Dazzle in glittery raspberry. I felt like a very glamourous elf.

What makes this a Buttered Rum pedicure? Firstly, wind down with a moisturizing creamy Butter Brulee Whole Milk Soak. This is followed by an exfoliating brown sugar scrub with premium aged rum and rice bran oil. There is a hint of butterscotch that smells divine. To finish, one is massaged with a peppery caramel body milk lotion, leaving tired gams buttery soft. Instead of baking shortbread this year, why not have a suck on my toe? My feet are so pretty and I bet they taste good too.

I was so enthralled with my glittery toes that I felt like the Nutcracker princess and nearly wiped out while skipping back to the wait room. (No pirouhettes at the spa, my dear.)

My only warning is that if you choose elaborate pedicure art like I, with individual specs of glitter, it will take extra time to dry.
“How long should I wait before putting my boots on?”
“With sparkles, 90 minutes.”
“90 MINUTES?!”

Alas, what sounded like a ridiculous amount of time turned into a spa blessing. I killed the first five minutes eating a pear by the fire. (There is a fireplace.) Then I wandered back into the changeroom and noticed little booths that one could stretch out on and quietly watch TV with headphones. I fixed myself up with more tea, grabbed more than my share of chocolate biscotti, settled into the reclining bench, drew the curtain closed and got super comfy. I don’t have cable, so suddenly I was rather excited about choosing what to watch. After an episode of Seinfeld (that had me laughing a little to loudly for spa atmosphere) and getting really into Katie Couric’s talkshow, I reluctantly decided I should probably get moving and not stay at the spa all night, hoarding biscotti and watching tv.

Ohhhh, but then I saw the inviting hot tub. With my glamourous sparkle toes now dry, I decided to derobe, have a shower and take a relaxing dip. This was followed by some deep breathing in the steam room. Hours were going by and it began to feel like I had moved into StillWater Spa for good. But never for a moment did I feel rushed.

I finally got dressed and upon my departure found a tray of almond florentine biscuits. (I eat a lot of cookies.)

Walking out onto Bloor, I was a new woman and absolutely no crazed holiday shopper or angry cab driver could dent my mood.

An excellent gift for your mom or sister. (Dads like pedicures too.)
The Stillwater Buttered Rum pedicure is $90 and, in my opinion, worth every penny.

~ Jen McNeely