When life gets busy, it can be hard to keep up with friendships. Texts that proclaim, "Let's hang out soon!" get old and tired when months have passed between quality time, which is why I was ecstatic to head to Elkhorn Resort Spa & Conference Centre with my close friend Alix this past weekend. The trip combined everything that an amazing girls getaway should have: a road trip, a sweet hotel, great food, and plenty of time for fun and relaxation. Here's how YOU can get away with your friends too and have the best girls weekend ever...
Step 1: Get outside
The usual suspects came along for the road trip from Winnipeg to Elkhorn Resort Spa: music, good conversation and stunning scenery. We had lucked out with another gorgeous weekend in the province and were looking forward to spending some time enjoying winter on the Elkhorn grounds on the edge of Riding Mountain National Park (tip: since it's on the edge, no park pass is required).
We arrived at the resort and checked into our rooms as the smell of crackling fireplaces filled the cozy hallways. While the impeccably clean room was certainly inviting, we were eager to get outside for a skate. Elkhorn Resort has snowshoes, ice skates and cross country skis conveniently available for rent. We headed to the ice rink for a leisurely skate and to admire the grounds. With the rink located right next to the stables, the horses were neighing for our attention. After our skate, we obliged and paid them a visit while one group headed out for a horseback ride.
Next, we explored the grounds further and headed down a few trails to breath in the crisp winter air. Along the way, people were skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling - the markings of a true winter paradise. We came across these adorable chalets which are available for rental in all seasons.
And since all that walking had worked up quite the appetite, we headed back to the resort to roast a few s'mores over the (very well made, shout out to the Elkhorn staff) bonfire.
Step 2: Soak it up
Some might say pools and slides are only for kids: but that someone is not me. We couldn't wait to get into the inviting pool and hot tubs in Elkhorn Resort Spa. I appreciated that the slide led into its own water chamber rather than the pool, which allowed the pool to be used completely (ie; no worrying about someone flying into you while you're swimming). In between dips in the pool, we enjoyed soaking in the giant outdoor hot tub that overlooks the Elkhorn property. Heavenly!
Step 3: Wine + dine
Between all these activities, I'm sure you're wondering, what about the food? Let's just say you won't be disappointed at Elkhorn Resort Spa. There are two restaurants to choose from: the Buffalo Bar and 10 Steakhouse, both with extensive and delicious menus.
On our first day, we had lunch at The Buffalo Bar and were treated to several delicious dishes. We decided to share family style and ordered the lobster-stuffed potato skins (say no more), the Cajun pickerel tacos and the mesclun salad.
That night for dinner, we made a reservation at 10 Steakhouse. The vibe was considerably more swanky than the Buffalo Bar, so we followed suit and started our meal with a few glasses of wine. I opted for the signature steak and lobster meal with truffle mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts with Parmesan & Crisp Bacon. Alix chose the steak au poivre, a NY striploin with black peppercorns. My steak was cooked to medium-rare perfection and the lobster was equally as scrumptious. While we barely had room for dessert, we couldn't resist sharing the vanilla crème brulée. Afterward, we headed back to the Buffalo Bar to have a few more drinks and listen to live music.
One thing I must mention is the exceptional service we received at each and every meal. This service was true for our entire stay, from the bartender to the front desk staff.
The following morning, we headed to the Buffalo Bar for breakfast. Truth be told, we had both already selected our breakfast choices from the in-room menu the night before and were looking forward to a filling start to the day. I ordered the traditional breakfast (with poached eggs and sausages) while Alix got the Saskatoon stuffed French toast. I just had to try the unicorn hot chocolate (ie; hot chocolate with whipped cream, colourful marshmallows and sprinkles), which was just as magical as it sounded.
Since we were in the spa for lunch that day, we enjoyed our food against the sweeping backdrop of the Elkhorn Resort Spa grounds. Still a bit full from lunch, I ordered the baked truffle spinach dip (which to my delight, came with both taco chips and toasted baguette) while Alix tried the hearty and flavourful quinoa and spinach salad.
Step 4: Settle in at the spa
I was nervous but eager to get the treatment as my upper back and shoulders had been acting up for a few weeks. My masseuse was extremely knowledgeable in the history and method of Thai massage, and took the time to explain why the Thai stem leaves (balls of herbs that are steamed) are beneficial for easing chronic tension and nourishing the skin. The massage was customized to my individual needs and incorporated traditional methods with Thai techniques such as assisted stretching and concentrated pressure. I could feel myself relaxing more and more as the treatment continued, and truthfully I didn’t want it to end as it was one of the best and certainly most unique massages I had ever received.
After the massage, I was given the reusable Thai stem leaves bundles to take home. I headed to the locker room for a quick steam before joining Alix in the relaxation pool area. Alix's skin was glowing from the facial, which she reported used all natural products that were particularly soothing for her sensitive skin type. We spent the rest of our time at the spa dipping in and out of the Equinox Mineral Pool and hot tub, enjoying the quiet views through the large windows. Even if you aren't getting a treatment, a trip to Solstice Spa to spend a few hours at the Equinox Mineral Pool is absolutely worth the cost!
Considering Elkhorn Resort Spa for your next girls weekend? Book your Ultimate Relaxation Package today!