This review of Millcroft Inn and Spa in Alton, Ontario is part of the series 100 Baths, my search for the world’s best spas and public bathing rituals. Read more and see the list here!
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The Millcroft Inn & Spa is a romantic rural getaway about an hour’s drive north of Toronto where couples go to celebrate their anniversaries, engagements and other special occasions. So why did I want to go there without a partner? Because the Millcroft has a small but beautiful outdoor hydrotherapy circuit and I figure why should lovebirds have all the fun?
I took the plunge and splurged on a birthday getaway this January for myself, and two good girl friends came alone. This was during pandemic restriction times, so only hotel guests could use the spa facilities – they’ve suspended spa day passes. We used that as an excuse to stay overnight, because Millcroft has some special cabins that come with their own private hot tubs. We each rented one and we figured we could enjoy blissful soaking at all hours, far away from crowds.
Driving into the property, Millcroft Inn and Spa had definite Hallmark movie vibes.
The main hotel is in a restored historic mill, alongside a pretty river bank. If the dining room were open, that table overlooking the waterfall would be a surefire date win.
One thing I’ve learned about pools and hot tubs in hotels is that the best time to use them is in the afternoon, between check-out and check-in, when there are the fewest guests to compete with for space. Especially romantic places like Millcroft. Busting up a private canoodling moment is awkward.
So we beelined straight for our rooms, did a quick change into our suits (required) and robes (provided) and hit that spa!
Outdoor spas are magical during snowy winters.
I should mention at this point that it was freaking freezing that day. I mean, I love winter. But this was possibly the lowest temperature I’ve ever had to stand outside in a swimsuit, even for just a few moments. So sliding into a pool heated to 104 degrees was absolute heaven.
We quickly lowered our shivering bodies into the closest of Millcroft’s two soaking stations – a peanut-shaped pool with waterfall. Another group of three women were also using it, and we saw a few couples headed up to the second hot tub with spa jets overlooking the grounds. We never felt crowded, and conversations were respectfully low-key. It was just the kind of semi-private spa experience we were hoping for.
Millcroft Inn and Spa is not a budget destination, and it comes with high-end service to match its prices. Even in this blasted cold a server came around to check on things and offer drinks. That felt like a real treat.
I know the true benefits of hydrotherapy come from switching between hot and cold, but damn it was tough to get out of that hot tub and into the Millcroft’s icy cold plunge pool. I did it though! The heated swimming pool felt like a warm embrace after that, although given the extreme cold we just splashed around in it for a moment, then back to the real hot tub.
In non-pandemic times, I would have wanted to use their indoor sauna as well, but that was closed up. So we just let our bodies relax in one place, enjoying the peacefulness of the remote location and gentle sounds of falling water and snow.
Our Croft cabins came with fireplace and a small private terrace with its own 2-person hot tub. It’s kept nice and hot and ready to use with a simple flip of the cover.
After an in-room dinner beside our wood-burning fireplace, I took full advantage of being able to soak alone naked under the cover of night.
The private hot tubs are definitely designed for couples. They’re not the typical round or square shapes for a group hang; more like a really deep bathtub for two people to lounge in who really like each other. Basically, I’m glad my friend and I each booked our own rooms with our own hot tubs, because I did not want to share mine!
The morning of our check-out, the area was hit with a monster snowstorm of historic proportions. So our second and final visit to the outdoor spa was a chance to really revel in the contrast of hot and cold, of running through deep snow banks, of watching my wet hair freeze unto unusual shapes.
It was tough to leave the Millcroft Inn & Spa pools. And not just because getting back to the city in a snowstorm was a bit of a nightmare. We totally considered just extending our stay for a week and hunkering down with unlimited room service cheese boards and spa soaks. But this short visit was a recon for future trips when everything is allowed to open. So we left with soft skin, calm minds, and plans for future summer day trips.
Know Before You Go
My last visit was January 2022. Always check their website for latest info.
Where: Millcroft Inn & Spa is located on a 100-acre property in Alton, Ontario, about an hour’s drive northwest from downtown Toronto. In addition to the spa, hotel guests can enjoy walking trails through woodlands, fire pits, snowshoe rentals and other sports amenities in summer months.
When: Spa is open 7 days a week, from 9am to 9pm.
What to bring: Swimsuit! Good robes and slippers are provided. (I brought my own robe because I prefer black, ha.) Drinks and food available on site.
How much: Day Passes to the spa are available only Monday to Friday for $75. They are not reservable and first-come-first-served. You can call the spa directly to check on the day, 519-941-8111 ex. 5357. Day access is also $35 if you book a treatment less than $100 or if you book a treatment valued over $100, you can use the spa for 2 hours. Spa facilities are included for hotel guests, and rooms generally start at $300/night in the main building, more for the Croft cabins with hot tubs. On a budget? Look for various package deals including accommodation and food, and definitely consider booking your stay during the week, when prices are discounted.
Want more spa inspiration? Lonely Planet’s Wellness Escapes is a lovely hardcover filled with eye candy photos of hot springs, saunas, spas and other wellness resorts from around the world. These are expensive and often remote destinations, but even if you never get there, you can use this as a starting point for researching dream trips.
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