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What to expect at Thermea Whitby Spa Village

An honest review of Thermea Whitby, the massive Nordic spa near Toronto

The first thing I noticed upon arrival at the Thermea Spa in Whitby was the scent.

My friend and I stepped out of our cab in front of the spa first thing in the morning and were hit with the smell of wood smoke, wafting out of an iron cauldron where some logs were burning down. When it comes to first impressions, this was a good one. And not just because I love campfires. Using scent to alter the environment, to welcome you to a place of relaxation, was a small thing but a good indication of the attention to detail we would find throughout the spa.

Thermea calls itself a “spa village” and after visiting I understand why. It’s big.

Everything is spacious, from the change rooms to the largest dry sauna in North America. There are two separate areas—one quiet and one social—each the size of other thermal spas I’ve visited. There’s a lot to explore here and even after six hours I didn’t want to leave! I’ll do my best to cover most of what they have to offer in this detailed review of Thermea Spa Whitby.

Endless Possibilities
Relaxing in a heated pool at Thermea Whitby spa
Photo: gaïa orain

This Thermea Whitby Spa Village review is part of the series 100 Baths, my search for the world’s best spas and public bathing rituals. My friend and I visited as guests of Thermea, but the opinions are my own and they did not approve this piece.

Disclosure: My blog contains links from Affiliate programmes. At no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase from these links, I earn a small commissionThank you for supporting my work and the site!

Just want the facts? Jump to Thermea Whitby price list, hours, etc.

What facilities to they have at Thermea Whitby?

Most of Thermea Whitby spa is dedicated to the practise of hot+cold+relax, where you circulate amongst hot saunas, steam rooms, and pools, cold plunges or showers, and rest areas. These are the facilities that were open on our visit:

  • Five Finnish-style saunas, each with its own style, scent, and temperature. Three of these are brand new. These are all located in a no-talking “sauna village.” An additional sauna was closed for repair.
  • Two steam rooms, one with eucalyptus oil the other with orange and lime oil.
  • Four cold plunge pools, plus one cold water bucket.
  • Two hot pools.
  • One “tempered” water pool — not freezing but also not warm!
  • Hammocks, Muskoka chairs, fire pits, and a “beach” of lounge chairs beside a (non-swimmable) pond.
Thermea Spa Village in Whitby in summer

Check-in and First Impressions

Arriving at Thermea Whitby, you will check yourself in at one of their tablets in a small lobby, get assigned an electronic wristband, then make your way downstairs to the change rooms and actual spa entrance.

There are a lot of lockers—we were told there are more than 700. We used the women’s changerooms but there are also gender-neutral spaces. Even later in the day when it got busy I didn’t need to dance awkwardly around other guests, naked and dripping wet, to get to my things. (This is one of my least fave parts of going to most spas.)

Inside your locker is your robe and towel. One thing I really appreciated about Thermea Whitby is that you can exchange your damp robe or towels for fresh ones as often as you need. We also took advantage of their X-large sized robes for extra comfort. There’s a reception area here to take care of any questions or requests.

Your wristband gives you access to your locker and is also how you pay for any food and drink while you’re there. Note: You will need a credit card and they will put a hold of $150 on it to cover any purchases. Anything under that you don’t consume will be refunded.

OK, now on to the adventure!

Themea Whitby spa saunas
Three new saunas

Saunas and more Saunas

I love a dry sauna. But sometimes it takes a bit of experimenting to find the right temperature for me– hot but not “I can’t breathe” hot. You can adjust some of that by moving up or down the tiers of seats but sometimes you need more. Thermea Whitby has six saunas, with different degrees of heat, so I had no trouble finding the right one.

There are three new saunas at here, each a small haven of heat nestled beside each other in the Sauna Village. So we started there. The first one we walked into is called Kâbin and it looks like a nice little log cabin. It’s actually the hottest sauna in the village at 90 degrees. Oops! Sorry Kâbin, I need a softer entry.

Next up: Hälo. This sauna is stunning. A vaulted ceiling of rose-coloured Himalayan salt bricks envelops you in a blissful warm environment. But this sauna is also the mildest, at 50 degrees. I would say if you’ve never tried a sauna before start here because it’s just so beautiful and you can acclimatize.

But like Goldilocks I kept trying for the sauna that was “just right.” I found it in Aromä, which uses scent and is 80 degrees. Ah, exhale. There’s another a cauldron in here and I’m already enjoying that style touch throughout the spa.

Recommended: A Sauna Hat

Want to upgrade your sauna experience? The Finns will tell you to wear a sauna hat. These simple felt hats help regulate the temperature of your head so you can sweat harder, longer. This style has the traditional grey felt and is stylish for all genders.

Thermea Whitby spa's large sauna hosts Aufguss rituals
The largest “event sauna” in North America

The Aufguss Ritual at Thermea Whitby Spa

At the Thermea Whitby spa entrance there is a sign advertising timeslots for the “Ritual.” We learned that throughout the day, a sort of performance happens in the largest sauna, Loggä. I’ve heard of Sauna Masters and Towel Waving but I had not experienced this before so had to check that out.

A gong sounds, indicating a ritual is about to start in this sauna, which seats 90 people in amphitheatre style. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide a gorgeous view outside but all eyes are on our “ritual artisan.” I actually don’t want to detail what happens next because part of the pleasure was the surprise. But know that you will get hot, and it smells great. You can also leave the room at any time if it’s not for you. The Aufguss rituals are free with your thermal waters admission, just listen for the gong and show up.

Thermea Whitby spa review
Photo: gaia orain

Which way to the pool?

I admit I was expecting more hot pools. Thermea Whitby spa has just two, and the bigger one was closed in the morning when we arrived – we didn’t notice it had opened in the afternoon until we were already on our way out. There is a “temperate” pool but it’s actually pretty cold. So I didn’t do as much soaking as I normally do. But I did jump in all the cold plunges and use the bucket, which is becoming one of my favourite parts of any spa adventure.

For all the facilities, one of the best things to do at Thermea Spa Village is nothing. You can pick a Muskoka chair, a beach lounge chair, a hammock, etc. There are many places to chill, either with your partner or alone.

I did notice these rest areas were all outside (some covered, but still exposed) so I wonder where you’re supposed to relax in the winter if you don’t like the cold? I know where I’d go….

Thermea Whitby Kalla pool
Kalla floatation pool. Photo: gaïa orain

Floating in space in Thermea’s Kalla saltwater pool

A few words about the way many Canadians were introduced to Thermea Whitby spa. Shortly after opening in 2022, their saltwater pool was closed by the health department after several guests reported bacterial infections. An investigation found a combination of system malfunctions and errors failed to keep this particular pool clean and safe and the spa was forced to close for an audit of its entire operations. This was certainly a serious incident, and the Kalla pool remained closed for months. I personally feel the company has done its due diligence and implemented the proper changes before reopening Kalla that made the pool safe to visit.

It’s not easy to leave the outside pools and hammocks but I’m so glad that we did. Inside the building, beneath the main spa is Kalla, a saltwater floatation pool. I hadn’t yet visited the Dead Sea to experience weightlessness in the water, so I was excited to try this. It’s an add-on to the thermal experience you need to pay for in advance. Then your wristband will unlock the space for you.

The first thing I notice in the dark is that they are using some real candles down there. Love that. Before going to the pool you put on headphones and lean back on a bench while a soft voice tells you about the saltwater and how to enjoy it. For example, if you have any nicks or cuts on your skin you can use the packs of petroleum jelly to cover them, so you don’t feel any stings.

English 300*250

This whole space is beautiful. It’s otherworldly, like a cenote or a cavern, with soft lanterns. I grab a foam headrest and make my way into the water. It’s very shallow, and super buoyant, and it takes a minute of practise to actual get your body to lay down. I will admit this was not graceful!

Laying in the salt pool was like no other float I’ve ever had. There is music playing beneath the water. (You can wear earplugs if you don’t want to listen to it.) Your body moves gently about the pool and sometimes my friend and I bumped into each other, but that was no bother. We did this in the morning ,and found there was a lot of space: the spa has a video display on the main floor before you enter telling you how many spots are available (capacity 30) so you can decide if/when you want to go. We had the place almost to ourselves for a while but even when a few groups arrived it did not feel crowded.

This was such a relaxing experience we did it twice on our visit, about 30 minutes each time. And I could have stayed down here longer but I also didn’t want to turn into one giant pile all salt. It’s half the price of the thermal experience itself but I feel well worth it.

Don’t forget to shower well afterwards you will be full of salt! And maybe don’t wear your most expensive bathing suit for this either.

Relaxing at Whitby's Thermea Spa Village
Photo: gaïa orain

Can you talk at Thermea Whitby?

I’ve written before about issues surrounding quiet at day spas. Thermea has a good compromise: the “sauna village” is a quiet zone, with no photography allowed. The other spaces, such as the pools, beach area, etc. welcome polite conversation and discrete photography – if you can see someone else in the background, you shouldn’t take the photo. Also, no TikTok dances please.

Because we arrived right at 8am, it was very quiet. I’d say until about 10am we had a lot of spots to ourselves. Later in the afternoon, we shared the pools, saunas and restaurants with other guests of different ages but I didn’t hear any loud noises or obnoxious behaviour. It was all very civilized. But if you want to maximize quietness, book the first slot of the day.

What can you eat at Thermea Whitby spa?

In terms of the Thermea Whitby menu, there are three restaurants on site, each with different menus and price points.

It’s a spa, so nothing is “budget,” but you can choose between light meals in the lounge, finer dining in the restaurant, or our favourite, the rooftop beer garden where we had some drinks and snacks and looked out over the village. You could technically eat breakfast, lunch and dinner here all in different restaurants. They have vegetarian, gluten-free and non-alcoholic options, which we both appreciated.

The cost does add up though. And note that wherever you eat they apply an automatic 18% tip to your bill. Even at the beer garden where you order from a counter.

Spa day at Thermea Whitby

Final Impressions

It feels like this is one of my longest spa reviews, and I still haven’t covered all the things to do at Therma Spa Village in Whitby. It really is quite large, with so many options. I would plan to spend at least a half-day here, or longer.

I loved the attention to detail. Like individual showers, which have like an antechamber that locks where you can put your clothes or toiletries and they won’t get wet. Like the gong signalling when the ritual will start so you don’t have to wear a watch or keep looking at the time. The Kalla capacity display. Really thoughtful.

For improvements I would like to see umbrellas or shade in the beach areas – we didn’t use this part because sun protection is really important to me and it was way too blazing that day. I could use another hot pool. And I’d prefer to choose my own tips. It’s also too bad there aren’t discount days to make it more accessible. But I think it’s a good value considering everything on offer. I had a wonderful experience and I will absolutely return.

Thermea Whitby spa review

Know Before You Go

My last visit was July 2023. Always check their website for latest info and promotions. Note that Thermea Spa Village is 19+.

Where: Thermea Spa Village Whitby is located 4015 Cochrane St, Whitby, ON, 60km east of Downtown Toronto. Free parking is available. If you don’t have a car, it’s accessible by public transit. From Toronto you can take the Go Transit Lakeshore East train to Ajax, Whitby or Oshawa and then local buses to very close to the entrance. (We took the Go Train to Ajax, then an Uber to the spa to save time.)

When: Open Daily. Sunday to Thursday from 8am to 9pm and Friday and Saturday 8am to 10pm. Reservations are required. Book on-line or call +1 866-484-1112. There’s no time limit, once you’ve entered you can stay as long as you like but there is no re-entry. Three restaurants are on-site for guests only: The Lounge is open 9am to 8:30pm Sunday to Thursday and 9am to 9:30pm Fridays and Saturdays – it serves basic breakfast pastries to 11am only. Le Resto for more formal dining is open 11am to 8:30pm Sunday to Thursday and 11am to 9:30pm on Fridays and Saturdays.  Biergarden has a great patio and is open Sunday to Thursday 10am to 8:30pm and Friday and Saturdays 10am to 9:30pm.

What to bring? A swimsuit (mandatory) flip-flops or sandals (mandatory) and your water bottle (no glass bottles allowed). Recommend a sunhat and sunglasses in summer, or a toque in winter. A novel for reading in a hammock is always a great idea. There is no wi-fi. Your entry fee includes a robe (which you can change when it gets wet as often as you need) unlimited towels and a locker. Extra-large robes are available. A plastic bag for your wet suit is provided in your locker.

Change rooms are spacious and very well-equipped with quality shampoo, conditioner and body wash, hair dryers and straighteners. Gender-neutral changing areas are available.  

How Much: The price of Thermea Whitby’s Thermal Experience is $110 any day of the week. It is not included if you book a massage or treatment. Adding access to the Kalla flotation pool is $58. Rhassoul product for your hammam experience is an additional $58. Various packages with treatments and meals are available.  At check-in, they require a pre-authorization of $150 per person on your credit card. Any amount not spent on food/drinks will be returned at check-out. Once inside you can stay as long as you like.

Sauna at Thermea Spa Village Whitby
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