EZ Gift Picks: A Massage from Santa

Each spa has its own character, signature services and ambience.

But they all have something awful in common.

The worst thing about spas?

When your visit is over, you have to face the cold, cruel world.

The cosseting and indulgence of a spa service make it a perfect Christmas present for anyone, men included. Men, especially.

They’re often reluctant to arrange spa services for themselves. Secretly, they take great pleasure in the relaxation and pampering.

Is there a man who wouldn’t enjoy a “gentleman’s hot towel facial, a 60-minute massage and a power-wash pedicure”?

It’s a 3-hour package at Langdon Hall. Give it to a guy, metrosexual or macho or somewhere in between, for $292.

A no-brainer but thoughtful present is a gift of a massage, appropriate for anyone, any gender, almost any species.

Many spas offer canine messages along with pedicures. Facials, not so much.

One of the best things about giving a spa gift for Christmas is that it can be done so easily, purchased at the 5-Star Spas site and sent by email or printed out and placed in a ribboned box under the tree.

And just in time to make choosing a spa gift as easy as sipping eggnog, there’s a brand new collection of elite spas.

5- Star Spas earn their membership in the association after a rigorous independent inspection based on a list almost as long as Santa’s.

Criteria range from such technical basics — employee training and certification, code of conduct, sanitation protocols to the quality of the experience: decor, aura and luxuriousness and effectiveness of products and treatments.

Best of all, a gift certificate can be used at any one of the 12 member spas. Each has its own character.

Some, like HealthWinds in the heart of Toronto, focus on health and wellness. Hockley Valley Resort Spa is in ski country. Elizabeth Milan in the Royal York Hotel and Jolanta’s are traditional European spas. Langdon Hall and The Spa at the Old Mill are pure indulgence.

Prices for gift certificates for specific services can range from $55 for a hydrating 30-minute facial at Elizabeth Milan to an extravagant 5-hour experience at Langdon Hall, including a “classic English facial, souffle wrap, 60-minute massage, lavender manicure and rosemary mint pedicure.”  The cost? $493.

But you don’t have to give a specific service.

Gift certificates for 5-Star Spas can be given in dollar amounts, too, starting at $25, so recipients can select the service as well as the spa and add to the gift amount if they choose.