Plan for 3rd nordic spa springs up west of Calgary

Basecamp plans to build a nordic spa in the town of Canmore, Alta.  (Helen Pike/CBC - image credit)
Basecamp plans to build a nordic spa in the town of Canmore, Alta. (Helen Pike/CBC - image credit)

Southern Alberta is becoming a hot spot for nordic spas with another project springing up in the region — this time in Canmore.

Basecamp Resorts has acquired the Holiday Inn on the north side of Canmore, on the westbound side of the Trans-Canada Highway.

Construction to revamp the 100-room hotel will begin when the group takes possession in 2023.

CEO Sky McLean said the company has 1.5 acres of land next to the hotel to build a nordic spa.

This Scandinavian hydrotherapy typically includes different types of hot and cold pools, sauna rooms, steam rooms and exfoliation experiences with a focus on quiet relaxation away from distractions.

"I think when the one in Kananaskis opened, for a lot of people, especially here in Alberta, it was, it was novel," said hospitality writer Elizabeth Chorney-Booth. "I think a lot of us hadn't really seen it before. I mean, they are becoming more popular in Canada in general."

In Canmore, McLean hopes her company's setup will stand out.

"Different types of experiences, mud baths and things that aren't at the existing spas in this geographical vicinity," McLean said.

McLean expects the rooms will be up and running by July 2023 while the spa will open in 2024.

"I've always felt that Canmore really needs more experiences for people who don't necessarily want to hike up to that peak or mountain bike for 18 hours," she said. "People just want to come and enjoy the mountains and have some peace and quiet, and this will be a great place for something like that."

This marks the third spa of its kind in southern Alberta. So far, only one, the Kananaskis Spa, is open and operating for the public. This spa began welcoming guests in 2018.

WATCH | Southern Alberta becoming hot spot for nordic spas, as plans for a new one emerge in Canmore:

Another project, by Groupe Nordik, will begin construction in 2023. Harmony Spa will be located just west of the City of Calgary. It's being built as an amenity for the lake community, and the anticipated opening date is sometime in 2025.

European-style après ski vibes

Chorney-Booth says there's room for a little competition in the nordic spa space in southern Alberta.

The Kananaskis Spa, she noted, is so popular it's often fully booked — and having more options out there may give more people the chance to book the experience. European alpine culture is something that she says has been cultivated in southern Alberta for some time with its hot springs and other spa applications.

"The scenery is so beautiful, and I find these spots are really best in the wintertime," Chorney-Booth said. "I think it's a little bit addictive, too. Once you do it, I think you want to do it again. It does feel great. I mean, I would love to be able to do it once a month. I think the cost is going to be prohibitive for a lot of people."

Adding this hotel to Basecamp's roster will give the group 500 rooms in Canmore, Golden and Revelstoke.

The nordic spa will be a shared amenity for its Canmore guests. McLean said it will cater to those staying in Basecamp hotels before swinging open the doors to the masses.