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“Absolutely phenomenal”

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Grail Springs Retreat
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Bancroft
Certificate of Excellence
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Absolutely phenomenal”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 24, 2013

I was privileged enough to stay at Grail Springs for 21 days and I still have one night to go. After all that time it is incredibly difficult to leave. The whole experience has been like summer camp - but better! I took part in many activities and they are all wonderful.

Spa: I had Reiki (done by both Monica and Jason) and both were phenomenal. I had massages by Lisa and Jason (yes, the same one who did Reiki). Both of them were incredible. I had a chakra reading by Monica (the same who did Reiki) and it was incredibly informative. Thank you to all of you.

Yoga classes were led by Tanya, Eva and Jason (the same that did Reiki and the massage - he's multi-talented) and were wonderful. Thanks so much.

I also went horse-back riding (numerous times) not only because the horses are beautiful but because Richard, "The Horse Whisperer" is incredibly kind, interesting and very talented. Thank you more than you will ever know.

I got to meet Madeline, the beautiful founder of the Grail, several times (she's around a LOT) and her great dogs. Thank you so much, Madeline.

The room I was in, Room 9, is gorgeous. It's spacious, bright and has a balcony overlooking the lake.

The food was a labour of love. Tomoko is very talented and extremely kind.

The house-cleaning staff, the front desk staff and the dining room staff are top notch. Wonderful people who would go to any lengths for you.

The setting is beautiful as are the people. Thank you so much to all of you! I'm already making plans to return next year!

Room Tip: Room 9 is awesome!
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Tracey R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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286 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (82)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
74 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 7, 2013

Grail Springs came highly recommended by several friends and now I see why! My friend and I decided we'd go up for the Comedy Weekend retreat but unfortunately there was a huge snow storm and we were unable to drive up. Angela was incredibly accommodating and allowed us to use the deposit towards another weekend. Luckily - a space opened up the Sunday night that the Grail Springs Lady Faire started. We arrived around 1 p.m. on Sunday, just in time to check in and get our spa treatments. I had the inch loss wrap - what a hoot! You're bound from head to toe (literally) in gigantic ace bandages that have been soaked in warm mineral water, throw on a plastic poncho on top, and then bounce around on a trampoline. I was given the choice between watching Mama Mia and Footloose - so chose Mama Mia and spent the next hour jumping up and down like a lunatic. A few times I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and it made me laugh out loud - but the inches came off! The inches were also helped by the awesome food.

I see some complaints on TA about the food - but it was just perfect in my opinion. Right up my alley: very healthy, well portioned sizes (I hate huge portions!), fresh and unique. I liked that the staff asked for feedback about the food and were genuinely interested in what we had to say. The elixirs (one mud, one lemon/cayenne) are what I like to drink and made me feel right at home.

The room we were in was perfect for two friends sharing: two comfortable twin beds facing each other (rather than side by side). The bedding was very high quality and the robes luxurious. We had a peek at some of the other rooms and the ones overlooking the lake looked amazing. I've travelled throughout Indonesia, Spain and Uruguay and this is not luxurious in the sense of the exotic like the Borobudur or mix of modern & traditional you would find in Jose Ignacio, this is a Canadian gem - true to its surroundings - with a wrap around wooden deck overlooking the lake, a great room with a fire place, etc.

What struck me most about the place was the calm and beauty. The setting couldn't be prettier - right on the lake, with a glorious natural garden absolutely bursting with color, surrounded by forest and hills. It's Ontario lakeside at its best. This particular weekend was an "all girls" weekend but I could definitely see coming here as a couple or on my own as well. People seemed very comfortable, welcoming, caring and genuinely down to earth. They were meditating on the dock, strolling through the grounds, relaxing on the balcony overlooking the lake, reading, chatting, etc. They were also setting up for the Faire that afternoon so there was some bustling activity in preparation for the opening the following day, capped off by a bonfire by the lake with a shaman blessing and a sharing circle.

Had a quick swim in the lake and then soaked in the hot mineral tub - totally agree with other reviewers that the last thing you'd want is a motor ruining the tranquility of the evening. Several women went in the buff - I loved that they felt comfortable enough to do so.

I slept soundly and awoke the next morning to the excitement of the Faire. There were several large white tents set up: a main tent for all the lectures, a shopping tent with things like crystals, jewelry, clothing and even a tarot card reader, and then a circle of 10x10 tents called medicine alley. There was a beautiful opening ceremony which made me feel truly welcome and the lectures were terrific. I booked a few sessions with different providers in the medicine alley. There was one woman who claimed she spoke to angels although she seemed mostly to be praying (or preying) to my pocket book, but this was quickly forgotten after I had the most extraordinary experience was with the resident medium. The medium came highly recommended by a woman we'd met at dinner the night before. Having never been to one before, I thought it would be fun. It was much more than that - it was mind blowing! She truly has an extraordinary gift and if you go - I highly recommend you make an appointment with her. Lunch was tasty and fresh - salad, lentil burger, roasted veggies, strawberries and chocolate.

My friend felt poorly after lunch and you wouldn't believe the outpouring of caring and help that surrounded her!! Out of no where - a guest came up to her and gave her a crystal to hold. She told us that she'd had a feeling that morning that she needed to wear two crystals and now she understood why - it was to give one to my friend to make her feel better. Some of the healers from medicine alley also came to help - without charging a penny - just out of the goodness of their hearts. The general mood of the Faire was just that: lots of genuinely good people sharing a moving experience together.

A dear friend of ours had a few days to herself when her husband and daughter were away at a father - daughter camp and she asked if we would recommend it as a place to go. Both of us emphatically agreed that it's a very special place, where you feel welcomed and inspired, where the people surrounding you will make a difference to you, and where you can relax and be introspective.

This retreat is very down to earth and very spiritual, welcoming and warm, comfortable and caring. It's authentic to its surrounding and its intent - the website describes the amenities and sets clear expectations which were definitely met!!! I look forward to going back!!

Room Tip: A room overlooking the lake is definitely worth it!!
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank elmundounpanuelo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Monreal
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 3, 2013

I am sharing this review not to be mean but just to manage your expectations if you choose to shell out the money to go to Grail Springs.

I had a nice time more because I needed the break than anything else. If management reads this, please make some changes because I would really like to come back.

What I liked:
- Beautiful setting on the lake with the horse
- Morning mantra, meditation and yoga (although Ava was sometime quite moody and Debbie was never accommodating)
- Evening guest speakers
- Elixers
- Healthy diet and spiritual underpinnings
- Some of the staff were delightful (e.g. Dekoda, Tomoka, Jason)

What needed severe improvement
- When you pay so much and only see your appointments in the morning, your staff need to be more accommodating to changing appointments, really disappointed here.
- More than 50% of the staff where frankly miserable, not pleasant and ruined the atmosphere
- The hygenic practices of some of the spa staff made me a bit queezy
- My Room, despite asking many times, was not once properly cleaned during my stay and towels were only once replaced over the course of week
- The food when Tomoka was not there was frankly - yuk.
- Also, I could never rest in my room during the day because of how loud the reception areas where. Not till 11pm that I got to bed most nights once everything in Grail had settled down.

It was not a luxury experience, but I share this because I do want to come back - but won't pay that price again unless there are upgrades on the administrative, cleaning and spa staff. Your staff have to live and breathe the culture that you are trying to get your clients to embrace - otherwise the authenticity is not there.

Hope that this helps. The owner needs to know this because the the staff are simply not being honest to her and patrons need to know this to manage expectations. It is a fantastic place to unwind, chill out and re-centre yourself. I only share this in trip advisor because I think it is unlikely that the staff share the real feedback with the owner.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank MapleLove
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grail_SpringsCanada, Owner at Grail Springs Retreat, responded to this review, August 4, 2013
I am the founder of Grail Springs and thank you for bringing these issues to my attention. Though I have contacted you personally and do look forward to your reply, I would like to respond for the sake of readers. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed much of your stay and were able to receive much of what you came for, but of course am dismayed on the other hand to read about some of specific encounters with a few of the staff and service providers. You are correct that I am only now aware of some of the sensitive issues concerning personal hygiene, moods and attitude. Anything less than a professional presence and appearance, and service that is friendly and gracious, would not be acceptable by any standard. I can assure you that I will look into all counts and will take appropriate measures to rectify. On the dining front, we do have a new assistant cook in training which might explain one of your comments and we look forward to great and swift improvement in this regard. It is very important to the Chef to have her standards in food preparation upheld, bringing continuity to the guest dining experience. The front desk generally closes at 9pm. We do find summer weekends generate a much higher traffic. Outdoor summer activities are very popular; canoeing, sauna, late night swimming, hot soaker mineral tub, campfires, with some guests finding their way to their room in the later evening hours. We apologize for the extra noise. This is unusual any other time of the year. As you know we do try to encourage a quieter tone throughout the property to promote relaxation for all without encroaching on their desire to have fun at the same time. I sincerely appreciate all your feedback and would love for you to return to Grail Springs in the future to fully enjoy the wellness culture I have tried to manifest over the past twenty years; to inspire and promote wellbeing for both guests and staff that choose to come to Grail Springs; healthy lifestyle, self-growth, love and respect for nature. I thank you for the reminder of how important it is to be surrounded by individuals who believe in a vision and share the same values. I look forward to your reply.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 22, 2013

I’ve been to Grail Springs spa 6 times and I have always stayed for a full week because of the free Sunday shuttle they provide.

Here are two ways to save some money: At the end of your stay, if you know you want to return to Grail Springs, you may deposit $500 towards the next stay and they will give you 10% off the lowest advertised price. Also, if you go and come back on a Sunday, you may take advantage of their complimentary shuttle from Toronto Pearson airport.

One of my favourite things about Grail Springs is there is not a huge number of people there, making it quite intimate. So don’t be surprised if sooner or later you end up sitting with other guests at meal times (but you don’t have to). The building itself is large, but there are only so many rooms/people that it holds. I consider this a huge bonus.

The staff are very courteous and friendly, so if something is ever not to your liking, they try their best to accommodate you.

The outdoor hot tub is a salt tub, not with chlorine, and it has no pump to make it like a whirlpool – I really like the fact that there is no added noise, because since I’m in such a natural environment outdoors, I don’t want to hear a motor! The lack of a whirlpool effect helps you hear the wildlife around you (mostly birds, woodpeckers, wind, etc.) and it makes me feel more serene.

Lastly, the recently upgraded sections of this medieval “castle” are done more in a new age or contemporary style, while the older unrenovated sections are still more medieval-looking. I’m not crazy about the new age look of the upgrades, I personally prefer the medieval decor, but this is not affecting my decision to keep visiting Grail Springs.

Room Tip: Try asking for a room with a view of the "Chalice" lake.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank DanielaD D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Level Contributor
44 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 17, 2013

Cant Help but notice that all of the reviews are 5 star and written by people who only reviewed this one property and gave this one property 5 stars
That said
The setting is very nice right on the lake and the structures and the great room are very nice.
We really enjoyed the restaurant when we went there.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MarkfromMaple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
54 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 14, 2013

Had a nice rustic feel and decor , however the place can use some updates with a whirl pool (there was none only an outdoor tub with hot water ), deck wood maintenance and landscaping.
Staff was very nice and accommodating, Food was excellent and surpassed expectations and it was gluten and lactose free! Treatments were good. Disappointed there was only one yoga class per day.They do have nightly guest speakers and a daily meditation in the am. Hiking trail was short and not well maintained.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank kiwina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 5, 2013

I was very stressed out and tired before going to grail spring. It is a great place to rest and reflect. I stayed at the tabin. So I did not expect luxury as I wanted a more rustic experience. The tabin is everything that I was looking for. Very quiet. Clean, warm and comfortable. I had deers running at the front lawn every night. The resort is sparkling clean. Love the great room where I can just curl up, read a book and sleep. The lake is very peaceful. Went out canoing and swimming. The horseback riding is amazing. Very easy to learn and Richard is such a great teacher.

The food is good and healthy. It's is all vegan. I am not vegan, never liked it but managed to just eat at the spa everyday. They do provide second serving if you don't have enough. I do hope that they provide more choices and allow for non-vegan healthy meals. It is tough to eat it everyday. I also hope that they have more snacks. They only have fruits in the fridge.

I did not do a lot of spa services. But the Masage I got was first class. It was the best I have had in a long time.

I also learned meditation and yoga. Never done it before and found the teachers knowledgeable and experience amazing.

Did not like the evening classes. I was not interested in the topic so I just skipped it and relaxed by the lake.

Overall it was a very relaxing experience. Just what I needed.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank kwschan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Grail Springs Retreat

Property: Grail Springs Retreat
Address: 2004 Bay Lake Rd, Bancroft, Ontario K0L 1C0, Canada
Phone Number:
Location: Canada > Ontario > Bancroft
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Bancroft
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Grail Springs Retreat Centre for Wellbeing is Canada's premiere holistic wellness destination where guests enjoy all-inclusive programs with daily yoga, meditation, life classes, spa therapies, special events and evening guest speakers. The 13-room plus 2-Eco-Tabin retreat centre specializes in PH balanced vegetarian diet, detox, juice fasts, outdoor adventure and spiritual experiences designed for healing and rejuvenation. Located on the shore of pristine Chalice Lake near Bancroft, Grail Springs is 2.5 Hours from Toronto and Ottawa, Ontario. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Grail Springs Hotel Bancroft
Grail Springs Resort
Grail Springs Retreat Bancroft, Ontario

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