90-Min Spa: Spa by JW, Vancouver
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Spa by JW is located on the 17th floor of the new JW Marriott Parq Vancouver hotel in downtown Vancouver. It has the advantage of being situated on the False Creek flats, nestled next to major landmarks like BC Place Stadium and the Yaletown neighbourhood of live/work lofts and trendy eateries and independent boutiques. Most notably are its gorgeous views of False Creek that are accessible from its Lounge.

The spa is a modest size, especially if you consider that local aesthetics company, The Glamoury - that offer hair and makeup services - has also set up shop within its walls. Parking is plentiful and the underground parkade to the JW is accessible through the main gates at Parq. As soon as you arrive on the 17th floor and make a left, glass entrance doors welcome you into a well-lit, white minimalist reception area with a small retail area offering various spa products and robes.

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The spa features a sizeable outdoor space adjacent to the fitness center. Oddly though, despite the large area on the terrace, only a small whirlpool spa exists while the remaining area is for lounging. They call it their 'Aqua Lounge'. I'm hoping that they'll make the space more functional and add more amenities - especially given tough competition from the more inviting outdoor spaces of other nearby hotel spas like Fairmont's Willow Stream Spa and even Chi Spa at the Shangri-La. And unfortunately the day I went for my appointment, neither the outdoor spa nor the steamroom in the women's changeroom were working. Staff informed me that both have not been working for months so I'm not sure how long guests will be inconvenienced. Hopefully it will have opened by now. For spa guests, the ability to use the facilities before/after a treatment is a big determining factor in choice of spa - as these treatments are expensive - so this was a real downer.

The women's change room is located just off reception and is beautiful, white and spacious. The space has a calm and modern aesthetic, with white marble and a light wood treatment throughout. Besides the steam room there are several shower stalls plus a more open shower area. They are generous with their amentities - and offer everything from toothbrushes to hair elastics.

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The Lounge is a quiet and calm area to relax before or after your treatment. What I loved are the private individual chaises placed right next to the Lounge's floor-to-ceiling windows that offer spectacular views of False Creek. Each individual chaise is designed for privacy and comfort, outfitted with a warm blanket and side table. There's a decent selection of TWG Teas on offer, crystal-infused water and complimentary snacks. I did encounter a pet peeve though - the nuts and dried fruit were stale - something unexpected from a spa of this calibre. I would hope that the staff would routinely test out the contents before serving!

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The treatment room I was in was dark but cozy and spacious. There are other brighter treatment rooms that offer amazing views of BC Place and the downtown core. The rooms, in general, are beautifully decorated - again, with a modern aesthetic - and featuring artwork from local artists. As far as my treatment went, I had the 80-minute Intense Muscle Massage ($230). After selecting my favourite combination of essential oils, my therapist generously slathered the warming ginger and cajuput oils on my skin during the entire treatment, which I appreciated. I'm generally not a fan of the, let's call it, 'dry rub' with some treatments. Anyhow, the oils worked great together to keep my mind and body at ease. My back was loving the combination of long and slow strokes, but with good depth and intensity. I particularly loved her use of muscle release techniques that's often used during Registered Massage Therapy. She spent a good amount of time on my upper back, which was perfect as that is normally a weak area for me, with all my unending laptop use. She also spent time on my décolletage as well, which is greatly needed but often more popular with facials and overlooked during massages. Perhaps the one downside of the experience was that it ended shorter than expected and did not last the full 80 mins. By the time I was up and dressed it was just hitting the 80-min mark, so that was a disappointment considering the price I paid.


Beautifully designed spa with generous amenities in the changerooms and an intimate lounge with beautiful views.


Outdoor facilities and steamroom are underwhelming - and weren't working at the time. Lounge snacks not fresh, but stale. Would be good to actually get the full 80 mins of treatment.


4.4 out of 5

90-Min Spa Rating: 4H Spa (AHHHH - GREAT) Learn more about the spa ratings.