When you walk into the Truefitt & Hill spa, there’s little doubt you’re in the men’s club.
The 10-year-old spa, located in Scotia Plaza in Toronto’s financial district, is lined with dark hardwood floors and cabinets, and forest green leather armchairs, with Frank Sinatra streaming from the speakers.
But catering only to men makes this spa an anomaly, targeting a gender that still often views pampering for pleasure a woman’s game.
“The idea that the spa is only for women simply isn’t true as men account for 29 per cent of spa-goers in Canada,” says Lynne McNees, president of the International Spa Association.
“More and more men are realizing that spas are not just about pampering, but a necessity to living a healthy lifestyle and they are making spa visits a regular part of their wellness routine.”
It’s a routine Dennis Melnbardis has kept for more than 10 years. He works in management consulting in the Scotia Plaza and, aside from Truefitt & Hill’s convenient location, he said he maintains regular visits for haircuts, shaves and shoe shines because appearance is important to him.
“It’s sort of engendered in peoples’ minds that only women care about good grooming,” he said. “My view is it’s equally important for men. To me, it’s not unusual that men would want to pay attention to their personal appearance and have a spa treatment.”
But spas like Truefitt & Hill offer more than just basic salon services. While receiving an atypical nine-steam towel cocoa butter cream shave by barber Don, who’s been in the business for 50 years, manicurist Olga buffs, shines and massages my hands. Topped off with a neck and back massage, it’s clear this isn’t your standard salon.
“This is a place of relaxation,” says Rick Ricci, the spa’s owner. “This is more than a spa — it’s a haven for a guy to come and unwind.”
Due to the location of Ricci’s haven, he says he services men who work hard — executives, CEOs and presidents.
“I think anyone that works hard deserves some form of treatment — some form of reward,” he says. “For the money we charge, I think it is the royal treatment.”
Ricci recalls the story of a man he knew who would put on a crisp shirt at midday, every day, because of how it made him feel refreshed. He says the spa has the same effect.