UNTIL OVERHEARING A waiter in the vaguely Romanesque dining room ask another customer, “So, you licked your bowls clean, didja?” discerning the colloquial charm from the familiar elegance of a four-star, world-renowned spa hotel was nearly impossible. But downtown Moose Jaw’s three-story Temple Gardens Mineral Spa manages to blend the down-home hospitality of its locals with the opportunity to pamper yourself silly, notwithstanding the local zeal sometimes cranked to 11.
Built a decade ago and expanded in 2002 to include 84 new rooms (and a subdued entrance to the Casino Moose Jaw across the street), the hotel’s hallmark is two-dozen rooms boasting geo-thermal mineral water Jacuzzi tubs large enough for two. Extracted by pump and insulated pipe from below an ancient seabed some 4,500 feet under the earth’s surface, the Epsom and Glauber salts-infused hot spring also fills a rooftop indoor/outdoor pool. Also on the top floor, a staff of eight estheticians, nine massage therapists and a reflexologist run the comfy Sun Tree Spa, where facials, body wraps and polishes, a variety of massage treatments and other indulgences are easily fit between naps, meals and excursions to the isolated city’s historical attractions.
A portion of the grounds once housed the Temple Gardens Dance Hall, a socialite haunt in the early 20th century, and likely the stomping grounds of the wealthy locals involved in Al Capone’s underground bootlegging some 85 years ago. Of national (and decidedly less illicit) interest, both the first and last of Peter Gzowski’s *Morningside* broadcasts were recorded here, as commemorated by a small plaque upstairs. And according to Ernie Pierce, the hotel’s Sales and Marketing Manager, Temple Gardens can claim responsibility for igniting Moose Jaw’s luxury tourism industry over the last decade, namely the emergence of a handful of other spas.
The décor reflects an old-world opulence befitting a local landmark, especially one surrounded by flatland and farmers. There are lots of cream-coloured pillars and plenty of faux-foliage (airbrushed on glass walls, overgrown on the plush, earthy carpets) aiming to sweeten your senses. The lobby is awash in muted classical music and adorned with large ornate mirrors, a black-and-white tiled fireplace and, on a balcony about 10 feet up, flanked by velvet drapes, the bronze statue of an unknown siren coddling an old-school mic. Possibly the most decadent feature is the rooftop pool, which overlooks the treetops of nearby Crescent Park and boasts an unmatched vantage point for watching a sun rise ignite the Prairie sky.
Rooms start at $149.99 for a double; suites start at $429.99.