Geothermal mineral water pools, luxury spa, fine dining, and comfortable rooms at Temple Gardens Hotel & Spa in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada
Temple Gardens Hotel & Spa is located in the heart of the historic downtown of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada. The luxury spa resort features Canada’s largest therapeutic geo-thermal mineral water pool. It is a delightful spot for a getaway. I recently stayed there for the first time, but I’m certain it won’t my last visit.
Located in south-central Saskatchewan along the Trans-Canada Highway, Moose Jaw is the fourth-largest city in the province with a population of 33,665 according to the 2021 census. In 1910, drillers looking to locate natural gas accidently discovered underground geothermal waters, part of an ancient seabed. The Natatorium, built in 1932, utilized the water in what was the largest pool between Winnipeg and Vancouver at the time. Structural issues forced its closure in 1957.
Temple Gardens Mineral Spa, as it was originally named, was built in 1996 with 69 rooms. Over the years, it has expanded to 181 suites.
Geothermal mineral water fills the hotel’s two warm water pools. It travels under its own pressure through an insulated pipeline from the well-head located approximately 0.8 kilometers (1/2 mile) away. A water passage connects the indoor and the outdoor pools.
The chemistry of the mineral water is similar to that of the water at the famous mineral pools in Bath, England. It contains compounds such as Epsom Salts and Glauber’s Salts as well as trace elements of sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, bicarbonate, boron, bromine, fluoride, silicon, and strontium. Therapeutic benefits of soaking in mineral waters include inflammation relief, increased circulation, skin nourishment, and overall relaxation.
Geothermal heat from the much deeper molten mass of the earth’s core continually warms the reservoirs of the mineral water at Temple Gardens Hotel & Spa. Signage in the pool area showed the temperatures as 98° F (37° C) in the indoor pool and 102°F (39° C) in the outdoor pool when we visited. Stepping into the water felt like stepping into a bathtub or a hot tub. The combination of the minerals, which give the water a bit of a buoyancy, and the heat elicited an immediate feeling of “aah” and relaxation.
The water level at the shallow end of the pool is around 2.5 feet and it slowly deepens to a variety of levels. The deepest water is at the other end where the indoor pool connects to the outdoor pool. I didn’t make note of the exact depth at that end, but the water was never higher than my neck and shoulder level. (I am between 5 feet 3 and 5 feet 4 inches tall.)
As I walked through the connector to the outdoor pool, I could feel the rise in temperature. After some time in the outdoor pool, the water in the indoor pool, which had seemed so warm when I first stepped into it, felt almost cool.
There are seating areas around the indoor pool and a lovely patio area beside the outdoor pool. The leaves of the trees from the park across the street make a lovely background for the fourth-floor patio. The connector passageway from the indoor pool isn’t the only access to the outdoor pool. It can be entered directly from the patio area.
You won’t find the patio chairs out in winter, but the outdoor pool remains open year-round. A woman I talked to at the pool said that while the water is warm, your hair might frost up from the steam rising from the water.
A couple of pool wheel chairs are available for use by hotel guests. There is a gentle ramp at the shallow end of the pool. My husband Rick walks with a walker. He has severely reduced feeling in his legs leading to lack of strength and poor balance. Going into the water without significant support would not have been safe. With the chairs, however, he was able to enjoy the pool. The lifeguards helped get him into the chair and up and down the ramps. I then wheeled him to favourite spots in the pool. He was also able to maneuver the chair himself. He stayed seated in the chair but was able to move his legs around in ways he cannot do out of the water. We did not know about the wheel chairs and ramp when we booked our getaway. Rick hadn’t expected to be able to be able to use the pool. Getting into it was the highlight of the trip for him.
Other amenities included containers of drinking water to stay hydrated and cool washcloths soaked in antioxidant aromatherapy oils. The washcloths, stored on top of ice cubes, cooled one’s neck or forehead at the same time the pool waters warmed the rest of the body.
Aquatic exercise programs, such as meditative movement and gentle water yoga, are scheduled a few times a week. Provided by Sun Tree Spa which is located in the hotel, these programs are free for hotel guests. Unfortunately, the exercise schedule and mine never connected, so I was unable to take one of the classes.
Hotel guests use the pool at no extra charge. Members of the public can also use the pool, but they pay an admission charge.
Room types at Temple Gardens & Spa include standard two doubles, standard two queens, and standard kings. Several variations of larger suite accommodations offer more sitting space and jetted tubs. In the spa wing of the hotel (north side), you may find your jetted tub contains the same mineral water as in the pool. Some rooms contain fireplaces or have separate living rooms.
Some rooms and suites have balconies. All feature complimentary wi-fi, in-room coffee and teas, ironing board, hair dryer, and a mini refrigerator. You’ll find plush bathrobes folded on the bed ready for your use at the pool or spa.
We stayed in one of the suites—the Anniversary Suite. It was spacious, very comfortable, and easy to feel at home in. Although it did show a few small signs of wear (a few random threads fraying in the carpet and a couple of scratches on the walls), it was overall in good shape and clean. The pictures on the wall of scenes from Moose Jaw’s past were a nice touch.
The photos here are from our room. If you are interested in what some of the other room types look like, visit the hotel web site.
There was no daily housekeeping during our stay. I believe that is part of ongoing COVID-19 protocols to limit associates’ entry to guest rooms. It, however, appeared to be available every second day. I actually like the idea of limited housekeeping. It is nice to have days when you know no one else will be in the room.
Two separate buildings, across the street from each other, house the four-story hotel. The lobby, pool, spa, dining facilities, meeting rooms, and some of the guest rooms are located in the building on the north side of the street. Additional guest rooms are located on the south side. Overhead walkways connect the building. There is a fully enclosed walkway on the third floor. A covered open-air walkway with balcony railings on the fourth level goes directly from the south side building to the pool patio area. Of course, one can also cross outside at street level.
Sun Tree Spa
Located on the fourth floor beside the pool, Sun Tree Spa offers a range of healing spa treatments, including facials, body treatments, reflexology, massage, and nail care. The space has a relaxing, pampering feel to it.
I indulged in a couple of treatments during our stay: a relaxation massage and a hand and foot ritual. I enjoyed both immensely. I’d be happy to schedule either again. I’d also love to try some of the other treatments.
Tip: Book spa treatments early at the same time (or shortly after) that you book your stay at the hotel. Their schedule fills up quickly.
The casual Morningsides Café, located on the fourth floor beside the pool and spa, offers breakfast pastries, yogurts, assorted sandwiches and salads, coffee, snack items, and a variety of beverages. It is open from 8 am to 10 pm daily.
The 1997 final broadcast of Peter Gzowski’s CBC radio program Morningside was broadcast from the resort instead of CBC studios, The café is named in recognition of that.
The fine dining Harwood’s Restaurant on the main floor is open for dinner. We ate dinner there one evening. The meal, service, and atmosphere were great. Note that reservations are strongly recommended. Harwood’s Lounge offers traditional cocktails.
Harwood’s is also open for breakfast. We never did have breakfast there so I cannot comment on its offerings or quality.
I admit I have never paid a lot of attention to the accessibility of hotels until the last few years as my husband developed mobility issues and now requires a walker to get around. Accessibility is now an important aspect of our decisions on where to go.
With elevators connecting all the floors at Temple Gardens Hotel & Spa, there is no need to use stairs. Walkways and aisles are level and wide. The one complaint we had was that many of the doors, such as the ones leading into the overhead walkways, were not automatic.
I’ve already mentioned the pool wheel chairs and ramp. There is also a special needs family change room beside the entrance to the indoor pool area. It is a large space with a good-sized shower area at the back of it that features a bench seat, a mounted shower head, a separate hand-held shower head, and grab bars. There is ample space for a walker or wheelchair and a caregiver.
The hotel has wheelchair accessible rooms. The room we’d booked was not one of those. There was ample space in the room for Rick’s walker. Although the bathroom set-up worked for us, it might have been problematic for a wheelchair user. The toilet and shower were in a small section at the back. The walk-in shower was small, but I think we could have made it work for Rick. (We’d packed a bathtub stool in the back of the car.) However, the space in the special needs family change room at the pool was so great, we used that for his shower after pool time.
When I inquired about the height of the toilet seat in the wheel chair accessible room (too low a seat may be difficult or impossible for Rick to stand up from), I was told it was a normal height, but the hotel could install a seat riser in any room. We wound up booking a room other than the wheel chair accessible one and asked for a riser. The hotel also installed a floor to ceiling grab bar beside the toilet.
I realize accessibility doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone because people’s needs are different. I’ve focused on accessibility from our requirements. If you have other needs, I encourage you to discuss those with the hotel when making arrangements to stay there. There were very helpful. They suggested things I didn’t even know to ask for (like the grab bar).
Moose Jaw is an inviting city with a small-town feel, historic buildings, and a number of tourist attractions. Conveniently located in the heart of historic downtown, the southern end of the hotel connects to Casino Moose Jaw. The Tunnels of Moose Jaw attraction is three blocks away. Crescent Park is across the street. Shops and restaurants are within easy walking distance.
Parking for your vehicle is available in the garage attached to the south end of the hotel. There is a daily parking fee. Some package deals offered by the hotel may include the parking fee.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Temple Gardens Hotel & Spa. The pool (which was the highlight of our stay), spa, and overall atmosphere made for a relaxing and rejuvenating experience, exactly what we were looking for when we booked. Within less than a week of returning home, we were longing to return.
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