The Arcana Experience: Recharge in the Great Outdoors
Discover Arcana, a serene escape where nature and tranquillity come together to offer a peaceful haven. Leave the demands of city life behind and reconnect with your inner self in a peaceful, harmonious environment.
Arcana, an innovative wellness project founded by a team including Felicia Snyder and Alan Gertner of Tokyo Smoke, aspires to bridge the gap between city living and the restorative power of nature. In response to the stress of modern urban life, Arcana provides private escapes that support its guests’ well-being.
The project aims to enable individuals to tap into the healing benefits of nature, offering evidence-based experiences and educational resources to enhance this connection. To mark the launch of its spring initiative, Arcana is presenting a limited number of exclusive accommodations in two stunning wilderness cabins. These cabins, designed to harmonize with nature, offer unique well-being rituals, ensuring a rejuvenating and grounding experience.
Nestled in a deciduous forest two hours away from Toronto’s bustling city center, Arcana offers a rare opportunity to fully immerse in nature’s beauty. Upon arrival, guests are transported into breathtaking surroundings that change depending on the season. Encompassed by the serenity of nature, guests are invited to engage with it through various activities, from exploring the 15 km of hiking trails to rejuvenating in the sauna or a cold plunge to simply taking in the beauty of their surroundings from the comfort of their cabin.
Sustainability and environmental preservation are paramount to the Arcana project. The cabins were designed by Michael Leckie of Leckie Studio to maximize guest comfort and utility while adhering to the brand’s philosophy of wellness through immersion in nature. “We implement biophilic design principles in our design work, connecting people to nature by blurring the line between the built and natural environments,” says Leckie. “This approach is key to wellness-oriented design in both remote and urban environments. Perhaps even more so in urban environments.”
The cabins were designed to maximize the natural surroundings and provide an escape into the landscape. Reflective polished stainless steel clads the cabins, blending seamlessly into the surrounding forest, creating a striking architectural statement while remaining functional and environmentally conscious. For example, one of the initial concerns shared by the founders and the design team was the impact of the mirrored cabins on local wildlife. The solution? They developed a bird-friendly film to prevent birds from striking the cabins.
On the inside, a large window draws the eye to the surroundings, promoting quiet reflection at every turn. The interior’s material palette, predominantly maple or red cedar, was chosen for its serene comfort. Each cabin is fully equipped with modern amenities, including a queen-sized bed, kitchen and ergonomic bathroom – all harmoniously in tune with nature.
Despite these state-of-the-art comforts, quality and longevity are at the heart of Arcana’s design philosophy. “We’re constantly considering ways to lighten our impact on our property and the planet, from exploring ways to reintroduce indigenous plant species to selecting the materials we use to construct and build,” adds Snyder.
We are constantly considering ways to lighten our impact on our property and the planet, from exploring ways to reintroduce indigenous plant species to selecting the materials we use to construct and build. – Felicia Snyder
The guest experience here is meant to be self-directed, but it is aided by intentional design, language and strategic wayfinding to prompt and guide. A sound meditation experience, developed in collaboration with Woom Center and The Dojo Upstate, is a key component of the Arcana experience. The 50-minute Sound Journey played over Sonos speakers on either side of the bed, uses guided meditative moments, overtone emitting instruments, and breathwork exercises to bring the mind and body into a state of presence. A sleep journey is also available to guide guests into slumber. “The property also features an analog pavilion, a space intentionally designed to allow our guests to go inward, with a wood-burning fireplace, seasonally curated selection of vinyl and self-serve tea,” adds Synder.
Recently, Toronto-based artist Celia Lees’ travelled to Arcana and discovered an unparalleled opportunity to recalibrate her artistic vision with different materials, temperatures, and processes. With its incessant noise and chaotic energy, Lees’ Toronto studio is a world apart from Arcana’s tranquil surroundings. The contrast between the two environments was an entirely new adventure for her, a fresh canvas to unleash her creative talents.
Lees adapted to the unique conditions of the Arcana environment, cultivating her artistic sensibilities and utilizing her surroundings to create one-of-a-kind works. “Being at Arcana felt like a completely clean slate to work with. It enhanced my practice by learning to work with what was around me and to utilize it”, adds Lees, a feeling that any guest at Arcana can experience.
In addition to the surroundings, Arcana offers a culinary experience with chef-prepared meals in partnership with the renowned Bruce Wine Bar. The cabin’s coffee ritual is designed to help guests slow down and appreciate the moment, featuring a hand grinder and pour-over setup with instructions on brewing the perfect cup of coffee from Good Grief, a local roaster in Thornbury. As an alternative, loose-leaf oolong tea from Collingwood’s Grow Tea Company, founded by an Arcana employee, is also available. To complete the sensory experience, guests will find an apothecary from Sangre de Fruta.
The concept is dedicated to improving well-being; every detail is carefully considered and continuously evaluated. Research has shown that just 20 minutes in nature can positively impact mental health and well-being. Arcana is the access point that enables people to access the restorative powers of nature.
Arcana’s contemporary cabins are the epitome of a serene retreat, offering a simplistic and minimalist design surrounded by nature. These cabins provide a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and connect with the natural world in a truly meaningful way. Beyond mere lodgings, Arcana is revolutionizing hospitality and the idea of a natural getaway with cabins that embody sustainability, stunning aesthetics and a homey ambiance. We’re sure they will satisfy your craving for adventure and restoration.
Book your spring stay at Arcana starting February 23 – Words by Moe Topping.