Hillcrest Victorian Inn – A Valenova Spa Scheduled to Close in January

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Award-winning spa buckles under economy

An award-winning and internationally known wellness spa that has made Port Hope its home for the last four years is closing in January.

Owner Robin Dines announced yesterday that the Hillcrest Victorian Inn – A Valenova Spa will close on Jan. 31, 2009 due to the state of the economy.

“When it comes to tough times, it’s the luxury expenses that people sacrifice first,” Ms. Dines said.

Eight full-time and 22 casual part-time employees have helped the Hillcrest be named one of the world’s top 10 spas by Spa Finder, Inc. It has also won awards from the SpaFinder Reader’s Choice Awards for its treatments and cuisine and hosted clients from all over the world, including Japan, Germany and throughout the United Kingdom.

Ms. Dines said the business’s steady growth ended in the spring of this year, and has been on a “dramatic decline” since then.

“I’m on my own here. I don’t have the staying power,” said Ms. Dines, who noted that choosing to close was a hard and painful decision to make.

“We’re going into a recession, not coming out of one,” she explained, adding she doesn’t believe they could survive what is yet to come in Canada’s current economic crisis.

The Victorian-style red brick mansion that sits on the 13.9 acres of land at 175 Dorset St.West, including a lush forest along the waterfront, will now be up for sale.

“Hopefully someone will buy it that will want to continue the work we started,” said a sad Ms. Dines.

She said her priority now is to keep the spa running at its usual quality until it’s very last day. After that, she has no plans for her own future.

The spa will continue to operate until its closure and advise guests with a reservation past that date that their deposit will be refunded.

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