Total tranquility can be found in the hills of Santa Fe, New Mexico. A short drive up a mountainside will bring you to Ten Thousand Waves Spa.
Think Japanese Onsen (natural hot spring spa) meets mountain escape. And don’t forget all that zen.
Only a short ten minutes from the heart of Santa Fe, Ten Thousand Waves Spa, is nearly as famous as Georgia O’Keefe here. OK, maybe not exactly, but close!
The spa/resort is known for their outdoor hot baths, luxurious massages, facials and body treatments.
I had to try one of the outdoor baths. I chose ‘Ichiban‘—their “super premium” and private soaking tub and relaxation area.For $39 (rates change throughout the seasons and are per person), I was afforded my own little slice of heaven for an hour and a half.
You’re handed a key and asked to cut off from the world. Trust me, we all need this!
I spent most of my time meditating in the tub. It was a chilly February day so it was great to warm up in the bubbly water and stare out at the New Mexico mountainside with snow capped trees and birds chirping in the distance.
You can’t exactly tell from the photo, but the ceramic “teacup” baths are turquoise. It was the most beautiful and serene color. It really feels like you are experiencing something special.
I have a little bit of ADD, so I couldn’t just spend my entire 90 minutes soaking. There was plenty of other relaxing to do!
I loved having my own private sauna. I savored the hot, steamy air and felt replenished and detoxed.
Want to wash off after your soak or sauna? There is a shower, two ways. One is the Japanese-style seated and the other is an American-style standing (never knew there was a difference!) with open windows to look outdoors.
There is also a granite vanity with mirrors, a hair dryer, extra slippers and the whole nine yards (towels, toiletries, the like) if you’re making a day of it.
Next to the tubs, there is a cooling berth—a place to cool down or take a little cat nap.
And I would be remiss not to tell you about the amazing Japanese toilet that does almost anything you can imagine (seriously). No need for toilet paper—this puppy dries you off pronto! TMI? I hope not!
After my solo time, I was off to my therapeutic massage. While waiting, I sipped on peppermint tea while soaking my feet in a foot bath overlooking the koi pond (see the top photo). I also took a few minutes to sit in the relaxation room. Here you can put on noise cancelling headphones and listen to the sound of falling rain, or decompress with some silent yoga. Can’t get much better, right? After, my masseuse lead me to the treatment room.
I was able to watch a few snow flakes fly as I looked out the floor-to-ceiling window while laying on the massage table. There is nothing bad to say about my massage. Overall, it was one of the most relaxing ones I’ve experienced.
But it was different than other massages I’ve had for two reasons. One—she did not leave the treatment room as I got undressed. Of course, she didn’t stare at me as I changed out of my kimono, but it was a surprise! Two—during the end of the massage she stretched me out. This was really cool. She gently pulled my limbs and moved them around to get that perfect, comfortable “stretched out” feeling. When it was all done, I was literally in a state of bliss.
I even brought home a little souvenir to remember my time here.
It’s a pocket sized bear made out of a real Japanese kimono. Isn’t it cute!? I keep it in my car to remind me of the peace I experienced on my trip to the Southwest and at Ten Thousand Waves.
All in all—and I think you can tell—I loved this spa and would happily go back! If you happen to be in the Santa Fe area, don’t miss it. Or, if you’re looking for a destination spa or retreat, I highly reccomend Ten Thousand Waves. There is plenty to choose from, they offer reasonable treatment rates and I know you’ll leave with a smile on your face and peace in your heart.
Have you been to Ten Thousand Waves? What was your experience? Please share your thoughts in the comments below and help out our fellow adventurers!