Japanese-style spa in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
By Hope S. Philbrick
Ten Thousand Waves, located ten minutes from downtown Santa Fe and near a national forest, is inspired by the hot springs resorts found on Japan’s mountainsides.
The feeling that this is indeed someplace different starts with the 60-foot vertical hike from the parking lot to the spa’s front door*, since American business owners rarely invite customers with such a challenge. But that warm-up hike has its inherent rewards: exercise helps abate stress and, by the time you reach the spa, the pampering that awaits feels well-earned.
Massage and skin-care treatments are available, but hot water is the key attraction here.
A number of hot tubs—some public, some private—are nestled among the piñons and juniper trees.
Book one of the five private tubs at sunset for a relaxing, romantic retreat.
The “One Wave” private tub ($35 for 55 minutes) is a eight-foot teak circle; get inside what feels like a halved sunken barrel. (“This must be how bourbon feels as it ferments,” my husband joked as he soaked.) Private walls and a wooden deck surround three sides while the open-fenced front faces a piñon grove. Heated between 104 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit, the tub can accommodate six but is cozy with two. The tub is shallow, so you can sit on the bottom.
A shared cold-plunge tub is nearby if the combination of the hot water and the steamy gaze from your sweetheart cause overheating.
But this is the sort of fever you want.
Historically, Americans have treated spas as a place to get something done. In the European Kur tradition, spas are places to go if you’re sick. Scandinavians use their spas to get warm. The Japanese, however, go to traditional spas to have a good time, and that’s what we relate to.
— Ten Thousand Waves
*A limited number of parking spaces is available closer to the front door. Considerate grownups save those spots for the folks who really need them.
Odds of Encountering Children: Very high. The spa website addresses the issue of children thusly: “At Ten Thousand Waves, we are inclusive, not exclusive. We welcome well-behaved children in our lodging rooms and baths. We ask that you bring diapers for small children. All should respect the peaceful atmosphere of the environment. If you object to the active nature of children in a spa setting, a private bath, rather than communal, would be a better choice. Anyone under the age of 18 must have the permission of an adult to use any of our facilities. All minors must be accompanied by an adult and wear bathing suits in our communal baths. The parent or guardian does not need to be present during spa treatments. There’s a 50% discount in all baths for those less than four feet tall.” Therefore, @21plusTravel recommends a private tub.
Ten Thousand Waves
3451 Hyde Park Road
Santa Fe NM 87501
– Photos © HSP Media LLC
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