Hot springs and New Mexico—are those two items on your boomer travel list? In today’s guest post, Billie Frank of The Santa Fe Traveler introduces us to Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs and Spa.
The good news for boomers is that 60 is the new 40 and 70 is the new 60. Most of us are aging way more gracefully than our parents did. Much of this is because we’re a pampered generation that takes good care of ourselves. What better way to pamper than a getaway to a mineral hot springs? Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs and Spa is a relaxing and rejuvenating oasis in Northern New Mexico an hour northwest of Santa Fe.
The word spa has come to mean a place that offers body treatments, whether attached to a luxury hotel or an in-town day destination. In the old days, spa was an acronym “Sanitas per Aquam,” or “Salus per Aquas” (both Latin for health through water). Think Baden-Baden, Marienbad in Europe, Saratoga Springs in New York or the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs and Spa offers three different therapeutic mineral waters in seven public pools, three private pools and a host of soaking tubs. Not only is the water relaxing and restorative, each has its own reported healing properties. Iron is considered to be beneficial to the blood and immune system. Soda is said to relieve digestive problems and arsenic is believed to be beneficial for arthritis, stomach ulcers and a variety of skin conditions.
The seven public pools, including a seasonal mud pool, are open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. If you want to really get away from folks, the private soaking pools with wood burning kiva fireplaces are the way to go. My favorite time to soak in these is at night when a canopy of stars twinkle overhead. Book early; everyone else wants to soak at night, too. There are also private individual tubs for rent, reminiscent of the old bathhouses of days gone by.
For more active boomers, Ojo has a lot to offer. There are a profusion of hiking trails, including ones leading to Posi Ouinge, the remains of a 16th century pueblo. You’ll also discover an old mine and lots of high desert flora and fauna. There are trails for mountain biking and a leisurely, sandy loop for beach bikes. In winter, why not try snowshoeing? Hiking with a guide is a smart choice; they know the terrain, the history of the area and the flora and fauna that you’ll encounter. On my guided hike, the guide identified fresh bear scat, a good thing to be aware of when out on the trail. If you want to leave this little piece of paradise for a day, there’s lots to do in the area.
One of the great things about Ojo is the wide variety of lodging options. Come soak and spa for a day or spend a few days in this peaceful oasis. There’s a wide variety of accommodations ranging from RV and camping sites to suites with wood burning fireplaces and private tubs on the patio. All accommodations (except RV and camping) include complimentary soaking privileges every day of your stay. The Historic Hotel, a 1916 mission-revival adobe building, offers no frills accommodations that, when you figure in the soaking perks, almost pay for themselves. I recommend splurging on one of the three suite-type accommodations arranged around a pueblo-style plaza. They are tastefully and comfortably appointed, some offering fireplaces and soaking tubs. The main reason I love them is the private kiva soaking pool, the centerpiece of the plaza that is for suite guests only. It has longer hours and in quiet times, you may have it to yourself. Imagine starting your day here at 6 a.m. or ending it here at midnight.
The resort’s Artesian Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and lighter fare can be found in the Wine Bar & Lounge. If you want to dine off-property, there are a few funky cafes in town and a bit down the road you’ll find Rancho de San Juan, an upscale inn. They welcome non-guests for dinner by advance reservation only.
Ponce de Leon spent years looking for the Fountain of Youth. While they don’t guarantee that you’ll get younger, you may feel that way after a visit to Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs and Spa.
Billie Frank is a Santa Fe based freelance writer covering Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico for her blog Santa Fe Travelers. and other online publication. Her business The Santa Fe Traveler, designs unique experiences for visitors to Santa Fe. You can find Billie on Facebook and on Twitter.
All photos courtesy Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs and Spa.