Whether under a brisk winter's starry sky or wrapped in a peaceful, feng shui indoor environment, there's something magical and rejuvenating about floating weightlessly in a hot tub or in natural hot springs or surrendering yourself to a deep-tissue massage – especially after a day of skiing or hiking.
And maybe nowhere is more heralded for its restorative properties than Northern New Mexico's Ojo Caliente (“Hot Spring”) Mineral Springs Resort & Spa.
A visit to Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa is an unforgettable experience and its natural setting against the desert cliffs is incomparable. Ojo Caliente, which opened to the public in 1868, is more than “old” springs; the springs are ancient. Ojo Caliente has been a gathering place and a source of healing for thousands of years.
The use of its waters can be traced back to the earliest human migrations in the region. The ancestors of today’s Native American Tewa tribes built large pueblos and terraced gardens overlooking the springs. Surrounding the more than 100,000 gallons of percolating waters that rise to the surface are excavated ruins of the pueblos. Posi or Poseouinge, “village at the place of the green bubbling hot springs,” was the largest of four pueblos that encircled the springs and was home to thousands of people.
Ojo Caliente touts four different types of sulfur-free, geothermal mineral waters that have flowed from a subterranean volcanic aquifer for thousands of years. In fact, Ojo Caliente is the only hot springs in the world with four different types of mineral water, including lithia, iron, soda and arsenic. The layout of the property is spacious. Eleven pools are filled with different types and combinations of waters with temperatures ranging from 80-109 degrees.
Ojo Caliente is a full-service spa destination. Accommodations range from the historic hotel to cottages and suites. So if there is someone in your party who doesn’t ski or snowboard, you may want to consider just booking your lodging at Ojo. After all, your non-skiing friend will not be bored. Hiking and yoga may be done on-site, as well as a variety of spa treatments for the body and mind. The dining at the Artesian Restaurant is sumptuous in a casual, yet charming atmosphere.
The famous spa offers a number of winter packages, including the “Ski, Soak & Stay Special." Skiers can bring their lift tickets or season passes from any New Mexico ski resort and receive either 20 percent off entry to the mineral springs or 20 percent off any room for an overnight stay. The offer excludes holiday periods. This popular bone defroster and après-ski destination commences in the early days of the ski season on Dec. 1 and runs through April 30 after the ski season ends, so ski patrols and staff of New Mexico ski resorts can take advantage of this offer. Contact the resort for specific dates, other terms and conditions and more winter packages.
For outdoor adventurers staying in Taos, Ojo Caliente is only 37 miles south of town. The drive on U.S. 64 over the Río Grande Gorge Bridge is not to be missed. The West Rim Road is paved and the drive is smooth – though keep an eye out for runaway cows at night!
Day-trippers returning to points south (such as Santa Fe or Albuquerque) are encouraged to take another way home via U.S. 285 – off which Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa is located. This route avoids the stop-and-go traffic lights through the middle of Taos and instead takes you on a beautiful and relaxing drive without the hassle. Pop in for a soak at Ojo along the way – your mind and body will thank you.
Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa is located at 50 Los Banos Drive, State Road 414, Ojo Caliente. For more information and other specials, call (505) 583-2233 or visit ojospa.com.
The Spa & Wellness Center at The Blake in Taos Ski Valley
The new crown jewel at Taos Ski Valley, The Blake hotel, opened Feb. 1, 2017, after much anticipation. Many high-end amenities are offered, including those of the pampering variety.
Relaxation and wellness choices include innovative fitness programs and customized spa treatments that draw "from the energy of the mountain, and are inspired by a rich past, spa treatments are designed to connect guests to the goodness of the earth through authentic and therapeutic experiences," as described on skitaos.com. Some treatment options are the “mountain arnica therapeutic massage,” which incorporates stretching, compressions and deep-tissue techniques, to restore mobility and body comfort; “adobe clay wraps”; hand-carved, organic salt stones are used in the “Earth elements” massage”; a “native herbal hydration wrap”; and the “lava flow hot stone massage.” There are also many unique facial treatments to choose from.
On your way to the spa treatment rooms, you'll be treated to a visual bonus of a fine art collection. "You’ll find the true jewels of the Blake Art Collection hanging in its inner sanctum, the Spa at the Blake. The reception area of the spa is a tribute to Rebecca Salsbury James, where two of her rare and delicate reverse-on-glass paintings are displayed," described Two Graces Gallery owner Robert Cafazzo for The Taos News. "You’ll also be enthralled by a loving photographic portrait of James, and yes, that is a stunning portrait painting of James by the great Nicolai Fechin. Leading you to various spa treatment rooms, the hallway is lined with pueblo pottery design prints. Hanging in two seating areas across from each other are historic sepia-rich photographs by Carl Moon. Displayed among all of this is a collection of historic pueblo pottery, each one a fine example of these precious vessels."
Special spa packages for couples are also available.
For a reservation or more information, call (575) 776-5340 or go online to skitaos.com.
El Monte Sagrado
The Living Spa at Taos' luxury, award-winning eco-resort enjoys an international reputation. Inspired by the rich and heralded Northern New Mexico culture, The Living Spa offers a variety of herb-infused treatments performed by professional therapists using indigenous, organic plants, flowers and minerals. Nothing but organic and natural products are used here, such as in the “sacred staurolite” service, which features restorative results, and the “sagrado high desert” treatment of exfoliants, wraps and a massage. A comprehensive menu of treatments can be perused online at elmontesagrado.com.
If meditation is part of your daily routine or you are trying it for the first time, after relaxing body treatment at the spa, ease your mind in The Sacred Circle – located outdoors surrounded by cottonwood and willow trees and blanketed by a backdrop of Taos Mountain (aka Pueblo Peak). The spa also has a pair of hydrotherapy tubs, a saltwater pool and a Japanese-style cedar single-soak tub.
Oxygen therapy, couples packages and even astrology chart and Tarot card readings are also on the spa menu.
El Monte Sagrado is located at 317 Kit Carson Road, just down the hill from historic Taos Plaza.
Living Spa hours are Sunday through Thursday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Advanced booking is required. To make an appointment or for more information, call (575) 737-9880, email email@example.com or visit elmontesagrado.com.
There are also several independent masseuses located in the Taos area. For a comprehensive list, pick up a Medical & Wellness Directory on racks around town or at The Taos News office at 226 Albright St.