For centuries, people have flocked to hot springs to relax and rejuvenate. Known as nature’s Jacuzzis, hot springs develop when water is naturally heated as it comes into contact with rocks deep within the Earth’s interior.
Lucky for us, you can find them around the world in some seriously luxurious settings. From a Japanese-inspired mountain getaway to a mineral-rich soak in the U.K., these four hot springs are worth a visit.
TEN THOUSAND WAVES, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Inspired by Japanese mountain hot spring resorts, New Mexico’s Ten Thousand Waves offers guests a tranquil 20-acre setting in the mountains that’s minutes from downtown Santa Fe.
Relax in water sourced from a well at these outdoor tubs while you’re surrounded by pinions and junipers and away from city noise. Ten Thousand Waves features six tubs total. Soak in the communal Grand Bath—one of two tubs open to the public—where you also can enjoy a cold- plunge pool, a sunning deck, and a large wet/dry sauna.The other public tub is the Women’s Communal Tub, which features a 12-by-7-foot oval bath, a sauna and sun deck.
The resort’s four private tubs can provide space for an intimate gathering. For example, guests can book the New Wave tub that features an underwater recliner, underwater benches, a flume with a waterfall, a sauna, and a cold-plunge pool.
To further immerse yourself in nature, consider a spa treatment that you can experience in a private pagoda in the woods. Post-tub-time, nosh on authentic upscale Japanese bar food at the on-site James Beard-award-nominated restaurant, Izanami.
DUNTON HOT SPRINGS, Dolores, Colorado
Dunton Hot Springs is an 1800s ghost town-turned resort. Look forward to the opportunity to really get away, as you won’t get cell service in this town that’s located in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, about one hour from Telluride.
The 1,600-acre campus features seemingly endless skies, dramatic Colorado mountains studded with bright green trees, and rustic and luxurious cabins in addition to natural hot springs. Fun fact: miners originally soothed their aching joints in these waters.
The main hot spring on the property, The Source, supplies hot water to five other hot springs. Relax outdoors at The Source, inside the 19th-century bathhouse’s hot spring, outside in the pool by the bathhouse, or on the river at Christoph’s spring. Guests who reserve the Well House or Dunton Store have access to private hot springs.
If you’re not staying in Dunton you can buy a “Lunch and Soak” package. Reservations are required and based on availability.
THERMAE BATH SPA, Bath, United Kingdom
Aptly named, Bath is the only city in the United Kingdom that’s home to hot springs. A mix of modern and historic, Thermae Bath Spa includes four main baths. Head to the rooftop’s New Royal Bath Main Spa to lounge in the naturally warm waters that Queen Anne once soaked in while you take in views of the city. The indoor Minerva bath features striking columns, massage jets, a whirlpool, and even a lazy river.
Separate from the other two, The Cross Bath is an open-air thermal bath that’s inside one of Bath’s cream-colored historical buildings. The Cross Bath is open to the public, but you also can book a private party for up to 10 or partake in an individual session here.
The only way to access the historic Hot Bath is to purchase a Watsu massage. Thermae Bath Spa also offers a variety of spa treatments. After your dip, feast on fresh and nutritious cuisine at the Springs Restaurant.
OJO CALIENTE MINERAL SPRINGS AND SPA RESORT, Ojo Caliente, New Mexico
At 150 years old, New Mexico’s Ojo Caliente is one of the oldest health spas in the country. The natural waters flowing at Ojo have been considered sacred for centuries by eight Northern Pueblo tribes. About one hour from Taos, the resort is home to five different mineral pools. Four of the five pools feature stunning and expansive blue skies and natural rock formations as a backdrop. Ojo also includes a mud pool, and three private outdoor mineral pools complete with a wood-burning Kiva fireplace that you can book for up to eight people. The main bathhouse also offers private soaking tubs. Reserve a deluxe suite to stay overnight, indulge in a spa treatment, or participate in a plethora of outdoor activities like yoga and hiking.
CASTLE ROCK HOT SPRINGS,
Located about one hour from Phoenix, Castle Rock Hot Springs is slated to re-open in the fall of 2018 (it closed in 1976 after a fire). Visitors can look forward to soaking in odorless pure mineral water from a natural source that’s more than 100 years old, in three natural rock grotto soaking pools, the main resort swimming pool, and at guest bungalows.
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Mineral-rich waters, like the ones found in hot springs, are thought to have therapeutic effects. Studies have shown that hot spring water rich in carbonate ions may promote wound healing. Additional studies say that hot spring water may aid in treatment of cardiovascular disease, dermatitis, asthma, and inflammatory arthritis.