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Review: Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa

Written by: Tony Korologos | Date: Friday, July 31st, 2009
Categories: Golf LifestyleReviewsTravel
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Ojo LogoSometimes being a golf blogger can really suck.  I should quit.  How bad is it to have to go to a fine resort for three days, eat great food, bathe in four different types of hot mineral springs and get massages?  Bad bad bad.  I guess I’d better at least finish this review of Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa before I submit my resignation.

About Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs

Location

Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs is located in Ojo Caliente, New Mexico, about 50 miles outside of Santa Fe.  The nearest decent airport is 111 miles away in Albuquerque.

History

The waters at Ojo have been a haven for many different peoples, from the ancestors of Native American Tewa Indian tribes, to the Spaniards in the 1500′s, to golf bloggers in 2009.  There’s much more detailed history, sans the golf blogger part, here.

Four different mineral springs

Ojo Caliente has the distinction of being the only hot springs on our planet with four distinct types of mineral water:  iron, lithium, soda and arsenic.

There are 10 different pools, some private, filled with these varying waters or combinations of them.  The pool temperatures range from 80-109 degrees F.

Lithia Spring

1. Lithia Spring

In the middle of the facility is an old pump from which you can fill your water bottle.  Water from the Lithia spring tastes a bit odd, but can help with depression.  Some people with depression issues travel hundreds of miles to drink directly from this spring.  The Lithia spring water can also aid with digestion.

2. Soda Spring

I’m not talking about soda pop here.

The soda pool is enclosed and has nice rock walls.  The atmosphere in the soda pool is very relaxing.  The soda steam pool can also aid in relaxation and relieve digestion issues.

3. Iron Spring

The iron spring (right) was wonderful.  I spent a lot of time in this one.  The setting is outside, with a steep New Mexico red rock wall face in the rear.  The iron pool is beneficial to a person’s blood and immune system.

The atmosphere of the iron pool is great, especially at night when the surrounding rocks and mesa behind the facility are illuminated.

The floor of the iron spring is covered with millions of tiny natural pebbles and the warm iron water bubbles up from beneath.  It is fun to find hot spots and dig your feet into the pebbles.

4. Arsenic Spring

Don’t be afraid.  The arsenic pool isn’t going to hurt you, as long as you don’t drink the thing.

I spent the more time in the arsenic spring than any other.  The arsenic spring was the hottest one and I like heat.

I may have spent more time there too because of the arsenic pool’s benefits,  mainly arthritic.  With my bad back and golfer’s elbow I got some noticeable relief.  Other benefits of the pool include helping stomach ulcers and skin conditions.

Mud Pool

I had a seriously fun time in the mud pool at Ojo Caliente.   What you do is dip your hands in the mud, which is made from the fine New Mexico red rock clay, then cover your body with it.

After you’re covered with mud, you lay out in the sun and let the mud bake dry.  It has quite an interesting feeling as it stretches and exfoliates your skin.  Toxins and deposits are released from your pores as well, leaving the skin feeling very clean and smooth.

Below is a little mud bath video I shot at Ojo:

Accommodations

The accommodations at Ojo Caliente are wonderful.  There are several types to choose from:

The Cliffside Suites (pictured below left) feature their own private outdoor soaking tub, two queen sized beds, kitchen, Kiva fireplace and more.

Across from the Cliffside Suites are the Pueblo Suites.  The Pueblos feature roughly the same amenities, minus the private outdoor soaking tub.

I had the pleasure of staying in one of the on site Private Homes (pictured below right).  These feature more privacy, full kitchens and multiple baths.  My kitchen had a 50′s vibe to it, which was neat.

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The Cottages are more modest in feature sets and pricing, featuring kitchenettes, nice furnishings and coffee makers (required in my book).

The last room option would be in the Historic Hotel, where the pricing and feature set is the most modest.

If you like to camp or RV Ojo has you taken care of as well, with a peaceful area under large cottonwoods to pitch or tent.

Artisian Restaurant

Dining

One of the best experiences I had was at the Ojo Caliente restaurant, called The Artesian (pictured right).  I got in late and needed some food.  It was closing time but they took me in.  Thank goodness because I had two of the best culinary experiences ever.

I’m a very finicky eater but I decided to go out and try some new stuff.

I started with the Artesian “Cowboy Caesar” salad.  Rather than being sardine based, the dressing was based on beef jerky!  What a great idea and one of the best salads I’ve ever had.

Following my salad I had them make me a quesadilla with goat cheese and marinated artichokes.  To quote teenage girls who text for a form of communication, “OMFG!”  Wow that was incredible.

Below is a YouTube video of a little “on the spot” testimonial I did while eating at the Artesian:

The Spa

The Ojo Caliente Spa has a full list of offerings: Massage therapy, skin care, body treatments and nail studio.

I had the pleasure of experiencing a good old standard Swedish massage in the historic bath house pictured right.  After my 2nd day of golfing at Black Mesa Golf Club, that massage followed by dips in the mineral pools was a great way to loosen my tight back and muscles.

My massage therapist found knots in my upper back I didn’t know I had, and she eliminated them.  She also focused on my golfer’s elbow and brought me great relief.

The grounds, the vibe

It is hard to lump the rest of Ojo Caliente’s facility into any category.  Let me just call it the “vibe.”

First, people are all walking around, from massages to mineral springs in their robes, which are provided as guests.  So instantly there’s a relaxed atmosphere.

There are all sorts of neat little areas to hang out, including the nightly bonfire which I attended in my robe.  I loved the smell of the fire and the sound of the wood crackling.

Conclusion

I could go on and on about how great of a vibe there is at Ojo Caliente, and how great the amenities, pools, food and service are.

Hanging out there was almost like going to another planet.  I had wonderful experiences and therapies I didn’t know even existed here on Earth.

Related links:

Ojo Caliente web site

My Ojo Caliente photo gallery (50 photos)

Golf close to Ojo Caliente at Black Mesa Golf Club.

Pueblo Indian Puye Cliff Dwellings

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