Soaking at Sunrise Springs Spa Resort: de-stress in a private ojito

What better way to unwind and relax than by soaking at Sunrise Springs Spa Resort? The resort, a calming oasis, is about twenty minutes southwest of Santa Fe. Entering the grounds is like entering another world. The landscape changes from browns and faded greens to a verdant tree-filled Shangri-La. The reason: the area has underground springs which make a difference in this semi-arid climate. It’s also a haven of tranquility.

Sunrise Springs started as a small conference center in the late 70s and became a holistic resort in 2000. It never quite hit its stride and closed in 2012. Luckily, in 2013 it was purchased by the Scott family, stewards of the successful Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs and Resort and was opened as a wellness retreat in 2015. At first, limited to solely to the resort’s overnight guests, it has since opened both the spa and the Blue Heron restaurant to the public.

We were invited to take a soak in one of the spa’s private pools, called “ojitos,” Spanish for little eyes, followed by lunch at Blue Heron. Since we’re big fans of food and soaking we, of course, said yes. On an unseasonably warm mid-April Thursday we headed to Sunrise Springs to enjoy the waters.

Arriving at the Sunrise Springs Spa

Soaking at Sunrise Springs Spa Resort - Visit the shop at Sunrise Springs' spa photo Billie Frank

The reception area to the right and shop at Sunrise Springs’ spa photo/Billie Frank

When we arrived at the refurbished spa and were blown away. If you had been there during Sunrise’s former incarnation, you’re in for a joyous surprise. The spa, done in soothing earth tones, is a peaceful sanctuary, the perfect place to escape from daily stresses. The lobby has four seating areas, each with its own character. The overall feeling is very Zen. I could have sat there for hours.

We were given robes, towels and lockers and left to change in the spacious, single-person bathrooms. When we emerged, we were escorted to the Ojito area which is in a separate building. Once there, the gracious spa attendant showed us the steam showers to use either before or after out soak as well as the eucalyptus-infused co-ed steam room. While you can soak au natural, you’ll want a swim suit or a towel to wrap yourself in for the steam.

Soaking at Sunrise Springs Spa Resort

Soaking at Sunrise Springs Spa Resort - The spacious private ojitos can easily accommodate four, photo Steve Collins

The spacious private ojitos can easily accommodate four, photo/Steve Collins

After opening the door to our private ojito, the attendant explained the set-up and left us to our soak. The spacious ojito pool area has a shower, two boxes of water, shelves and hooks for your stuff. You could even use this as your changing room if you don’t want to walk through the spa area in a robe; you could also change in Ojito area’s private bathroom. The spacious four-person jetted gunite pool, set out under the sky is separated from the outdoors by vertical louvers that you can either leave open or close. The spacious tub overlooks the pond and the resort’s verdant landscape.

Soaking at Sunrise Springs Spa Resoort - The view from from the ojito with slats open, photo Billie Frank

View from the ojito with slats open, photo/Billie Frank

We settled into the pleasantly hot water to start our 50-minute soak. Lying back and looking up at the very blue New Mexico sky I though how wonderful it would be to soak at night under the stars. My plan: to book a nighttime soak in an ojito for my birthday. By that time, the ojitos will each have a kiva fireplace, which would be perfect to take the chill out the air if there is one, or for some romantic atmosphere.

Après soak

Soaking at Sunrise Springs Spa Resort - One of the relaxing sitting area at the spa, photo Steve Collins

One of the relaxing sitting area at the spa, photo/Steve Collins

We soaked for a while, took a break and then soaked again and repeated. I emerged from the water before our allotted time was up. If I had to describe how I felt it would be “wet noodle.” I was more relaxed than I’d been in ages. I headed for the shower; Steve remained in the pool until our time was up. I usually bring my own soap as I’m sensitive to most scents. I had left it home. Tentatively, I sniffed the liquid soap provided; it smelled wonderful. I could use this soap. On a roll, I figured I’d test the shampoo and conditioner. They were both wonderful. I later discovered that the products, also used at Ojo Caliente, are formulated for the resorts by Milagro Herbs, a Santa Fe company. They sell them in the Spa shop After he finished soaking Steve headed for the steam room. I went back to the spa building, changed into my clothes and sank into a couch to wait for him. I had no urge to move.

Once Steve emerged and changed, relaxed we slowly headed to Blue Heron Restaurant, Sunrise Spring’s on-site eatery for a light lunch.

If you g0

Soaking at Sunrise Springs Spa Resort - The new repose pools will be pondside, photo Steve Collins

The new repose pools will be pondside, photo Steve Collins

In addition to the ojitos there are currently two one-person soaking tubs which can be infused with magnesium. Sunrise’s website says that the “detoxifying bath helps relieve stress and body aches.” They’re also going to be adding “repose pools.” These will be made from steel end caps from large above ground propane tanks.  The pools will be surrounded by flagstone with latilla shade structures. There will be chaise lounges and hammocks to relax in between soaks. Having a spa treatment? A soak is the perfect add-on before or after. Rates for the tubes and pools are on Sun Rise Spring’s website.

We really enjoyed soaking at Sunrise Springs Spa Resort. Need to get rid of stress? Book an ojito and soak all your cares away.

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