For centuries, spa-goers have sought out the soothing and healing waters of the hot springs. From the Romans to the Native Americans, the hot spring has long held a kind of medicinal position in wellness living. In fact, the Native Americans believed their Great Spirit resided in the earth's core and the hot springs were a special gift from their creator. The water from a hot spring is known to contain high levels of mineral essentials which offer certain healing properties.
The medical community may not have proven actual medical results from the use of hot springs, but that hasn't stopped people from seeking out their soothing waters. The spa and hotel industry have spent millions renovating and restoring 19th and 20th-century hot springs resorts to their original grandeur, while putting a modern spin on the service menu.
At the Glenwood Hot Springs in Glenwood, Colorado, patrons gather at the largest outdoor geothermal pool. More than three blocks long, Glenwood Hot Springs captures the hot springs as they bubble up at 5,760 feet. The 122-degree waters are cooled down to a more swimmer-friendly 104 degrees so guests can enjoy the mineral-rich waters year round. In 2008, a 17,000-square-foot facility will open offering affordably priced body and skin care treatments.
Nutrient-rich mud mixed with hot spring water is the soup d'jour at Solage Calistoga Resort in Calistoga, California. This eco-chic resort features geothermal treatments for couples, families and friends seeking a rural setting featuring luxury standards. Guests enjoy the "mud mojito" or "mud-tinis" and state-of-the-art "sound chairs" that float guests into zero-gravity. Soaking tubs filled with geothermal waters provide the ultimate elixir for spa goers.
When the West Baden Springs Hotel in French Lick, Indiana, opened during the Gilded Age, its gigantic dome was considered the "Eighth Wonder of the World." A recent renovation completed in 2007 has brought this property to National Historic Landmark status and comes complete with health and wellness services for the serious spa goer. A 27,000-square-foot spa facility features full-body capsules with the famous mineral water that made this property an undisputed first-class resort.
An American classic, the Roosevelt Bathhouse in Saratoga Springs, New York, is located at the Gidion Putnum Hotel Resort & Spa, built in 1935. Set amidst the 2,200-acre natural beauty of Saratoga Springs State Park, the treatments here are comparable to those found at the great European spas. The property's turn-of-the-century charm and hot spring-inspired baths revitalize guests seeking a respite from the modern world.
Situated in remote Middleton, California, Harbin Hot Springs was the birthplace of Watsu, courtesy of therapist Harold Dull, who combined Zen shiatsu with water. Simple but comfortable cottages or campgrounds serve as the accommodations where guests find solitude following treatment sessions like waterdance or cranial sacral balancing. But the real draw of the property is the warm natural spring pools located throughout the 2,000-acre property.
With esteemed guests including Thomas Jefferson, the Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia, knows a thing or two about warm, Southern hospitality. The classic American spa offers signature mud wraps and mineral baths. Jefferson spent three weeks bathing in the springs three times a day, and today's guests can do the same - donned in vintage swimming wear. It is a place built on the centuries-old tradition of "taking waters," but stands ready to offer guests innovative luxury spa treatments.
From world-class spa treatments to fine dining, The Greenbriar in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, has it all. Recently undergoing a $50 million renovation, the focus of the 40,000-square-foot facility remains its natural mineral and sulphur waters. Featured in two signature treatments, guests can partake of the Waterworks which includes a dip in one of three mineral baths and a vertical body spa, or the Sulphur Soak, ideal for those with tired or sore muscles.
Geologix Inc. manufactures products using a proprietary formula featuring 34 natural minerals contained in the ancient sea water from the famous Michigan Basin -- a concentration of minerals higher than that found in any known body of water in the world. Mineral Essentials focuses on spa, skin care, and massage products to moisturize and provide anti-aging protection for great skin. Mineral Essentials