When I arrived at Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs & Spa with my friend Maria, I was bundled in a sweatshirt, sweatpants, and ski parka. It was in the twenties! We were shocked to find hardy souls in bathing suits and flip-flops. After our massages and mineral soaks, we had almost joined the club, stripped down to T-shirts and sweats. Here are the highlights as we both experienced them:
Wolf says: For just an hour’s drive north of Santa Fe, Ojo Caliente made me feel like I’d gotten away into the country. The snow-splashed mountains along U.S. 285 gave off an expansive vibe. At lunch, the Green Chile Fries (potato-crusted Poblano chiles) were a crunchy treat alongside the Ojo Fish Tacos (blackened mahi-mahi, mango salsa, and jicama peanut slaw). Soaking in our private iron-arsenic pool with our own kiva fireplace and mountains just steps away was memorable – – as well as making us feel like we were in that fabulous western McCabe and Mrs. Miller.
Maria says: I arrived from California on New Year’s Eve wearing fleece and fake fur to visit my friend Wolf. I was looking forward to returning to Ojo Caliente after 20 years, yet when I got there I didn’t recognize it due to its recent facelift. Lunch was created by Culinary Institute of America-trained chef Neil Stuart, an ex-New Yorker (as I). I was disappointed that my long-remembered Watsu treatment was no longer available, but delighted we could share a private pool with minerals known for improving circulation, immune systems, and arthritis, enhanced by our kiva fireplace’s heat and wonderful aroma. As we drove home feeling reinvigorated, I thought, what a great beginning to 2012 to warm up in the waters of New Mexico’s high desert.