Ojo Caliente, NM’s Hot Springs Hotel is Among the U.S.’s Oldest Spas and a Luxurious Treat

In the month of romance, here is a suggestion that takes in a New Mexico romantic hot spot, as in literally hot. When I lived in New Mexico, my most favorite stay was at Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa north of Santa Fe. This is a place one can go with a best friend, a significant other, a spouse, or on your own and be wowed with well-deserved R&R.

Ojo Caliente opened as a spa in 1868 making it one of the oldest spas in the United States. Its 12 pools and private tubs are fed by spring water that Pueblo Indians deemed sacred more than 3,000 years ago. When I stayed there, the inn and spa had not gone through its transformation into upscale posh, although what I thought was so funky, charming and interesting still exists.

A queen room in the Historic Hotel

The original mission revival style adobe hotel opened in 1916 is still there. Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, the hotel has single queen and double queen rooms with half baths. There is bathhouse with private showers just like when the hotel first opened. The original hotel rooms are tasteful and simple and don’t have TVs. For accommodations with electronic entertainment, head to the suites and cottages.

Entrance to the original hotel in winter

Cliffside Suites face the cliffs bordering the property. Pueblo Suites overlook the courtyard, and Plaza Suites are the newest. Each have private baths, access to the newly built Kiva Pool, and are furnished with traditional New Mexican furniture, satellite TV, a microwave and a mini-fridge. The Cliffside and Pueblo Suites have a kiva-style fireplace. Cottages include dishes.

Private houses, the Adobe House built in 1900, and the Ojo House built in 1930 are two other options. These have fully-equipped kitchens.

For any guests plush robes are available for use during ones stay and WiFi is free. Cell phones, however, can only be used in guest lodging or the parking lot.

The Soda Pool, part of the original bathhouse

As wonderful as the accommodations are, its Ojo Caliente’s spa treatment that had me make a return visit. On my first visit, I soaked in the Soda Spring, an inside pool of no talking that’s part of the original bathhouse. The stone rock walls and stained glass give a funky, sort of mysterious vibe. During my second visit, I soaked in a private tub. After soaking, the most basic treatment involves the Milagro Wrap which is being wrapped in a soft sheet then a heavy blanket which feels so divine.

Several other spa treatments including basic to hot stone massages are available-each designed to help you rejuvenate to your better self. In addition to the Soda Spring pool there’s the Lithia, Iron and Arsenic Spring pools and a Mud Pool. Each with waters deemed to have restorative properties. Ojo Caliente has its own brand of luxurious soaps, shampoos and lotions for guest use.

Fish tacos with farm-to-table ingredients

New to the property since I stayed is the Ojo Farm which provides farm-to-table dining in the Artesian Restaurant and Wine Bar Lounge. Healthy and tasteful are served up with New Mexican flavors. Green chili is a must, particularly when fish tacos, my favorite, are a menu item. Salads are a feast of flavor and color.

Along with the hot springs, the beauty of this part of New Mexico is a draw. My second visit was part of a tour that included horseback riding and a hike along the terrain where an ancient Posi Pueblo used to be. The spring’s property adjoins thousands of acres of national forest and public land for exploring. Birding, hiking and biking are great here, although you will need to bring your own bike. There are bike rentals not far from the property.

Adobe Round Barn

Another historic landmark that’s an Ojo Caliente must-see is the Adobe Round Barn. Like the original bathhouse and the original hotel, the Adobe Round Barn, built in 1924 is on the National Registry of Historic Places. The barn with its hexagonal cupola was built as a dairy barn to serve the hotel. It was restored in 2002. A bit of movie trivia. The barn is prominently featured in “Young Guns,” the western with Keifer Sutherland, Emilio Estevez, Charlie Sheen and Lou Diamond Philips that tells the story of how Billy the Kid turned bad.

Rates range from $169 to $249. The spa is also open to day guests. Regardless if you are an overnight guest or stopping in for a day, make reservations ahead for a spa treatment. Also check out spa and lodging package deals on the spa page. There are several.

Book this hotel or others in Santa Fe through Trivago.

Post courtesy of Jamie Rhein. Photos courtesy of Ojo Caliente.

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