Nestled at the base of the picturesque Carmel Valley hills is a hidden treasure: The Refuge Day Spa. Unlike your normal spa in which everything is set indoors and focuses primarily on body treatments, The Refuge incorporates both indoor and outdoor spaces to compliment their heat up-cool down-relax experience. The Refuge experience is like no other. It rejuvenates body, mind and spirit. It is worth the drive from Los Altos, Mountain View or beyond to relax and unwind.
Its mission to rejuvenate, renew, refresh, relax and re-energize is one The Refuge most definitely fulfills. The gorgeous natural setting, white robes and silence policy all contribute to the sense of peace and tranquility. The grounds include a variety of hot, warm, cool and cold plunge pools, all part of their Thermal Cycle experience designed to help your body eliminate toxins, improve circulation and reduce stress. The cycle includes a 6 to 10 minute heat up in either the dry or steam saunas, 10 to 60 second cool down in a cool or cold plunge pool followed by a 10-15 minute relaxation period. Relaxation options include zero-gravity reclining chairs in one of three indoor sanctuaries overlooking the grounds or curling up in your robe in an Adirondack chair around a blazing fire pit. To achieve maximum benefits, it is recommended to repeat this cycle 3 to 5 times during your visit.
In the interim, explore the 2 acres of serene outdoor relaxation areas, enjoy a massage, take a soak in one of the warm or hot pools, both with thermal waterfalls and impressive rock formations.
The perfect time to experience The Refuge is late afternoon into early evening. As the sun sets behind the hills and the sky darkens, the fires continue to blaze and provide warmth while the grounds are lit, highlighting the waterfalls, pools and pathways.
To enjoy The Refuge, you must be at least 18 years of age. Admission is $44 and robe rental is an additional $12 (or you can bring your own white robe). Massages are extra and run $115 for 50 minutes or $186 for 100 minutes…and they are worth every penny. Appointments aren’t necessary to enjoy The Refuge but massages should be booked in advance. There are well-appointed men and women’s locker rooms where, once your visit is over, you can shower and dress, maybe for a leisurely dinner in downtown Carmel. Swimsuits are required and we recommend grabbing a bite to eat beforehand and bringing a book and a bottle of water.
Thought a typical visit lasts between 2 and 3 hours, visitors are welcome to rejuvenate, renew, refresh, relax and re-energize for as long as they’d like.
For directions, benefits of the Thermal Cycle or to find out more about The Refuge, visit their website.