Ten Thousand Waves

This place lives up to every bit of the hype. This place is like the spa version of the service top of your dreams who anticipates your every desire and provides you with aftercare so good the pesky debate in your head about cultural appropriation quiets to a whisper. I am writing this from the morning after, and my body still feels relaxed and blissful.

My friend and I went to Ten Thousand Waves after a snowstorm and I can’t imagine Ten Thousand Waves any other way? The simplistic description of Ten Thousand Waves is that it’s about Japanese onsen rituals. But I think Ten Thousand Waves’ actual appeal lies in the sensuality of materials and nature. Unlike Korean spas, which distract with a cornucopia of delights, this spa is extensive, but minimal, in that my senses were asked to focus on very specific elements in the environment—the smell of the junipers towering above you, the crisp snow falling on the amber wood, the hot clear mineral water, the warm heat of the sauna, the sweet smelling bamboo mats, even the piano music playing through headphones in the relaxation room at a perfectly calibrated volume. I loved limiting my senses to exploring these particular stimulants and I think hanging out in the midst of this particular mix induced a meditative state that lasted for hours. I particularly loved the women’s only clothing-optional bath as a way to be with self and nature.

This spa excels at attention to detail and understanding that bathing encompasses more than just a dip in hot water, but instead is a ritual performed from start to finish. And thus, Ten Thousand Waves provides cloth kimonos to begin the ritual, tea to close the ritual, and the most sumptuous creamy juniper-scented house body lotion to seal in moisture in a place where elevation wreaks havoc on your skin. I woke up with my skin still soft which has seldom happened during my stay in Santa Fe. I want to marry their entire gift shop of body products.

The entry is $40 and it is worth every. fucking. penny. Especially if you take some time in the gift shop to slather yourself with free samples of the CBD hand cream.


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