Sunday, September 7, 2008

Ojo 'not so' Caliente - Travel in NM

Just returned from a quick overnight stay at Ojo Caliente - a spa nestled in Northern New Mexico roughly about 45 minutes outside of Santa Fe.

The spot was recommended to us by several friends. In retrospect their anecdotes should have prompted red flags. "It was really relaxing. I read a lot of books." "Bring booze. Lots of booze."

Regardless, Mike booked the trip and the drive was very reasonable from Albuquerque - around 2.5 hours. This time of year New Mexico is gorgeous. Perfect weather, rainy season has just ended, and wild flowers are popping up everywhere. In particular, there is a blur of yellow on roadsides of wild sunflowers - my favorite.

Our room was comfortable and beyond our expectations. Seemed new, and they paid attention to small details. Also, our room couldn't have been any closer to the spa (room #7) - very important for colder months.

The spa itself was under construction. Somewhat took away from the R&R vibe when there is caution tape, porta potties, construction hats in piles of dirt, etc. There were several pool options - arsenic, iron, soda & regular pool. For a day visitor, you could definitely keep busy with these options, sauna, steam room and a mud 'bath'.

The mud bath didn't quite meet our expectations. We had visions of laying in a pool of mud, caked with dirt then baking in the sun. Reality featured a posse of retirees hovering around a small urn filled with mud lathering up each others bodies. Spring break gone wild!

Lastly the restaurant - not really worth describing at all. Awful food, awful service. Getting acknowledged by a waiter took 20 minutes after being seated at a table without water. To be safe, we chose to just order two appetisers. After seeing what came out, mostly inedible, we were pleased that we didn't order more and had a stash of gummy bears and peanuts in the room.

Highlight of the trip - by all means if you still choose to go, get a private tub in the last slot of the evening (9 pm). They open up to a tall red rock roll with a spotlight on it. Each private bath has its own fireplace, lounge chairs and private pool that opens up to the stars and cliff. Quite an amazing and relaxing experience. I think each private tub was $40 for an hour?

Overall, Ojo was so-so and next time we'd rather go to a sure bet like 10,000 Waves instead.

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