This Is Calistoga

Down and dirty mud bath at Golden Haven Natural Hot Springs

By Joseph Cazares

Life in the Napa Valley is where unique experiences abound. Time spent in Calistoga at Golden Haven Natural Hot Springs is an experience like no other. With the intent to impress, I arranged a couples treatment for me and my girlfriend Cami, which included a mud bath and mineral soak at a special rate of $64 each. We arrived at 6 p.m. and were told to wait while our room was set up. As we soaked in our surroundings, the first thing we noticed was how well this waiting room was organized, and then we noticed the various refreshments that would later become absolute necessities.

Enrique greeted us with a warm welcome and high energy as he toured us through Golden Haven Natural Hot Springs. Once we arrived at our changing room, we grabbed our robes and headed to the mud bath room with its two tubs, showers, and mineral pool. We shed our robes to begin the process of an authentic mud bath spa experience. Instructed to climb in slowly to ensure a smooth and calming experience (if you bury your body too deep it is very, very hot), we let our bodies sink into the top of the warm mud.

The feeling of a mud bath, which is actually a mixture of clay with geothermal mineral water, is like lying on a cushion of warm, soft clouds that bring forth a sense of tranquility. A few inches deep in the mud proved perfect to fully experience its healing properties. Ten minutes later we were directed to the clean and well-maintained showers before a soak in the mineral bath.

When the water temperature is set just right, you feel a great deal of warmth, lightness and relaxation as a result of the mineral bath. A slight dizziness might occur from soaking in the hot water, but as long as you take advantage of the cold water available throughout the room, you should be spared. A few minutes in the tub and Enrique led us to the blanket wrap room. By this time, we felt such an intense feeling of relaxation it was almost overwhelming; to fall asleep would have been easy to do following our healing detox treatment.

The final step in the process was to take a shower or simply exit the spa (after getting dressed of course!). We chose to leave so we could bask in the relaxation for a while longer. What we felt was a strong sense of rejuvenation and peace with ourselves and those around us.

Would I do it again? Absolutely.