Ten Thousand Waves – Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.A.

Taking the Waters Under the Stars

Take the atmosphere of a traditional Japanese hot-springs onsen and move it outdoors, add the panorama of the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the perfume of piñon pines and juniper bushes, toss in the juvenile thrill of baring it all in the great outdoors, and you get Ten Thousand Waves, a one-of-a-kind wellness retreat.

Check your modesty at the front desk at this oasis of pools, comprised of seven private tubs and two communal baths. Deep relaxation is the guiding principle here, and while many come for the waters alone, most also explore the menu of body treatments offered: salt glows, herbal wraps, something called the Nightingale Facial, and a variety of massage styles – from a simple sandalwood-scented rubdown to Four Hands One Heart, where two therapists work on you at once.

Opened in 1981, the Waves (as locals like to call it) is a little bit New Age, a little bit Zen, and a little bit high desert, all melded together in the simple elegance of Japanese and southwestern aesthetics. The eight guest suites in the Houses of the Moon are serene retreats all, with tatami mats and extra-thick futons.

Overnight guests enjoy the option of soaking under a brilliant galaxy of stars. It’s hard to believe you’re so far from the Orient, despite what the sign in the courtyard reminds you: “Tokyo, 10,070 km.”

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