While working in New Mexico, I kept hearing rumblings of an oasis in the Santa Fe mountains. A spa-restaurant-hotel combination that transports you to a version of the Japanese countryside. The name of the property alone sounded like a different world–Ten Thousand Waves. Some people referenced the life-changing massages, some the delicious Japanese fusion cuisine, and some described the many baths on the property with total bliss on their faces. But everyone ultimately encouraged me to “just go, trust me!” And that is exactly what I did.
First, I called and reserved a table for lunch at Izanami, the restaurant on the property. I also booked time in a private bath, and a hot stone massage. Two of my cast mates and I drove the hour to Santa Fe, winding up on a long desert road, eager for this spiritual sanctuary that was such a departure from the reality we had just come from. After checking in to the spa, we walked over to Izanami to fill our bellies. We were seated at a traditional Japanese table, which is about two feet from the ground, looking out to a small waterfall that had iced over and was slowly melting into the pond below. We sat comfortably cross-legged on the ground and sipped hot green tea, enjoyed sweet potato and ginger soup, wasabi vegetables and hot stone bibimbap.
From there, with a full stomach and a smile on my face, I was given a key to my private hot bath and sauna they called Shoji. Because it was private, no clothing was necessary–it was liberating, to say the least, but honestly not too unfamiliar (I’m a secret nudist). I soaked in the 98 degree tub, with glimpses of the desert beyond and the blue sky above me. After roughly an hour of solitude, I was escorted through the winding property (which was much larger than I expected). Every detail of this place seemed delicately thought out, beautiful in its simplicity. I was led into a private room with a private front patio. My massage therapist kept the door open, letting in the crisp air while I slipped under the warm sheets and prepared for 80 minutes of bliss. She placed hot stones along my back, taking me to a place of relaxation I rarely achieve. She then used the stones to massage deeply into my muscles, and I felt my body grow more relaxed with every movement. I transcended time during this treatment. It was simultaneously the longest and shortest 80 minutes of my life.
I spent the next hour and a half lounging around the public pool–in a bathing suit this time. The sun was warm, the water was warmer. It more closely resembled a large hot tub. There was another sauna, this one public as well. They had endless amounts of cold, filtered water to quench and replenish the body. The environment was peaceful, beautiful, and open. After five hours spent at Ten Thousand Waves, I felt like a new man. I floated back to the car and drove myself and two extremely, equally relaxed cast mates back to our hotel. I dreamt of Ten Thousand Waves that night. Needless to say, this place is a must for me and I’m counting the minutes until I’m back.