My wife and I have visited Esalen frequently for massage appointments and to use the incredible mineral baths. We haven't yet signed up for one of their retreats, which is really their main purpose, but we hope to soon. The baths are absolutely incredible and unique. Try to picture a modern architectural masterpiece perched directly over the cliffs above the sea in Big Sur. The fact that this is a very open, coed place where nearly everyone is nude is fabulous and liberating - shed your inhibitions in a very safe environment. So many regular spas are not conducive to enjoying the experience with your loved one as men and women are separated, or you have to wear bathing suits, either of which is a bummer in my book. The last time we were there, we were relaxing in one of several stone tubs of natural mineral water, watching the whales spout and dive a few hundred years off the shore, listening to the crashing waves. The combo of the sound, the scenery and the massage was incredible. Esalen style massages are unique and among the best I have experienced. I especially recommend Chloe (Kelly) Spellman. Since we do not want to go at 1:00 am when they are open to the general public, we schedule a massage appointment mid-day, which allows you to use the baths 1 hour before and 1 hour after the massage. This gives you about 3-1/2 hours there, which is a perfect amount of time. The people we meet there are always lovely. I can't say enough good about it.
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