All I can really do is echo what all the other 5-star reviewers have said up to now, and so I will. Jeff & Judy have created a paradise for those of us who just want to live out the day au naturel, absorbing the SoCal sun and relaxing with books, conversation and a cold beverage along the way, in a safe, comfortable, hassle-free environment. My wife and I are occasional visitors to San Diego's Blacks Beach and do enjoy a skinny dip in our own backyard pool when circumstances allow, but we are rookies to the clothing-optional spa experience, and Living Waters Spa (LWS) has ensured that we will very quickly become veterans. We're so enamored of the place, in fact, that we booked a return visit just several weeks hence before we’d even checked out.
What LWS is not: As the owners, through their website, promotional materials, and responses in this forum, make clear, LWS is NOT a "hook up" joint. It is not for those looking for a party by the pool. And it is not a large facility that accommodates enough guests to fill a small village. LWS will not tolerate sexual activity in its public spaces - though it certainly does allow, and even blesses, public displays of affection that would be appropriate in any other public setting, and it certainly has no issue with its overnight guests getting a groove on in the blinds-closed privacy of their poolside suites or adjacent condos. LWS expects that noise from guests be limited to normal conversational tones. LWS does pipe in music through its poolside sound system, but you'll find only the soft sounds of relaxation tracks and not the manic beats of a DJ club mix.
What LWS is: LWS is a spa, built for the purpose of rest & relaxation, sans clothing, in a private, peaceful and intimate setting. It is a reclaimed mid-century motor hotel formerly known as Kismet Lodge (and still proudly displays the original neon marquee bearing that name). The main property is a U-shaped structure with eight guest rooms and a massage studio surrounding two pools, through which naturally heated mineral water flows constantly from an underground source. The "small" pool is the warmer of the two (I'm guessing 100 degrees Fahrenheit) and is protected from the summer sun by an overhead canopy. The large pool below, which receives its in-flow of water from the smaller pool courtesy the natural tug of gravity, has full exposure to the day's sun and (I’d guess) sits at a very comfortable 90 degrees. The public area around the two pools is comfortable but quaint, so don't come looking for room to run around. Even then, if all of the 20 or so lounge chairs by the pool and on the sun deck were full of bodies, each guest would have ample personal space.
My wife and I stayed in Room 8 - a "corner" suite with full kitchen situated at one end of the "U," not more than twelve feet from the pool - and absolutely loved it. As with the rest of the property, the room reflects the spa's mid-century heritage but is very well maintained, very clean, and very comfortable (especially the custom-designed king bed). With the full kitchen (most of the units have them), we were able to bring all of our own food and drink and never leave the spa's protective walls, meaning we could savor the bliss of non-stop nakedness from arrival to departure. The rooms are not large, and neither are the bathrooms, but the quarters are certainly spacious enough for two people with a reasonable sense of proportion, and especially for those who prefer to spend their time doing what they've paid for - relaxing in and beside the pools under the sun during the day and the stars at night. For guests who need more living space, LWS also owns six 2-bedroom spa condos just across the street (but also outside the protective walls of the spa proper, meaning you have to don shorts and tee shirt at least twice a day).
We also discovered almost immediately upon arrival that the signature LWS massage, especially when done in the couples format, is a little slice of heaven on earth. If you choose to do so (and I suspect most people do), you'll receive this relaxation massage while fully nude, which truly is a special experience. And lest you think any "funny business" might take place, know going in that the LWS massage therapists are (a) fully clothed and (b) consummately professional in every respect. And they are very good at what they do. Very well worth the extra splurge, especially when you know your "sweetie" is receiving the very same treatment just a few feet away (something you should take at least a little time to observe when the position of your own body on the table allows).
Other touches include: A personal greeting at the front gate by Jeff, Judy or one of the staff when you arrive (and be prepared for their wrap-towels to fall away, and your clothing-optional experience to begin, as soon as the gate closes behind you); continental-style breakfast from 8:00 to 10:00 each morning (complete with fresh-brewed coffee made from fresh-ground Starbucks beans); and beverages with light snacks in the warmth of the small pool at 3:00 each day. Overnight guests who have checked out of their rooms are welcome to extend their stay on the grounds until 5:00pm, when the spa closes to day-use customers; while departing guests whose rooms are not otherwise booked by incoming guests can remain in their rooms all the way up to 5:00. And, of course, we can’t forget the beautiful, panoramic view of Mt. San Jacinto, which towers almost 11,000 over the Coachella Valley floor below.
If you're a newcomer who is, as we were, at least a smidge apprehensive at the thought of making conversation with strangers while nude in three feet of water, don't worry. We found the apprehension melting away almost immediately upon our noontime arrival, and it was long gone by the time we finished our 1:30 massages and made our way to the first 3:00 refreshment break of our stay.
You can tell by now that my wife and I left LWS with nothing but excitement for the clothing-optional spa experience and gratitude that we live close enough to return anytime and every time we wish. Jeff & Judy (and Lily & Kat), thank you for making our first time - and our wedding anniversary to boot! - a very special experience.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Rates: $99-$209. We are a clothing optional mini-resort spa with two natural hot mineral water pools, stylish rooms and condos, distinctive massage and spa treatments, king size beds, custom mattresses, free wifi, massage workshops, breakfast and afternoon hors d'oeuvres, early check-in and late check-out, complete privacy, great people and a relaxing, romantic and de-stressing environment. Experience "more than a vacation" at Living Waters Spa and you take home the coolest vacation souvenir of all: no tan-lines! ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Living Waters Hotel Desert Hot Springs
- Living Waters Resort