Ten Thousand Waves (3451 Hyde Park Rd., 505/992-5025, www.tenthousandwaves.com, 9:15 a.m.–10:30 p.m. Wed.–Sun., 4–10:30 p.m. Tues.) is such a Santa Fe institution that it could just as well be listed under the city’s major attractions. This traditional Japanese-style bathhouse just outside of town has two big communal pools (one for women only, one co-ed) and several smaller private ones tucked among the trees so as to optimize the views of the mountains all around; many have adjoining cold plunges and saunas. Rates are reasonable ($19 for as long as you like in the communal tubs; New Mexico residents and their guests get a discount on Wednesdays), and the place also offers excellent massages, facials, and body scrubs. In the wintertime (Nov.–June), hours are shorter Monday–Wednesday.
Just out of town on the south side, Spa Samadhi at Sunrise Springs (242 Los Pinos Rd., 505/471-3600, www.sunrisesprings.com) goes beyond the usual beautifying treatments to healing rituals with the help of staff herbalists and the like. Combine a spa session with the weekly Japanese tea ceremony (3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Sat., $25) for an especially restful outing.
In town, Nirvana Spa (106 Faithway St., 505/983-7942, www.absolutenirvana.com, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. daily) offers Balinese treatments and massages. Afterward, you can relax in the gardens with a cup of tea and some organic sweets from the adjacent tearoom.
© Zora O'Neill from Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque, 2nd edition