Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A relaxing, peaceful atmosphere envelopes Ten Thousand Waves, as it is situated in a secluded mountainside forest outside of Santa Fe. Nature is always close at hand, with towering trees surrounding the Japanese-style "onsen" spa and 12 guest rooms.
Ten Thousand Waves isn’t your typical spa hotel with a quiet, solemn atmosphere -- it’s more fun. Children are welcome and pets are even allowed in some guest rooms. The property serves as both a day spa and destination spa, with a variety of communal and private soaking tubs available. Clothing is optional in the tubs, but no one gets strange looks for wearing bathing suits. Kimonos, lockers, and showers are provided, as well as use of a relaxation room and a foot bath for guests who are waiting for a massage or treatment from one of the many professional therapists on hand.
The House of the Moon is the name for the 12 rooms that lie scattered across the 20-acre property. Connecting pathways wind through the forest to the guest rooms, which vary in size but are all private and quiet.
A gift shop in the lobby provides snacks and drinks, but there is no restaurant on the property. However, construction began on a new eatery in late 2012 and should be completed in summer 2013. The menu will feature traditional Japanese food, but not sushi.
Four miles from the Plaza, in the mountains outside Santa Fe
Ten Thousand Waves is located four miles from the Plaza, which means about a 10-minute drive from Santa Fe. There is nothing within walking distance other than forest. Self-parking is free. Shuttle service is offered from the parking lot to the spa (about a 100-yard uphill walk), but no shuttle is available to Santa Fe.
Santa Fe means “Holy Faith” in Spanish and is home to about 70,000 people of varying cultural backgrounds including Hispanics, Native Americans, and Anglos. New Mexico’s fourth-largest city is also the nation’s highest capitol and its oldest: It was founded in 1607.
The “City Different,” as it’s known, sits at an elevation of 7,000 feet at the southern edge of the Rockies, in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Although the cool summer hiking and skiing in winter offer great reasons to visit, it’s best to keep in mind that the high elevation also means more stress for the body while acclimating. Most people become used to the thinner air after two or three days which means that strenuous physical activity will become easier and less dangerous if you wait a day or two after arriving in town. One more caution - one alcoholic drink at this altitude will equal three drinks at sea level!
The Spanish influence seen so often throughout Santa Fe stems from the missionaries who arrived in the 1600s to convert the local Native American population. Old missions such as the San Miguel can be seen scattered across New Mexico and offer a fascinating glimpse into the region’s history. Often times, these missions are located at or near Native American pueblos, such as Tesuque or Cochiti, which are home to the various Pueblo peoples. Visiting New Mexico’s pueblos offers a chance to interact with the locals, purchase art and wares, and gain a better appreciation of New Mexico’s rich history.
Today, Santa Fe is the nation’s third-largest market for buying and selling art. In addition to the many galleries at the Plaza and along Canyon Road, several museums including the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Georgia O’Keefe Museum (showcasing the painter’s long relationship with New Mexico) celebrate the creative spirit in Santa Fe.
Japanese-inspired decor, free Wi-Fi, and some good views
The 12 guest rooms are fresh, modern, and stylish, with Japanese-inspired decor such as decorative kimonos on the walls, translucent sliding doors, Buddha statues, and rattan shades. Luxe touches include the private patios with hibachi grills, the mini-fridges stocked with granola, soy milk, and fresh fruit, and the trays filled with slippers, kimonos, and Buddha chocolates that are left for guests on the top of the beds. Each room also comes with a microwave and free Wi-Fi. Bathrooms are sleek and spacious, but most do not have tubs.
Unique, Japanese-style spa, but no pool or fitness center
Ten Thousand Waves is a small, secluded property with a Japanese-style spa and 12 guest rooms nestled in a mountainside pine forest just outside of Santa Fe. The grounds are dotted with soaking tubs and cold plunges -- and professional therapists are on hand to perform many types of massages and treatments. Rooms aren’t quite luxe, but have a contemporary Asian look and are big and comfortable.