Tag Archives: bathhouses

The Charles Motel Revisited

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While I’m on the subject of bathhouses in Truth or Consequences, I’ll share my most recent experience at the Charles Motel and Spa (601 N Broadway Street).

Every since I first visited T or C, I’ve frequented the Charles. I’m not sure what the current prices are, but in 2014 and 2015, a person could soak for an hour for only $5, and a towel was provided!

I’d heard folks talk about soaking on the roof of the Charles, but I’d never done it. It was more expensive than soaking in the regular bath area, and I didn’t feel as if I needed an entire jacuzzi to myself. However, I found a coupon in the February issue of the free Cobblestone newsletter I mentioned in the post about The Hoosier. The coupon was a two-for-one: two people could soak on the roof jacuzzi for the price of one. Yes! I wanted this!

The Man and I had recently become (*clears throat*) friendlier, so I figured it would be ok for us to soak naked together. (Oh! How I hate a bathing suit!) I casually told him about the Charles and the roof and the hot water and offered to treat him to a reduced price soak. He said yes, so I called to make a reservation.

I found out the jacuzzi on the roof would be filled with mineral water just like I’d soaked in downstairs. The mineral water was pumped up to the roof, but it was the same good stuff. I asked about the temperature of the water on the roof. 113 degrees, the man on the other end of the phone said.

The night we’d pulled into town, I drove us directly to the Indian Springs bathhouse (218 Austin Street) and treated us each to a soak. The Man and I weren’t quite so friendly then, so I’d gotten us separate pools (the price was the same), and let the man have the larger one. When we met up again after half an hour of soaking, he said he’d liked it, but it wasn’t very hot. I hoped 113 degrees would be hot enough for him.

We arrived at the Charles a few minutes prior to our 8pm reservation. It was February and already nighttime. I went in and paid the $10 for the two of us. Bargain! The young man working threw in two towels for free, then took us upstairs to show us how to operate the jacuzzi. Once we knew what to do, he took off, closing the door behind him, and left us alone on the roof.

The jacuzzi area was fenced off by high walls.  Although there were two jacuzzis up there, one was covered and we had the entire roof area to ourselves. (I’m not sure if that’s how roof soaks always work or if we were getting a special Valentine’s month romantic package.)

The Man decided he had to go back downstairs to utilize the restroom, so I got the hot water flowing. By the time The Man returned, the big tub was filling, and I was somewhat concealed under the water. The Man disrobed, climbed in, and let out a sigh of satisfaction. Yes, it turned out 113 degrees was plenty hot for him.

While streetlamps provided light to see by, we still had a good view of the night sky. It was wonderful to soak in the hot water while looking at the stars and the moon.

When our hour was up, we drained the tub, dried off and dressed, then made our way back to the van and drive off into the night.

(Read more about the Truth or Consequences bath houses here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/05/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/06/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences/, and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/08/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences-part-2/.)

I took the photo in this post.

Truth or Consequences Hot Springs (My Experiences Part 2)

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In a previous post (http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/06/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences/), I wrote about my experiences at four bathhouses (Blackstone, Indian Springs, La Paloma, and La Paloma Too) in Truth or Consequences (T or C), New Mexico. In this post, I will share my experiences at three more bathhouses I’ve visited in T or C.

I soaked at Riverbend Hot springs (100 Austin Street, http://www.riverbendhotsprings.com/) once in March of 2014. SDC10007Riverbend has both public and private pools for soaking.

According to http://www.riverbendhotsprings.com/springs.html#pub,

The public pools consist of five pools that cascade from one to another, creating a different temperature in each one. Temperatures usually range from around 100-108 degrees. They are situated around a shaded river deck and include a cold shower for cooling off, as well as our large shaded patio with chaise loungers, mist fans (in the summer), dining tables and chairs, and our barrel sauna…The cold and clear Rio Grande River is also accessible for swimming at your own risk (closed when the river levels are fluctuating).

The Riverbend website (http://www.riverbendhotsprings.com/springs.html#pvt) has this to say about their private pools:

Our private pools are perfect for those that desire to bathe au natural or would like more peaceful privacy. They are walled on three sides but open to the riverside mountain view. Each have their own river deck, cooling mister systems and reclining lounge chairs or benches. They are available for rental by the public and are discounted for overnight guests.

I soaked in the Rio pool.

The Pool I soaked in outside, next to the Rio Grande

This is the Rio, the pool I soaked in outside, next to the Rio Grande

The Riverbend website says,

Rio (“river”) is very popular for its extremely close proximity to the river, its high temperature, and its quiet flow of water. This cozy pool seats two people very comfortably and has a temperature of about 107-108 degrees. It has a small shaded deck for cooling off between dips.

The private cabana (?) housing my hot little pool

Here’s a view of the deck from the pool I soaked in.

The water in the pool was nice and hot, and the pool was deep. I enjoyed being outside naked, and I enjoyed the view. Since most of the soaking in T or C is done indoors, in bathhouses, soaking out in nature was a real treat. However, even though there was a wall between my soaking area and the one next to me, I could clearly hear the voices and follow the conversation of the men in the next pool. Hearing other people’s inane conversation was less than relaxing.

Soaking in the public pools at Riverbend costs $10 per hour. Private soaks cost $15 on a walk-in basis and $10 for overnight guests. Reservations are taken for private soaks.

 This is the view I had while I soaked in the hot pool at Riverbend. That's the Rio Grande in the forefront. Turtle Mountain is in the background.

This is the view I had while I soaked in the Rio pool at Riverbend. That’s the Rio Grande in the forefront. Turtleback Mountain is in the background.

I’ve soaked many, many times at the Charles Motel and Hot Springs Charles Motel(601 N Broadway Street, http://www.charlesspa.com/index.html), the first time in March 2014, most recently in December 2015. At the Charles, there is a women’s side and a men’s side, both with individual tubs (much like conventional home bathtubs with faucets and drains) for soaking. I’ve only ever been on the women’s side, so that’s what I will write about. Also, the Charles offers soaking in outdoor, rooftop Jacuzzi tubs, but I’ve never soaked in them or even been on the roof to look at them.

IMG_4085The photo to the left shows the women’s side. Each tub is in its own little cubical, separated on two sides by walls that go almost all the way to the floor and a curtain in the back. There is drinking water available to anyone soaking.

While the walls and curtains offer visual privacy, they don’t do much to block sound. Sometimes women soaking in tubs next to each other want to chat, which makes for a less than relaxing experience for people like me who want to soak in silence. I’ve found that the best time for me to soak at the Charles is first thing in the morning, as soon as it opens at 8am. I’m usually the only person soaking that early in the day, and the whole area is blissfully peaceful.

This is my favorite tub to soak in at the Charles. It's shorter than the rest, which is ok since I am short, and it's deeper than the other tubs too. I like deep! I also like the pink and blue tile.

This is my favorite tub to soak in at the Charles. It’s shorter than the rest, which is ok since I am short, and it’s deeper than the other tubs too. I like deep! I also like the pink and blue tile.

Private soaks at the Charles cost $6 for an entire hours, and that includes a towel! The outdoor Jacuzzi tubs seat 4 to 6 and cost $8/10 per person per hour. According to the website,

Temperature [in the baths] ranges from 98 ° to 115 °F… All our tubs are drained, cleaned and sanitized after each use.

Of all the places I’ve soaked, The Artesian Bath House and Trailer Court (312 Marr Street, https://www.facebook.com/Artesian-Bath-House-Trailer-Court-111366938897101/) is probably my favorite. I first soaked there in March of 2014 and most recently in December 2015.

SDC10009

Like at the Charles, soaking is done in tubs much like those in the home, tubs with faucets from where the water flows and drains through which the water exits. Unlike at the Charles, at the Artesian, each tub is in its own private room with a door that locks. At the Artesian, I do not hear other people’s conversations while I am soaking. At the Artesian, I get an hour of quiet, peaceful, hot water bliss.

The Artesian also has at least one large tub, big enough for two (or maybe three) people. I was able to soak in the large tub once when the individual tubs were all taken. There is plenty of room to stretch out in the big tub.

My last one-hour soak at the Artesian cost six dollars. The bathhouse is closed on Wednesdays.

The Artesian is also an RV park, open to nightly, weekly, and monthly stays. I spent two months there in the winter of 2014. Because the Artesian has restrooms and baths, it is a perfect place for a van dweller like me to stay. The monthly rate was extremely affordable, and included WiFi access. I was also able to utilize the electric hookups to charge my laptop and phone batteries. Folks staying there pay for the electricity they use, but my usage was small and I only payed a few dollars a month for it. Also, because I was a tenant, soaks cost me just $3 an hour.

I miss soaking in the wonderful, hot mineral water in T or C, especially in the winter.

Truth or Consequences Hot Springs (My Experiences Part 1)

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Previously I gave an overview of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico as a hot springs and bathhouse town. (To read that post, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/05/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs/.) Today I will share my experiences at four of the bathhouses I’ve visited in T or C.

I soaked at Blackstone Hotsprings (410 Austin, http://www.blackstonehotsprings.com/) once, in March of 2014, in one of the historic baths. According to http://www.blackstonehotsprings.com/HotspringBaths.shtml,

You’ll find the hottest water on the property in the Historic Baths, with temperatures ranging from 110 – 112 degrees. Cold “city water” is also provided so that you can cool the water if you prefer it less hot.

The Historic Baths were originally built in the 1930s. During renovation we found evidence of 10 baths in the original bathhouse. We were able to preserve four of them. Two became the Historic Baths.

I found the baths at Blackstone incredibly clean and well cared for. I would recommend the historic baths there to anyone who is super picky about the way things looks.

Blackstone Hotsprings also boasts The Wet Room. I did not soak in The Wet Room, but this is what the Blackstone website (http://www.blackstonehotsprings.com/HotspringBaths.shtml) says about it:

The Wet Room is a tropical paradise — a large soaking pool with steps, ledges and benches so you can be in whatever depth of hotspring water you prefer. There is also a geothermal steam room, with thin sheets of water trickling down each wall, and a drenching waterfall that massages your back and neck and shoulders.

Soaking in The Wet Room costs $25 per 50 minutes. Soaking in one of the historic baths costs $5 per 1/2 hour. All bath rates include a towel and drinking water.

IMG_4124I most recently soaked at Indian Springs  (218 Austin Street) in November 2015. According to  http://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/attractions/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs/, “Indian Springs was established in the 1930s and has been owned by the same family since 1980. Two private, natural-flowing hot spring pools are situated next to six ’40s-style efficiency apartments.”

The small pool at Indian Springs. Notice the rocks at the bottom of the pool.

This photo shows the small pool at Indian Springs. Each pool is in a private room with a door that locks. Notice the rocks at the bottom of the pool.

Indian Springs boasts a small pool and a large pool. I like the small pool because it is 4 feet, 2 inches deep. I’m rather short, so if I stand up in the small pool, the hot water laps at my shoulders. I think two people could fit into the small pool, but those two people would really have to like each other to do that. The large pool is better suited to two people soaking together.

The price of soaking at Indian Springs is either $5 or $6 (my memory is fuzzy) for half an hour. Towels are not provided, but can be rented for another dollar (or maybe 50 cents.)

The fellow (owner?) I always encounter at Indian Springs is soft-spoken and super nice.

SDC10019

This photo shows the back of the motel part of La Paloma. At night, the star on “vacancy” sign flashes.

I also soaked once at La Paloma Hot Springs & Spa (formerly Marshall Miracle Pools, according to http://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/attractions/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs/ and located at 311 Marr). My visit to La Paloma was in March of 2014. Like at Indian Springs, the baths here are natural and free flowing.

This is the pool I soaked in at La Paloma. Like at Indian Springs, each pool is in a separate, private room with a door that locks. The rope is to hold onto while one propels oneself through the water. Also like at Indian Springs, there are rocks on the floor of the pool.

This is the pool I soaked in at La Paloma. The rope is to hang onto while propelling oneself through the hot water.

When I visited La Paloma, there was a chart listing the temperature of the water in each individual pool. In the free-flowing pools, there is not way to add cooler water, so if one does not want a super hot soak, it helps to know the temperature of the water in each pool. I also noticed when I visited that nice incense was burning in the bathhouse and soothing music was playing, both contributing to a sense of peace and relaxation. I also really liked the painting on the walls of the private room  I soaked in. (To see the artwork, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/07/artwork-from-la-paloma/.)

The first time I soaked at La Paloma Too ( 300 Austin), in March of 2014, the bathhouse was still called Hay-Yo-Kay. SDC10024When I returned for a soak in November of 2014, ownership had changed and the bathhouse was called La Paloma Too.

According to the website for both La Paloma locations (http://www.lapalomahotspringsandspa.com/baths/baths.htm),

  • Both bathhouses are over ninety years old
  • Hot Artesian mineral water flows continuously through 11 gravel-bottom pools and is considered true *”structured” water. “Structured” water only exists in two natural flow bathhouses in T or C, NMSDC10025
  • Water temps range from 98 to 115 degrees with a pH of 7.0
  • The water consists of thirty-eight valued natural minerals and are [sic] not treated with chemicals
  • Noted high Lithium content with no unpleasant “sulfur” odor
  • All pools are in a private clothing-optional rooms in our bathhouses with benches for resting. There are absolutely no public displays of nudity allowed

    This is the pool I soaked in when I visited Hay-Yo-Kay, now La Paloma Too.

    This is the pool I soaked in when I visited Hay-Yo-Kay, now La Paloma Too.

  • Guests can soak by the half hour or by the hour and have access to public bathrooms and showers
  • No children under 7 years of age in pools or pool rooms. Guests 16 yrs and younger must be accompanied by adult at all times in the bathhouses
  • The only known bathhouse built over a hot mineral drainage canal in the continental U.S.

At either La Palaoma or La Paloma Too, a half hour soak is $6 per person; full-hour soaks are $10 per person. If you happen to be in Truth or Consequences on your birthday, both bathhouses offer a free soak on that special day.

The water in the free-flowing pools at Indian Springs, La Paloma, and La Paloma Too is very hot, and there is no way to add cool water as is possible at bathhouses where the tubs have faucets and drains. Whenever I soak at any of the bathhouses with free-flowing pools, I spend my half hour in and out, in and out of the pools. I love the super hot water, but I can only stay in it a few minutes at a time before I feel overheated. On at least a couple occasions, I’ve left Indian Springs (where I’ve soaked the most) feeling definitely high. WOW! I think it’s pretty cool to feel like I’m trippin’ without having to take any drugs.

*According to http://www.aquatechnology.net/frame426230.html, a “GENERAL definition of ‘altered’ or ‘structured’ water” is

…any mechanical, electrical, optical or other process or combinations thereof which alters the physical or chemical characteristics of water, thereby creating a new form or species of water which when utilized by plants, animals or humans demonstrates measurable and repeatable benefits to chemical, enzymatic and general cellular functions.

To read about my experiences at three more Truth or Consequences bathhouses, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/08/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences-part-2/.

I took all photos in this post.