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Thermal spa
The heat is on

Dozens of historic hot springs facilities in the US are getting a new lease of life and are paving the way for the country to earn its position as a thermal spa destination. Jane Kitchen reports


There’s a renewed interest in hot springs globally, spurred on by an increased consumer desire to connect with nature, as well as with other people. In Part I of this series, we explored the many projects in Australia and New Zealand (see www.spabusiness.com/thermalausnz); here in Part 2, we’re taking a closer look at the US, where hot springs scene is on fire.

“The boom in hot springs is not a new trend, but rather a rediscovery of our North American health heritage,” says Dr Marcus Coplin, a naturopath specialising in balneology and medical director of The Springs Resort in Colorado and Murrieta Hot Springs in California.

“Hot springs have been in use around the world for centuries as part of a multifaceted healthcare approach. The recent reawakening in the mainstream as to the health benefits of hot spring bathing couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.”

True thermal mineral water has been shown to help a wide range of health problems, explains Coplin. “The ever-expanding scientific body supports the use of these waters as an aspect of a comprehensive treatment for a variety of ailments from anxiety, burnout, joint pain, cardiovascular issues and more,” he says.

With a global rise in rates of anxiety, depression and sleep disorders since COVID, hot springs offer a natural path to relaxation. “Hot spring bathing provides an accessible way for people to take their health into their own hands and engage in an activity that’s socially enjoyable and leads to positive health benefits,” says Coplin. “That’s why we are seeing North Americans flocking to thermal springs and the increased development of these health-promoting, site-specific waters answering the call.”

Vicky Nash, executive director of the country’s Hot Springs Association, says about 50 hot springs projects are in development in the US. “There’s definitely a renewed interest in hot springs properties in the US right now,” she says. “These past two years, health-conscious consumers have been utilising geothermal pools and baths in greater numbers, seeking more natural immune-boosting activities and many resorts have recently experienced record-breaking visitation numbers.”

Dozens of historic facilities have made significant improvements and expansions to their properties in recent years and new ownership at decades-old institutions has breathed new life – and money – into a number of locations.

New lease of life
Colorado is home to three note-worthy projects. Here, the century-old Trimble Hot Springs has been transformed from disrepair into the new Durango Hot Springs after a US$10m (€9.1m, £8m) renovation. The facility now features 41 thermal mineral water features and in the summer guests can soak in the hot springs while they listen to live music performances. The owners report visitation numbers are now over 400,000 a year.

Secondly, at Iron Mountain Hot Springs in Glenwood Springs, expansion is nearing completion with the addition of 10 rock-bottom, adult-only pools, which doubles the size of the facility.

Thirdly, The Springs Resort in Pagosa Springs has also benefited from new owners and a renovation, with 25 mineral hot spring pools and a variety of health and wellness activities on offer, including a new guided ritual that introduces guests to the benefits of hot and cold contrast bathing. The new owners, Olympus Real Estate Group, have purchased neighbouring land and plan to double the size of the resort, with 21 riverfront pools, close to 80 additional hotel rooms, a restaurant and an outdoor music venue.


Olympus has also purchased California’s historic Murrieta Hot Springs – originally developed in 1902 as a health resort – for US$50m (€45.6m, £40.2m) and plans to renovate the 46-acre property and reopen it as a “world-class wellness destination”, with an anticipated opening date of December 2023. The renovation will include expanded use of the natural hot springs, overnight guest lodging, a full suite of wellness classes and activities, a geothermal-focused spa and access for day guests. “Murrieta Hot Springs is an irreplaceable property with tremendous history,” says David Dronet, founder and principal of Olympus. “Years ago [it] was one of the preeminent health resorts in the country.”

Another historic California property, Dr Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs, completed a multi-million dollar renovation in 2022, adding in an outdoor spa garden, four indoor mud baths, seven indoor and two outdoor mineral baths, a cold deluge shower and a dedicated geothermal mineral pool.

In Arizona, Castle Hot Springs, originally established in 1896, has been brought back to life under new ownership as a high-end boutique resort in the desert. Set on 1,100 acres with just 30 cabins and bungalows, rates at the resort start at US$1,200 (€1,095, £966) a night, including meals and activities.

In downtown Palm Springs, California, the Agua Caliente Band of the Cahuilla Indians has just opened the 73,000sq ft Spa at Séc-he complex inside a museum celebrating the tribe’s culture. Séc-he means boiling water in the Cahuilla language and the exciting development taps into local sacred healing waters which are believed to be 12,000 years old.

“We’re honoured to share some of our most precious rituals with the world,” says the tribe’s chair Reid D Milanovich. “While an emphasis on healing helped our tribe thrive throughout the years, so has the connection to the body, mind and spirit – all things you will be enveloped in at The Spa at Séc-he.”

Finally, in Utah, investors hope to build a 16-acre US$30m (€27.4m, £24.1m) resort on the Virgin River near the popular Zion National Park. The proposed Zion Canyon Hot Springs resort will include more than 20 bathing tubs and a freshwater pool.

“There are geothermal facilities all over the US, with the highest concentration in the west,” says Nash. “The majority are in remote locations, which adds to their appeal.” But perhaps most importantly, she explains, “A hot springs property is a special place; you can’t just build one anywhere.”

Hot Springs Connection 2024

The US’ fifth annual Hot Springs Connection conference will be held at Murrieta Hot Springs in California on 8-11 January 2024. The event was established in 2018, with a view to providing networking opportunities, seminars and workshops for owners and operators of geothermal pools, spas and resorts.

Details: www.hotspringsconnection.com.

The networking event launched in 2018 / photo: Vicky Nash, Hot Springs Association
photo: The Springs Resort, Pagosa Springs, CO

"Hot spring bathing provides an accessible way for people to take their health into their own hands" – Dr Marcus Coplin

photo: Vicky Nash, Hot Springs Association

"These past two years, health-conscious consumers have been utilising geothermal pools and baths in greater numbers" – Vicky Nash, executive director, Hot Springs Association

photo: Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

"We’re honoured to share some of our most precious rituals with the world" – Reid D Milanovich, chair, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

Many US thermal resorts are experiencing record-breaking visitor numbers Credit: photo: Durango Hot Springs Resort & Spa
US$10m was spent on transforming Durango Hot Springs Credit: photo: Durango Hot Springs Resort & Spa
New owners Olympus plan to double the size of The Springs Resort in Pagosa Springs Credit: photo: The Springs Resort, Pagosa Springs, CO
Hot springs offer a natural path to relaxation Credit: photo: The Springs Resort, Pagosa Springs, CO
Mud baths were part of a 2022 upgrade for Dr Wilkinson’s Credit: photo: Mark Compton, Dr Wilkinsons
Dating back to 1902, Murrieta Hot Springs is undergoing a U$50m renovation Credit: photo: Murrieta hot springs, CA
Castle Hot Springs, first opened in 1896, has been brought back to life under new ownership Credit: photo: Castle Hot Springs
The 73,000sq ft Spa at Séc-he is part of a cultural museum Credit: photo: Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
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News   Products   Magazine   Subscribe
Thermal spa
The heat is on

Dozens of historic hot springs facilities in the US are getting a new lease of life and are paving the way for the country to earn its position as a thermal spa destination. Jane Kitchen reports


There’s a renewed interest in hot springs globally, spurred on by an increased consumer desire to connect with nature, as well as with other people. In Part I of this series, we explored the many projects in Australia and New Zealand (see www.spabusiness.com/thermalausnz); here in Part 2, we’re taking a closer look at the US, where hot springs scene is on fire.

“The boom in hot springs is not a new trend, but rather a rediscovery of our North American health heritage,” says Dr Marcus Coplin, a naturopath specialising in balneology and medical director of The Springs Resort in Colorado and Murrieta Hot Springs in California.

“Hot springs have been in use around the world for centuries as part of a multifaceted healthcare approach. The recent reawakening in the mainstream as to the health benefits of hot spring bathing couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.”

True thermal mineral water has been shown to help a wide range of health problems, explains Coplin. “The ever-expanding scientific body supports the use of these waters as an aspect of a comprehensive treatment for a variety of ailments from anxiety, burnout, joint pain, cardiovascular issues and more,” he says.

With a global rise in rates of anxiety, depression and sleep disorders since COVID, hot springs offer a natural path to relaxation. “Hot spring bathing provides an accessible way for people to take their health into their own hands and engage in an activity that’s socially enjoyable and leads to positive health benefits,” says Coplin. “That’s why we are seeing North Americans flocking to thermal springs and the increased development of these health-promoting, site-specific waters answering the call.”

Vicky Nash, executive director of the country’s Hot Springs Association, says about 50 hot springs projects are in development in the US. “There’s definitely a renewed interest in hot springs properties in the US right now,” she says. “These past two years, health-conscious consumers have been utilising geothermal pools and baths in greater numbers, seeking more natural immune-boosting activities and many resorts have recently experienced record-breaking visitation numbers.”

Dozens of historic facilities have made significant improvements and expansions to their properties in recent years and new ownership at decades-old institutions has breathed new life – and money – into a number of locations.

New lease of life
Colorado is home to three note-worthy projects. Here, the century-old Trimble Hot Springs has been transformed from disrepair into the new Durango Hot Springs after a US$10m (€9.1m, £8m) renovation. The facility now features 41 thermal mineral water features and in the summer guests can soak in the hot springs while they listen to live music performances. The owners report visitation numbers are now over 400,000 a year.

Secondly, at Iron Mountain Hot Springs in Glenwood Springs, expansion is nearing completion with the addition of 10 rock-bottom, adult-only pools, which doubles the size of the facility.

Thirdly, The Springs Resort in Pagosa Springs has also benefited from new owners and a renovation, with 25 mineral hot spring pools and a variety of health and wellness activities on offer, including a new guided ritual that introduces guests to the benefits of hot and cold contrast bathing. The new owners, Olympus Real Estate Group, have purchased neighbouring land and plan to double the size of the resort, with 21 riverfront pools, close to 80 additional hotel rooms, a restaurant and an outdoor music venue.


Olympus has also purchased California’s historic Murrieta Hot Springs – originally developed in 1902 as a health resort – for US$50m (€45.6m, £40.2m) and plans to renovate the 46-acre property and reopen it as a “world-class wellness destination”, with an anticipated opening date of December 2023. The renovation will include expanded use of the natural hot springs, overnight guest lodging, a full suite of wellness classes and activities, a geothermal-focused spa and access for day guests. “Murrieta Hot Springs is an irreplaceable property with tremendous history,” says David Dronet, founder and principal of Olympus. “Years ago [it] was one of the preeminent health resorts in the country.”

Another historic California property, Dr Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs, completed a multi-million dollar renovation in 2022, adding in an outdoor spa garden, four indoor mud baths, seven indoor and two outdoor mineral baths, a cold deluge shower and a dedicated geothermal mineral pool.

In Arizona, Castle Hot Springs, originally established in 1896, has been brought back to life under new ownership as a high-end boutique resort in the desert. Set on 1,100 acres with just 30 cabins and bungalows, rates at the resort start at US$1,200 (€1,095, £966) a night, including meals and activities.

In downtown Palm Springs, California, the Agua Caliente Band of the Cahuilla Indians has just opened the 73,000sq ft Spa at Séc-he complex inside a museum celebrating the tribe’s culture. Séc-he means boiling water in the Cahuilla language and the exciting development taps into local sacred healing waters which are believed to be 12,000 years old.

“We’re honoured to share some of our most precious rituals with the world,” says the tribe’s chair Reid D Milanovich. “While an emphasis on healing helped our tribe thrive throughout the years, so has the connection to the body, mind and spirit – all things you will be enveloped in at The Spa at Séc-he.”

Finally, in Utah, investors hope to build a 16-acre US$30m (€27.4m, £24.1m) resort on the Virgin River near the popular Zion National Park. The proposed Zion Canyon Hot Springs resort will include more than 20 bathing tubs and a freshwater pool.

“There are geothermal facilities all over the US, with the highest concentration in the west,” says Nash. “The majority are in remote locations, which adds to their appeal.” But perhaps most importantly, she explains, “A hot springs property is a special place; you can’t just build one anywhere.”

Hot Springs Connection 2024

The US’ fifth annual Hot Springs Connection conference will be held at Murrieta Hot Springs in California on 8-11 January 2024. The event was established in 2018, with a view to providing networking opportunities, seminars and workshops for owners and operators of geothermal pools, spas and resorts.

Details: www.hotspringsconnection.com.

The networking event launched in 2018 / photo: Vicky Nash, Hot Springs Association
photo: The Springs Resort, Pagosa Springs, CO

"Hot spring bathing provides an accessible way for people to take their health into their own hands" – Dr Marcus Coplin

photo: Vicky Nash, Hot Springs Association

"These past two years, health-conscious consumers have been utilising geothermal pools and baths in greater numbers" – Vicky Nash, executive director, Hot Springs Association

photo: Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

"We’re honoured to share some of our most precious rituals with the world" – Reid D Milanovich, chair, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

Many US thermal resorts are experiencing record-breaking visitor numbers Credit: photo: Durango Hot Springs Resort & Spa
US$10m was spent on transforming Durango Hot Springs Credit: photo: Durango Hot Springs Resort & Spa
New owners Olympus plan to double the size of The Springs Resort in Pagosa Springs Credit: photo: The Springs Resort, Pagosa Springs, CO
Hot springs offer a natural path to relaxation Credit: photo: The Springs Resort, Pagosa Springs, CO
Mud baths were part of a 2022 upgrade for Dr Wilkinson’s Credit: photo: Mark Compton, Dr Wilkinsons
Dating back to 1902, Murrieta Hot Springs is undergoing a U$50m renovation Credit: photo: Murrieta hot springs, CA
Castle Hot Springs, first opened in 1896, has been brought back to life under new ownership Credit: photo: Castle Hot Springs
The 73,000sq ft Spa at Séc-he is part of a cultural museum Credit: photo: Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
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DIARY

 

02-04 Mar 2024

World Spa & Wellness Conference

Excel exhibition and conference centre , London, United Kingdom
03-05 Mar 2024

IBS New York

Javits Convention Center, New York, United States
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2024

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
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