Sometimes we get the itch to venture beyond the San Diego county line for a day trip getaway. We especially like to explore unique places that are worth the drive.
One of these places combines the pleasure of leaving the daily routine behind and having a day-long soaking experience. Generations of Southern Californians have long known about this special place located just off the I-15 in Corona, California – it’s called Glen Ivy Hot Springs. Best of all, it’s only an hour and 15 minutes away from San Diego.
Glen Ivy Hot Springs has come a very long way from its humble beginnings in 1860 when it was called Temescal Sulfur Springs. Before that, the indigenous people of Southern California used to take in the waters for healing purposes. Over the decades, a number of owners took control of the property and made their mark, including the name we know today, Glen Ivy. If you’d been to Glen Ivy 25-30 years ago, you may remember the $13 day pass and the rustic baths. The start of the 21st century brought many modern touches to the property that both expanded and enhanced the resort feeling of the grounds. Like the people that come to take in the healing waters, the property was rejuvenated and rehabilitated by its most recent owners.
The resort’s grounds, located at the base of the Santa Ana Mountain Range, are surprisingly extensive (12 acres) and much detail has been paid to making Glen Ivy Hot Springs into a destination, not just a quick soak. Aside from the therapeutic red clay mud bath area called Club Mud, there are 19 pools and whirlpools to enjoy, including historic mineral baths and an indoor Roman Bath.
From what we could see on our visit, both men and women take to the spas like bees to honey. Why not? It’s a place to relax, reflect and have fun going from pool to pool. In addition to the pools, Glen Ivy Hot Springs also includes botanical gardens, and a variety of daily classes and programs, as well as quiet places and gathering areas where guests can relax, read, and take sun baths.
We were impressed by the resort feeling that we and everyone else at the Spa experienced during our visit. Guests and employees were friendly and happy to answer our first-timer questions. The main question – when to take in Club Mud? The answer – in the beginning. We spent the day hopping from pool to pool and taking the opportunity to relax on the many chaise lounges that are set aside for guests. We also realized that as the day went on, the more relaxed we felt – mission accomplished!
If you’re reading this article and think that a a day trip to Glen Ivy Hot Springs sounds like a great plan, here are some of our travel tips.
What to Bring – A dark colored bathing suit (the mud can stain), sandals, sun screen, a hat, and reading material. Towels are provided and are part of your admission. Leave your clothes and valuables in one of the free lockers that is available in the Bath House. After you’ve spent your day taking in the healing waters, you can wash any remaining mud and/or chlorine off at one of the numerous showers located in the Bath House. Shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, blow dryers, Q-tips, etc. are also provided to guests free of charge. The facilities are cleaned throughout the day – a gratuity envelope is located in the Bath House should you wish to express your appreciation.
What Not to Bring – Children 15 and under – this is a resort for relaxation, not amusement. Jewelry – naturally occurring minerals may cause your jewelry to tarnish.
When to Get There – If you’re planning on making a trip to Glen Ivy Hot Springs, we recommend that you arrive before they open the doors at 9am – many people were waiting in line when we arrived at opening time. The summer months are the most popular times – be sure to arrive early because if you don’t have a reserved spa or treatment appointment, they might turn you away.
Parking – Plenty of free parking is made available on a surface lot and overflow parking is available on a dirt lot.
Discounts – 10% discount on Taking the Waters admission to military (active and veterans), teachers, first responders (including nurses) and seniors (ages 65+). A valid ID and/or work badge is required.
Where to Dine – Part of the resort experience is not having to worry about what you’re going to eat or drink. Plenty of free drinking water is available all around the property. Café Solé serves healthy spa cuisine for breakfast and lunch prepared by award-winning Chef Bill Wavrin, who calls his fare “Mediterranean Cuisine of the Sun.” We dined on enormous spa salads and were very happy to see that the menu emphasizes farm to table local sourcing. This is California after all and our state is a cornucopia of agriculture! During our visit, we noticed that the line for Nachos was very long – this is one of the most popular menu items and is good for sharing.
Special Occasions – If you’re planning to celebrate a special occasion or want to have a group experience of your own, be sure to inquire about the private Cabañas – food and drink are brought to you and you get to have your own spa to yourself.
In closing, if you’ve never been to Glen Ivy Hot Springs or if you’re like the many guests that told us that they’ve been coming back for years, your mind and your body are in for some serious relaxation. Sure, you can go to your local day spa anytime you want, but when was the last time you went to an historic spa complete with a mud bath (Club Mud), a saline water pool, and a Roman Bath? This unique property with all its amenities and features is certainly worth paying a visit – your mind and body will thank you.