Throughout the pandemic, we'll keep publishing news to help you navigate the state of travel today (like whether travel insurance covers the coronavirus), as well as stories about places for you to put on your bucket list once it's safe to start going more far-flung.
It’s getting harder to find great hot springs in nature that aren’t packed with other people. The most popular spots are all over the internet. But what if we told you there are remote lodges and resorts in places a little off the beaten path, where your room comes with access to a semi-secluded, spring-fed tub? Don’t believe it? Read on.
Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia
Harrison Hot Springs Resort
The five geothermal pools at Harrison Hot Springs are all exclusive to guests of Harrison Hot Springs Resort (from $128). The place, which has cottages and lakeview rooms on the shores of glacier-fed Harrison Lake, is a 90-minute drive east of Vancouver. Each pool offers a different experience, from the 4,000-square-foot family pool to a more intimiate, outdoor, adults-only area. Book a room on floors six to eight for better vistas of the surrounding mountaintops and fir trees—and to avoid any noise from the surrounding pools. For an off-site experience, arrange for a Jeep tour ($185) with Fraser Valley Adventures, and you’ll off-road to the backcountry Clear Creek Hot Springs, where a metal tub sits perched overlooking a tumbling creek.
Montegrotto Terme, Italy
Terme di Relilax Hotel
The family-owned Terme di Relilax Hotel and Spa (from $151) is located in one of Italy’s oldest spa towns, Montegrotto Terme, 45 minutes east of Venice by car. The potassium-rich waters originate in the lower Dolomites before making their way to the hotel’s massive indoor thermal pool, which is designed with waterfalls and hydromassage stations, and a sprawling outdoor basin with quartz-sand floors. While the pools are open to visitors as well as hotel guests during the day, the hotel keeps the numbers low.
Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa
The town of Calistoga, in the heart of Napa Valley, has a more laid-back vibe than nearby Napa and Sonoma. Plus, it’s got great trail access to hiking, biking, and plenty of wine tasting. But many don’t expect to find access to geothermal waters. The 50-room Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa (from $246), designed as an ode to the American road trip, has three mineral pools on the property fed from underground springs, plus poolside cabanas and lounge chairs for relaxing after your soak and a spa with treatments like mix-your-own-mud baths.
Chico Hot Springs
At Chico Hot Springs (from $73), less than an hour from Bozeman and 35 miles from the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park, you can stay in cabins or the main lodge, or book a revamped train caboose or one of its covered wagons. Your soaking options are two geothermally heated hot-springs pools outdoors. They’re free for resort guests or $8.50 for day users. Bonus: the tubs are open until 11 P.M. for stargazing dips.
San Carlos, Costa Rica
Tabacón Thermal Resort
Set in the rainforest near the base of the Arenal volcano, Tabacón Thermal Resort (from $345) has hot springs and poolside waterfalls heated up to 105 degrees by the volcanic activity. The water contains health-boosting minerals like calcium, silica, and lithium. The springs also feed the rain showers in the hotel’s 103 contemporary rooms. The pools are free for hotel guests, but visitors can reserve a day pass (from $70), which comes with lunch or dinner at one of the property’s two restaurants that specialize in local cuisine.
Japan has no shortage of onsens, but the town of Kinosaki, a two-and-a-half-hour train ride from Kyoto, in the Kansai region, is where locals go to experience the centuries-old tradition. And for good reason: it was built around seven public bathhouses, which are free for those staying in one of the town’s ryokans, many of which have private onsens. Book a quiet garden suite at the 34-room Nishimuraya Honkan (from $631, including meals), where you’ll have access to indoor and outdoor pools in the bamboo grove just outside your door.
Avalanche Ranch Cabins and Hot Springs
At Avalanche Ranch, a rustic retreat in the Rockies, your cabin or covered wagon (from $95) grants you around-the-clock soaking rights to the property’s three natural mineral pools, which range from 92 to 104 degrees. You’ll find ten trailheads nearby for hiking and mountain biking, on-site yoga classes, and canoeing and paddleboarding at the adjacent Avalanche Pond. Visitors can drop in to the pools, with reservations, for $20 a day.
Maple Grove Hot Springs
A group of friends got together in late 2018 to buy and revamp Maple Grove Hot Springs, which closed that year under its previous ownership. Now a 45-acre retreat center and adventure base camp with its own on-site hot springs, it has campsites, yurts, cabins, and canvas tents (camping from $25; glamping from $115), which all come with access to the four stone soaking pools filled with hot, lithium-rich mineral water that are dotted along the Bear River. Day visitors to the springs can enter with a $15 day pass.