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Living Waters Spa, Palm Springs, California

The blissdom of boredom

If you’ve yet to experience the unfettered joy of Living Waters Spa in Desert Hot Springs, California, I’m here to tell you it’s time, girlfriend. Step off the stressful grind of your life and just breathe in the serenity of you. Your mind, soul and body will thank you - trust me!

I recently visited Living Waters (with my husband – aka Mr. GoGirlfriend) – our second visit. To be honest, it felt a lot like coming home after a long, tiring day. We've stayed at more than our fair share of high end, luxury resorts, fabulous urban getaways and a even a smattering of clothing optional and resorts like Orient Beach, Desire. Naturist resorts – clothing-optional and nude vacationing – are part of our DNA. But Living Waters is something different, a more intimate, personal experience.

Living Waters clothing optional mineral spaBefore you visit, understand that Living Waters Spa is the only European style clothing optional resort for adults in Desert Hot Springs, California. It’s not your typical naturist resort, nor is it a Lifestyle resort – total relaxation is the goal here.

Built from the bones of the Kismet Lodge, a custom-built 1960’s mineral spring spa, the hotel and pools were given another chance at life 13 years ago, thanks to the creative talents of Jeff and Judy Bowman. They welcomed their 10,000 guest this past spring. During the initial restoration, they kept the Andy Warhol flavor of minimalist, zen and stark contrasts alive while honoring their home in the desert with native foliage and an uninterrupted, breathtaking view San Jacinto mountain. The result is a sublime space designed for mental and physical relaxation rather than high-end resort-style vacationing – the perfect place to reconnect with your partner or yourself.

Allow me to share how Living Waters Spa rocked my soul. Deeply.

Practice the art of being still

The first time we visited, I was worried how we’d spend my time here. The pools and spa treatments looked enticing but to spend three days without internet, TV, music – what would we do? Jeff said my reaction is very normal and he often sees first-timers pacing the pool deck, looking more like caged panthers than vacationers. Within a few hours of that first arrival, I felt the vibration of constant activity slowing and I began to breathe deep again, deeper than I had in a long time. “The blissdom of boredom,” according to Jeff.

What’s more, without all those distractions, my husband and I stretched pillow talk all day long – something we never have time for in our everyday lives.

Lay yourself down to sleep

history, simplicity and zennessWe planted ourselves in a room poolside, just steps away from the pools. All Living Waters Spa accommodations come with a King size bed, air conditioner, microwave and mini-fridge but some come with a small kitchenette and/or a patio. You won’t find any TV’s or a state-of-the-art sound system – but wifi is available. Completely disconnecting is gently encouraged.

Or opt for the privacy of one of their spa condos across the street – you’ll need to wear at least a towel to travel back and forth.

Soak up the magic

Since the Renaissance, mineral waters (also referred to as thermal waters) have been thought to heal a plethora of medical conditions. The water in the pools at Living Waters is fed from a private spring at a rate of 15-20 gallons per minute and is straight from the earth’s mantle. It’s naturally heated and free from chemicals (no need for chlorine with this rapid exchange rate).

mineral water pools like liquid silkWe visit in the heat of summer and outside temeratures generally swell to a stupid kind of hot, focing us to spend our time between the main pool (a few degrees below body temperature) and the therapy pool (a few degrees above body temperature). The water swirled around us like liquid silk, moisturizing and soothing my tired skin and joints.

Some say the waters offer magical healing…

Drink up some magic too

Soaking in the water is just part of the therapy – drinking it is important as well.  Living Waters received a gold medal from Berkeley Springs International Waters Tasting - Festival of the Waters for the taste of their water. To be honest, I couldn’t get enough of it.

Restore yourself with a massage

Jeff claims that Living Waters offers the best massages in the world because they focus on healing the mind, body and soul. During our first visit, I was skeptical – I’ve had a lot of massages – but a few minutes into the massage and I knew he hadn’t exaggerated. I fell asleep more than once and when I was finished, all I wanted was more soaking in the pools.

They offer a wide variety of massages, including couple’s side-by-side massage, syncopated four-handed massages and even massage and sensual touch instruction for couples.

Feed yourself

best spot for sunrise coffeeThe Living Waters offers a continental breakfast but no other meals. We opted to eat at a local Thai restaurant for one dinner and brought one dinner with us, a delicious montage of wine, cheese, French bread and olives nibbled poolside. For lunches, we noshed on deli salads and fresh fruit. Our kitchenette featured a stove/oven, microwave, coffee maker, full-sized fridge, which allowed us to cook a full meal had we been so inclined. One poolside room even offers a barbeque for the more adventurous. Whatever option you choose, plan ahead so mealtime stress doesn’t sneak back in.

Bring your sexy back

Whether you’re a newly joined couple or veterans with each other, there’s no shame in needing help relocating that sexy, intimate zone – it happens to all of us. Whether you’re looking for all day pillow-talk or intimacy workshops with private instruction, Living Waters offers a safe, accepting space. From simple romantic massage to intimacy coaching, Jeff and Judy offer an interesting variety of ways to reconnect. Please note, this is not a swinger’s resort and all coaching is monogamous, which means you and your partner enjoy sessions together. They do offer couple’s workshops with multiple couples but again, it’s within a monogamous context.   

relax into connectingJeff told me the average stay for couples is two nights. Most people need time to find their relaxation mode, especially if they live fast-paced lives. “But if you only have one night, we give couples the time and space to focus all their energy into their time with us so they can leave refreshed and reconnected,” he said.

Living Waters also offers day passes but call ahead to ensure one is available on the day you’d like to visit. Be aware that guests are vetted before being allowed inside. If you’re looking for a hook-up, this isn’t the place for you.

If your travel curiosity's peaked, visit the Living Waters Spa online or TripAdvisor to read other reviews. You can also find them on Facebook. If you go, tell them GoGirlfriend sent you!

Ever visited a clothing optional spa or resort? What did you love (or hate) about it? Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook or drop a comment below – and let’s continue the conversation!

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