Despite the abundance of spas scattered throughout Southern California, it can be difficult to find one that truly offers an all-day experience. Glen Ivy Hot Springs in Corona, California offers just such an inclusive experience. One can truly spend all day dipping in and out of its various pools and hot springs as well as enjoy various treatments offered by the spa.
How it works:
If you truly want the full spa experience, I suggest you get there as soon as it opens and really enjoy the full day there. Clients are submitted to a bag check before checking in, in the main building. (No outside food or drink sare permitted.) It is recommended that you schedule your treatments prior to arriving at Glen Ivy, especially during weekends and peak season. Personally, I like to schedule my treatments for the last hour of the day. I find this to be the best option because it leaves the rest of my day uninterrupted and I can leave immediately after my treatment to go home and…relax some more. However, appointment time preference varies.
As mentioned, clients check-in in the main building at the front of the spa. Payment is expected up-front and you can leave a card on file to avoid having to carry your wallet around all day long. Lockers are provided free of charge in the Bath House. Once your items are safely stowed away you can feel free to enjoy the Bath House amenities. (Note: the Bath House is not co-ed) Such amenities include: a steam room, showers, lounge and roman bath. Unlimited towels are also provided free of charge for the entire day and are located at stations throughout the spa.
Glen Ivy is made up of over 10 pools and hot springs. Some, like the lap pool located in the front of the complex, are cool; while others, like the saline and sulfur springs are a very warm 104 degrees on average. There’s no real right or wrong way of taking in these pools, simply wandering around and choosing which to do next is half the fun.
Club Mud is one of the highlights of this particular spa. This is a clay treatment that exfoliates your skin and prepares you for the Grotto treatment. Despite the clear signs posted in the area, I still notice many who do this process incorrectly.
- Soak in the warm water pool first for about 5-10 minutes.
- Spread a thin layer of clay over your entire body excluding your face. The clay can cause a reaction on sensitive skin. (There are two clay stations, one in the warm pool and another by the saunas located on the opposite side of Club Mud.)
- Lounge on one of the chairs and dry off in the warm California sun. You will feel the clay harden—it’s working.
- Once it is completely dry, slough it off using your hands or a towel. This is what causes the exfoliation. I can’t tell you how many times I see people put the clay on then rinse it off without exfoliating. This defeats the purpose.
- Shower yourself clean.
The Grotto should follow Club Mud. The Grotto experience is usually by appointment early so book it early and it is included in the Getaway Package. Arrive early and expect to fill out some paperwork before descending to the dark “cave” that is the Grotto.
You will be escorted by elevator down to the lower level where the treatment occurs while receiving a narrative from your escort about the many benefits of the treatment. Essentially, you are being slathered in lotion containing aloe Vera and all sorts of other moisturizers.
Upon exiting the elevator, you will be greeted by a staff member who will go over the treatment with you. You will then be called into the first of three rooms where you will be painted with the thick, green lotion while receiving another explanation on the benefits as well as instructions. Souvenir photos are available.
After you are completely covered (except your face, again) you move on to the second room which is hot and sauna-like. You stay in there for 10-15 minutes while rubbing the lotion into your skin. Next, shower and thoroughly rinse off. The third room of the treatment is the “cold room” where you can sit and enjoy water, tea and apples while listening to the sound of the waterfall in the corner. (I suggest taking towels into this room, it can get quite chilly). This temperature causes your pores to close, completing the treatment. You then exit through to the room with your belongings, collect them, and ascend in the elevator. Tips are not required for the Grotto treatment but are encouraged.
Now on to the best part: the massage! So, you will begin the massage process by checking in and filling out some paperwork. Your technician will then come out to greet you and guide you to the appropriate room. He or she will go over your needs and expectations. Once things are clear, you will be asked to dress down to your comfort level. You will most likely begin face down, which you will gladly do for those wonderful heated beds! When the technician returns, he or she will slip a pillow under your legs and begin the massage. Each massage is unique in the details. Some technicians will use hot towels and some will use hot and/or cold stones. Some will incorporate stretching and others will incorporate some techniques that vary from traditional Swedish. For example, my last therapist used some deep tissue techniques that did wonders for my tired back.
The session lasts exactly 50 minutes. At the end, the technician may have to wake you! You will then slip back into your clothes (I recommend bringing an extra set so you don’t have to change back into your wet bathing suit) and the technician will be waiting outside of the door with water. Glen Ivy offers the option of charging the tip to the card you have on file.
At this point, in my case, it’s time to go home. Be sure to collect your belonging from the lockers. It is not necessary to close out your tab as it will happen automatically at the closing of the spa.
Many of the pools offer benefits such as joint-pain relief and muscle relaxation. Club Mud exfoliates your skin while the Grotto moisturizes it. And there’s no denying the instant gratification of an excellent massage.
If you really plan on being there the whole day, the packages are an excellent option which allow you to do a bit of everything. Towels are provided, as is water, but sunscreen is not. Even cloudy days can be deceiving as I have burned even on the most overcast of days. The reflective water doesn’t do much to help the situation, so lather up!
Wear a dark bathing suit if you intend to participate in Club Mud. The clay will stain any light material.
Don’t forget to eat. The café offers a variety of healthy and delicious options to nourish your relaxed body.
Glen Ivy Hot Springs is truly a unique experience. It is the opposite of most urban spas with its open-aired facility. If it were open longer, I’d have no problem finding things to do. However, be prepared to spend a little more than what you would at smaller establishments. It’s well worth it.