Retreat, Relax, And Rejuvenate at Sunrise Springs Spa Resort


Retreat, Relax, And Rejuvenate at Sunrise Springs Spa Resort

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The bridge at Sunrise Springs
The bridge at Sunrise Springs

When was the last time you did something for the first time? If you’re scratching your head and can’t remember a recent first, we recommend you book a long weekend at Sunrise Springs Spa Resort in Santa Fe New Mexico. That question is the mantra of the year-old wellness retreat from Ojo Spa Resorts. At Sunrise Springs, guests are invited to try something they’ve never done before—be it feeding Silkie chickens with dried worms or soaking in an open-air tub filled with vitamin-enriched waters. Trying something new activates curiosity, channels one’s inner child, and enhances overall well being. There is extensive daily programing that allows spa goers to immerse themselves in exploration and relaxation. Spend just three nights at the resort and it’s impossible not to leave feeling rejuvenated.

The Moonhouse
The Moon House

Although Sunrise Springs is a wellness retreat, there is nothing overly healthy about the resort. There are no juice cleanses—in fact, the only juice the spa’s restaurant, the Blue Heron, serves is a refreshing housemade ginger soda—or mandatory workouts. Instead guests are invited to create a personalized experience based on their needs. If you’re battling those last ten pounds of pregnancy and want to have a dietary consultation with the resort’s medical director, Dr. Sally Fisher, you can book an appointment, but it’s not required. Likewise for therapy sessions with lead counselor Michael Schroeder—if you’re dealing with the aftermath of a disastrous breakup and want to chat about it with a professional, you can. However, if you simply want a restful and uplifting retreat, you can find this at Sunrise Springs too.

Guests can take a gardening class
Guests can take a gardening class

The resort sits on 70 acres of lush high desert land. It’s home to natural cold springs that served Native Americans and Spanish colonialists for generations. It’s located about 20 minutes Southwest of Santa Fe and a short ten-minute ride from the Santa Fe Airport. The Albuquerque International Airport, 50 minutes south of Sunrise, is accessible by shuttle service and the best option for a direct flight from the Bay Area. The second you set foot on the gorgeous grounds be prepared to slow down. A landscaped rock formation filled with greenery and a gurgling waterfall greets guests. The restaurant and reception area overlook a large natural pond that is surrounded by extensive trees and grasses. Beyond, a man-made bridge crosses the green lake. There is another water element and a large medicine wheel, a circular mandala made out of grass, stones, and an earth pathway. The traditional Native American formation offers insight on one’s spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional status. Finding your place on the medicine wheel is one of the workshops that’s offered several times a week. The grassy wheel is expansive and dotted with cherry, apple, and peach trees. Pathways lead out from the center of the wheel toward the expressive arts studio, greenhouse, garden, pool, and zen yoga studio. Inviting adult-sized swings hang from tall ancient-looking trees, overflowing with bright green leaves.

The casitas
The casitas

The resort has 20 acres of gorgeous gardens, paths, and walking trails— with 50 more acres undeveloped for hiking and exploration by guests. The medicine wheel is bordered by 32 garden-view guest rooms with balconies or patios and a choice of a single queen or two full beds. The 20 casitas are more spacious: lofty rooms with high ceilings, king-sized beds, gas fireplaces, private patios, and deluxe bathrooms. All of the 52 rooms have wildly comfortable mattresses and linens—and to ensure the best and most restful sleep, blackout shades. Although there are no televisions, the rooms come equipped with complimentary internet, so bring your iPad or computer if staying up to date on the news is a priority. The rooms are decorated with natural wood elements, white walls, and Pendleton blankets. Amenities include local coffee and tea (made with herbs grown and dried on the property), a leather journal, and Dr. Patrizia Collard’s Little Book of Mindfulness.

Inside one of the resort's casitas
Inside one of the resort’s casitas

There is plenty to do at Sunrise Springs. Activities include a wide range of culinary, expressive arts, fitness, movement, health, horticulture, nature and animal based options. The mornings can be spent practicing yoga, hiking the nearby trails in search of 600-year old Native American rock scratchings called petroglyphs, or learning how to make smoothies and herbal tea in the kitchen. In the afternoons, take a meditation or painting class, make a plan for your at-home garden, or practice Qigong. There’s even a sweat lodge where rituals are performed to gain insight and spirituality. 

A fleet of adorable puppies
A fleet of adorable puppies

One of the things that makes Sunrise so unique are its animal interactions. Taking a moment to slow down and pet a puppy does wonders for one’s health. Science proves that spending time with furry companions releases oxytocin, lowers blood pressure, reduces cortisol levels, and decreases heart rate. The resort has a partnership with Assistance Dogs of the West, a nonprofit that provides service and assistance dogs to families, individuals, and organizations who would benefit from a positive relationship with dogs. Sunrise has a puppy enrichment program in which they raise a litter of puppies, training them to grow into potential service dogs. Guests of the resort are welcome to be a part of this process and can interact with the adorable labrador puppies on a daily basis—and cuddling with the puppies is in fact one of Sunrise’s most popular activities. Another special animal interaction is Sunrise’s Silkie chicken play. More than 20 plush and pretty chickens, whose feathers feel like silk—hence the name—are raised in a large coop adjacent to the garden. Guests feel a lightness of spirit and mind by entering the coop and connecting with the chickens, feeding, petting, and embracing them.

A private outdoor soaking tub at the spa
A private outdoor soaking tub at the spa

One experience every guest should partake in is a trip to the resort spa. Customizable body work, therapeutic massage, purifying facials, reiki energy healing, and acupuncture are offered. Book a hot basalt stone massage or Native American blue corn and prickly pear salt scrub, then be sure to make an appointment for the luxurious Ojitos open-air soaking experience. Bathe au natural in a private outdoor pool or mineral-infused soaking tub. The calming magnesium-based soak is the bathtub of your dreams. It’s an intimate wooden room that overlooks the pond and is nestled underneath towering cottonwood trees. Take mindfulness to a whole new level when you’re sitting in the soothing warm waters, staring at the bright blue sky and listening to the wind rustle the leaves.

A vegan carrot puree
A vegan carrot puree

With so many pursuits, it’s easy to work up an appetite. The restaurant is open three times a day, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Chef Rocky Durham combines seasonal, locally sourced elements with ingredients grown on the property to make delicious and flavorful cuisine. Each menu has something for everyone and the dishes are infused with classic New Mexican components. For breakfast, enjoy a burrito with scrambled eggs, spinach, tomato, aged cheddar cheese, and green chiles. At lunch, devour a crisp sourdough flatbread covered in pesto and dotted with prosciutto and goat cheese. For dinner, choose from roast chicken with polenta and ricotta, ribeye with green chile whipped potatoes, or crab croquettes with basil pappardelle. All of the food is fresh and filling without being overly greasy or fatty. Wine and beer is served and when you’re sick of all the wellness you can indulge in decadent cheeseburger with brined French fries. The Moon House, an open-air sitting room and deck that overlooks the lake, offers appetizers, wine, and beer daily from 4:30 to 7 p.m.

The restaurant has an outdoor patio
The restaurant has an outdoor patio

Whether you’re in need of a deep transformative experience or simply want to recharge, Sunrise Springs is the ideal getaway. The gracious staff, enchanting landscape, illuminating activities, and sacred waters will leave you with a breadth of memorable experiences. As you sit in a rocking chair overlooking the lake on a sunny afternoon, the Sunrise Springs’ second mantra will come to mind. “Everything is working out perfectly.”

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