Dr. Wilkinson’s Valentine’s Day Mud Bath Experience was perfect for us...
Valentine's Day is a day for couples. Often my husband, Joey and I just stay home and avoid the crowds.
Even though this year Vday landed mid-week, our kids were each doing their own thing and we had no other commitments, so we decided we would get away to make it a bit more special.
So we booked a one-night stay at Dr. Wilkinson's Backyard Resort and Mineral Springs in Calistoga, California, about an hour’s drive from our home.
We arrived at the hotel Tuesday around 2:00pm. Parking in their free lot was easy, and it was just a few steps to check in at the cute office. Jose, the manager, greeted us and made us feel welcomed right away.
24 years ago, when we were still dating, and getting to know each other we stayed at this hotel in one of their guest cottages. It was wonderfully romantic, and 'sealed the deal' for me.
On the drive back home, I asked Joey to marry me! It was quite an emotional moment for us, when I shared with Jose why we chose to stay there again, and how his hotel held great significance in our relationship. To celebrate, he graciously gifted us a bottle of wine to enjoy.
The next day, we were eager to experience the "MudSlinger" treatment.
Rosa showed us to a private bathroom where we changed from our street clothes into a robe they provided and then stashed our valuables in the beautifully-appointed coed locker room.
Then we were introduced to Christina, our guide for the MudSlinger service.
She expertly led us through the three phases of the treatment, which began with showing us the mud bath tubs filled with an ultra-hot mud mixture made of peat moss and volcanic ash.
We each had out own ‘tub’ with a half partition wall between us, so we could talk to each other about our experiences.
Christina told us to first take a warm shower which was right beside the tub, and then ‘flop onto the mud’. Clearly, I didn’t ‘get the memo’ nor understand the importance of her instructions until I learned how very hot the mud below the surface was.
As I was trying to get in, sitting on the tile edge, with my feet below the surface, she came to check on me. I told her it was too hot — she re-explained I was to (somehow) lay flat on top of the firm surface but not put my feet in, as you would when getting into a regular bathtub.
Joey was laughing at me, but I awkwardly 'plopped' my body on top as instructed and slowly started to settle in with my feet happily sticking out. We rubbed the mud all over our bodies, to stay warm and absorb the natural beneficial properties touted to soothe our aching muscles and joints.
After the mud application, we moved to the second phase in another area of the spa. Here we climbed into a hot bath filled with mineral water. (Yes, my feet went in, first! 🙂 )
It was a tranquil experience as we soaked and any remnants of mud that had crept into crevices were gently washed off.
We relaxed sipping refreshing lemon iced water and listened to calming music, again side by side but in our own tubs, so we were together.
In the third phase, we again walked a few steps to a cabana-like area with two beds. Christina asked to lay down on the flannel sheets they wrapped our entire body up like a baby, swaddled in warm blankets. She placed cucumber slices over our eyes and left us to unwind for 20 minutes.
You’d think that since I own a Pain Relief & Wellness center, and have experienced spa treatments all over the world, a cucumber eye experience would be ho-hum — but surprisingly, although it’s such a cliche ‘spa thing’, this was the very first time I’ve ever had them applied!
One thing to note is that the steam room was not in operation on the day we were there.
We finished the Mudslinger treatment, directed to another area to shower and change clothes, gather our belongings and check out.
Natural Geothermal Mineral Spring Pools:
The resort boasts three natural mineral geothermal pools that guests can also enjoy as they wish. We particularly loved the hottest pool of the three, with a temperature of around 115 degrees, where we hung out the afternoon and evening the night before. The resort's dedication to research, information, and education for all aspects of the utilization of therapeutic waters has been established by educational visits to natural-mineral-water-sourced communities and spa towns.
The water was tested by The Balneology Association of North America (BANA). Their assessment of Dr. Wilkinson's Natural Mineral Waters reveals that “they constitute neutralizing, balancing waters with the ability to strengthen skin, balance the peripheral nervous system, reset over-stressed nervous systems, hydrate, and detoxify overburdened systems through increased elimination. The multiple trace minerals found in the particular ratio in this water, along with near-neutral pH, make it ideal for longer immersion times and multiple-day treatments.”
The entire facility, including the guest rooms have been recently renovated and updated, and the grounds have a fun, kitschy retro-50s vibe.
Guests can play chess out on the grass with over-sized black and white chess pieces, swing on adult swings, sit around the fire pits in colorful adirondack’s or admire the classic turquoise Buick car in the front.
We had a 10:30 appointment which was perfect because we could have a lazy morning, experience our treatment and then go to Serafina’s on Lincoln Avenue just a few steps away for an amazing brunch.
Everything in Calistoga’s main downtown is quaint and easy to walk to.
The resort's natural mineral waters and Calistoga’s beautiful surroundings are always inviting, and feels like a step back in time to simpler days.
Whenever I’m brought in to consult with other clinic or spa owners, we always discuss the importance of what I refer to as my 4 E’s: Efficient, Effective Results (or Relief) in an Extraordinary Experience.
When any property or business can hit all four “E’s” their clients will be thrilled.
Although I wasn't hired to be a 'secret shopper' for the spa, I'm pleased to report we had a wonderful experience overall at Dr. Wilkinson's Backyard Resort in Calistoga.
There was no waiting and we were taken in right away for our The "MudSlinger" treatment precisely at our appointment time.
The service was effective (relaxing) and efficient with each of the elements of the experience seamlessly transitioning into the next, beautifully orchestrated. We were treated very well, with excellent customer service, so they accomplished all 4 Es!
It was a fun way to celebrate our 24th Valentine's Day together and we look forward to visiting again.
(The Spa treatment was sponsored by Dr. Wilkinson's)