We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

The Esalen Institute

55000 Highway 1, Big Sur, CA 93920-9616
888-837-2536
Website
Improve this listing
Ranked #5 of 15 Attractions in Big Sur
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: Spas, Educational Sites
Activities: Dining, Leisure education
Traveler Description: Located off of a winding stretch of Highway 1 in beautiful Big Sur, California, this grandmother of all human potential centers offers workshops and... more »
Write a Review

106 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    78
    16
    5
    5
    2
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Key West
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2014 NEW

These are truly amazing hot springs! You can also do workshops that allow for unfettered access to the baths, or camp in the area (Julia Pfeiffer Burns or Nacimento area) and volunteer in the organic farm in the mornings for access to the property for the day.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Saint Louis, Missouri
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 attraction reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2014 NEW

We did the 1-3 a.m. nighttime bathing session in the hot springs. As other reviewers have mentioned, a little more than half the party (25 bathers are allowed each night) went nude, but it's no big deal either way. Besides, once you get in the pools (shower quickly and claim a spot in one of the two larger pools overlooking... More

Was this review helpful? Yes
Toledo, Ohio
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
17 attraction reviews
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2014

This was a fun experience, I would go back. If you're reading the other reviews and worried about being naked, don't. Only about 1/2 of the group when we went were naked and you'd hardly notice anyhow. I was semi-concerned about taking a 12yr old there but there were no problems with it. The worst part is trying to get... More

Was this review helpful? Yes
Santa Barbara
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2014

My wife and I have visited Esalen frequently for massage appointments and to use the incredible mineral baths. We haven't yet signed up for one of their retreats, which is really their main purpose, but we hope to soon. The baths are absolutely incredible and unique. Try to picture a modern architectural masterpiece perched directly over the cliffs above the... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Azusa, California
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
13 attraction reviews
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2014

Yes, I was naked and afraid! Ok, ok, the afraid part is because I'm very modest, and being naked around a bunch of strangers made me very nervous, but listen carefully: it's not as bad as you think! First of all, getting the reservation for a 1-3 am hot tub soak was pretty hard, but keep calling multiple times a... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2014

I have taken 3 week long workshops here for massage continuing education. The atmosphere supports your personal journey. The bath house and massages are very relaxing. And the food is simply amazing.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Los Angeles, California
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2014

Esalen is not for everyone, but if it is for you... it might just be your favorite place on Earth. Whether you come alone, with your significant other, or even with a friend, this beautiful destination is one of a kind. Overlooking the ocean with breathtaking views, you're surrounded by nature in a quiet relaxing setting. This experience offered healthy... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Morgantown, West Virginia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2014

I went here for a massage while on vacation in Big Sur. I had some trepidation about the clothing optional aspect, I opted to wear my bathing suit but everyone else was naked and I did not feel one bit uncomfortable, as all of the other folks seemed to be minding their own business, there was definitely no gawking or... More

Was this review helpful? Yes
Rutherford, New Jersey
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
20 attraction reviews
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2014

The quest of Esalen is maximizing human potential. It a very earthy place: beautiful gardens, therapeutic sulphur baths, breathtaking views. It also offers physical and emotional wellness classes and experiences. I did not stay at Esalen, I came with friends for the massage. You are allowed to come and hour before and stay an hour after the message. I have... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Los Angeles, California
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
5 attraction reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2014

I took a weekend workshop here and loved every minute. Everyone is open to meeting others and very positive. The food was clean, tasty and fresh. As for the baths- do what is comfortable. I wore my bathing suit and no one ever said anything. But only come here if you are an open minded person.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1

Travelers who viewed The Esalen Institute also viewed

 

Been to The Esalen Institute? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage The Esalen Institute, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.

Manage your listing