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The Esalen Institute

55000 Highway 1, Big Sur, CA 93920-9616
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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 »
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103 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Santa Barbara
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2014 NEW

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

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Azusa, California
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
13 attraction reviews
35 helpful votes 35 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 1
Santa Fe, New Mexico
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.

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Los Angeles, California
5 reviews 5 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
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

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Morgantown, West Virginia
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

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Rutherford, New Jersey
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
20 attraction reviews
17 helpful votes 17 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
16 reviews 16 reviews
5 attraction reviews
9 helpful votes 9 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.

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Tulsa, Oklahoma
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2014 credit card Amex Card Member Review

This is a place that will be a lifelong experience. Food grown in their own farm garden. Bands are unbelievable. The history unique.

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Las Vegas, Nevada
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
6 attraction reviews
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2014

I stayed at Esalen recently for a 5 day writing workshop. The property is spectacularly beautiful and the vibe is totally relaxing. I shared a bunk room for 4 and the beds were fine, we shared 1 bathroom. The tubs are incredible, perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the water. They are "clothing optional" and no one wears... More

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simi valley
13 reviews 13 reviews
4 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2014

Because this place is a learning institute, you can only stay here if you're registered for a workshop - unless you're a 'friend of Esalen' and then you can do a weekend retreat IF there's room. This was my 3rd time here and each time was just as amazing as the times before. The food is excellent, ground beautiful and... More

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