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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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98 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Rutherford, New Jersey
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
18 attraction reviews
14 helpful votes 14 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.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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
50 reviews 50 reviews
4 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
3 helpful votes 3 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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Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
7 attraction reviews
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 5, 2014

If you are uptight, conservative, or have body esteem issues the don't go to Esalen. Or rather, DO! They can probably massage it out of you. Clothing is optional in the mineral bath hot tubs, but if you decide to leave your on, you'll be the only one. :)

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Boston, Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
10 attraction reviews
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2014

We made a reservation for the 1-3am public access to the hot springs and pulled up on the side of the highway at 12:45am as instructed. A woman met us right before 1am and took us down to the check-in kiosk and then down to the baths. We knew that clothing was optional (all changing rooms are co-ed as well)... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Seattle, Washington
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
9 attraction reviews
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2014

The buzz seems to be that the Institute is going through changes the past few years, trying to redefine and keep relevant in an era when spiritual pursuits are available everywhere. I took a cooking workshop workshop over 5 days, and cannot overstate how delightful the experience was. The teacher Leslie Cerier and her assistants were knowledgeable and fun, and... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Morro Bay, California
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
13 attraction reviews
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2014

One doesn't have to stay at Esalen to experience a phenomenal massage in a magical setting. Call Esalen and reserve a massage within 30 days at selected times as a guest, and not only will you have one of the best, if not the very best massages ever, but you will be able to enjoy the unbelievably beautiful spa, right... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
30 attraction reviews
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2014

It is a magic place surrounded by one of the most beautiful nature in the whole world. The pools are locate on the top of a cliff with an amazing ocean view.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1

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