I'd picked up a brochure about Steward Mineral Springs at a local tourism info kiosk in 2011. I was going to spend a night there on this year's (2012) trip to OR and WA but it didn't work out. I planned to stop in to see it on the last leg of my trip, Ashland to SF, to see what it was like, and if I wanted to make more of an effort to stop there next year. I expected to get info from the office, perhaps a map so I could look around the grounds, and a change to see the place myself.
I did see it myself just by walking around and eyeballing the place.
As for info from the office? There was only one other person visible from 9:15 to 9:45 AM, who was completely hostile and rude.
What happened? I telephoned Stewart shortly after 9:00 AM to ask for more info - I was in the town of Gazelle, and suspected I'd missed a turn off between the I-5 exit and Gazelle. I reached a recording, which, for the record, had no information about their hours.
I found the correct road after backtracking. At the end of the road, a Sheriff was parked nearby. I asked if he could tell me where the entrance to Stewart Mineral Springs was. He pointed. "Wow, you can't tell where it is from the lack of signage!," I said. "I know," said the officer.
I drove up, followed signs "to office," parked, walked up the hill to a cluster of buildings. One building had an "office" sign and a door. I opened the door next to the office sign, walked into a very dark room (I could see a wood burning stove), and navigated my way through the dark room towards light at the back of the building.
Just then, a man bustled out a door with an armload of supplies, looked up at me, and YELLED, "What are you doing in here? How did you GET IN HERE??!! WHAT DO YOU WANT?!"
"Um, first, a bathroom... and then ..," I said. He pointed me to a bathroom and ran off before I finished speaking. Thank god at least he pointed me to the bathroom!
When I came out, he was nowhere to be seen.
It was evident that I was in the bathhouse, and I walked around and looked at the bathtub rooms, the outside decks, felt the water from a tub (soft!), walked down to the coldwater stream/pool, walked across the bridge and walked around the other side. I didn't see another soul.
When I came back to the office area, I looked and looked for the man I'd seen, as I wanted to properly introduce myself. I eventually found him behind a closed door, opened it, said "Hello..."
"What are you doing here. HOW did you get into this building?" he said.
"There was a sign outside this building that said "office," and it is next to a door, so I opened the door, and walked in," I said.
"COULDN'T YOU TELL THAT WAS A SAUNA? IT'S OBVIOUS THAT YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO WALK AROUND THE CORNER AND GO IN THIS [OTHER] DOOR!," he said with a very raised voice.
"Um; there's a sign that says "office" and it's next to a door, so I walked in the door next to the sign. I had no idea it was a sauna. It just looked like a dark room with a wood stove in it to me," I said.
"THE OFFICE DOOR IS AROUND THE CORNER FROM THE OFFICE SIGN," he stated with more anger.
I said, "I'm sorry, I don't know what to say. There is no arrow anywhere next to or near the "office sign." Do you want to go look at it with me? There's a sign that says "office" and it's next to a door..."
"NOT ONE PERSON BESIDES YOU HAS EVER BEEN UNABLE TO FIND THE CORRECT DOOR TO THE OFFICE," he said.
I said, "Sorry! Maybe when other people were here, there were other people out and about and they could see people coming and going from the office? Right now, you and I seem the be the only people here."
This was repeated in various ways for a time.
I said, "Look, maybe you could acknowledge that you are really angry at me, and then we could get beyond it."
That was ignored.
But I needed to get on with it. I explained why I was there, that I'd picked up a brochure last year, and wanted to see if I might want to make this a camping stop on my next year's trip to Oregon, "because I like hot springs."
"THIS IS **NOT** A HOT SPRING. This is a MINERAL SPRING," he said.
I said, "Yes, I knew that, I'm sorry, I used the term generically. I know it's a mineral spring."
"WE DON'T OPEN UNTIL NOON TODAY," he said.
"Okay," I said, "I didn't know that. There wasn't any information about that on your outgoing phone message. I telephoned around 9:15 AM. You'll have a message from me when you listen to your machine."
"Our phone system is really old."
O. M. G. !!!
So - in conclusion -- it's incredibly hot and dry in this country, way more than I like, hard to breath, even. Stewart is at a higher elevation than I-5, enough to take some edge off the heat, and put you into the beginning of pine forest. It's hard to find - you have to look closely for all the signage, or at least I did. It would be bearable to camp there because of the higher elevation, the cold stream running through the area with the plunge pool, and the baths with the mineral springs seem like a cool thing to do. I did not see where the camping area is, only where cottages are, and some kind of a central cafeteria area, in a lovely building near the bridge over the creek.
This guy could not have been more hostile, though, and I really was doing my best to be friendly, inquiring, and then neutral in the face of his anger at me. Honest to God, there really is an "office" sign with a door next to it, and no arrow around the corner. I don't know why this guy was so pissed off. Maybe he hates his job. Perhaps that is a good enough reason to avoid the place?
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Sounds as if you had an adventure in arriving at theSprings. We recently limited parking to the lower area as our guests werecomplaining that traffic noise was interfering with their massage and bathexperiences. Thank you for pointing out that the signs to our office wereconfusing for you.
With that said, I’ve spoken with the gentleman youmet while exploring the bathhouse. He is our operations manager and was in theprocess of setting up the facilities for the daily use. We spend several hourseach morning, stoking the fire for the sauna, attending to housekeepingresponsibilities, and maintenance as needed. He remembers that you did enterour sauna through the employees entrance (it is clearly not an office) andrequest to use the restroom. You neglected to mention that there was also adiscussion about the hours of operation signage posted on the office door.Before you began trying all the doors to the bathhouse, you were at theentrance to the front office reading the posted hours. If you were in search ofa restroom, our outdoor facilities (for campers) were right next to the dining hall.He was kind enough to let you use the ones in bathhouse when it was closed. Furthermore,after you were informed that the springs was closed and used the restroom, youcontinued to roam around the building trying to open other doors, eventuallyrunning into the manager again.
You mentioned that the bath water felt soft. All ourbaths are cleaned and drained daily. When you were roaming around thebathhouse, it sounds as if you turned on one of the faucets. Our mineral wateris only piped to these private baths.
I feel that your review is out of line and not inthe true spirit of TripAdvisor. You never experienced a bath, enjoyed ourlodging, spoke with our customer service representatives or dined on premise.Instead, you trespassed not once but twice, first in the sauna and bathhouseand then in the operations manager’s private office. Then you write a veryhostile, one-sided story. Honestly, we have never had a guest confuse our woodburning sauna with an office.
Rowena, General Manager
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.