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“Avoid it and go elsewhere, so many better spots in the area”

The Esalen Institute
Certificate of Excellence
Bay Area
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Avoid it and go elsewhere, so many better spots in the area”
Reviewed July 3, 2009

There are some really beautiful things about this place, but you have to get past the obnoxious staff, unbelievable crazy rules, total breakdown of communication, inconstant information. Basically a total lack of service. And if you can jump through the maze of hoops they set up, you have to still surf this weird elitist, "we are so much better than anyone" attitude. And its crazy expensive. Basically...No service, you beg and maybe they will let you pay an arm and a leg to be there. The folks who love this place are mostly tourists who have never seen a retreat centre so they an unfazed by the crazy rules and lack of hospitality...chalking the dysfunction up to "sacred". But check out Mt Madonna, look up Asilomar, lots of really welcoming retreat spas around the area that don't have the crazy attitude of Esalen. Equally great workshops, and gardens and much better prices. And if you still decide to check it out, I have a 100.00 gift certificate to the place, you can have it!

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24 Thank jazminne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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186 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Los Angeles, California
Level 6 Contributor
479 reviews
71 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 445 helpful votes
“Oh, I do not know..”
Reviewed July 1, 2009

The massage was very good and the setting, and sunset, and the sound of crashing waives, all these features were pretty spectacular. The sulphur baths were a good place to relax prior to the massage. And I understand the whole setup of a serene and free-thinking environment, the whole 60's era; however, I do not understand the totally dingy, see-through, small towels, and the sense of lack of basic cleanliness.. That bothered me. I also wish there were lockers so that I would not have to wonder whether my things would still be there following the massage.

Helpful?
16 Thank Anna G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Natural Hot Springs on the Cliffs and Gangaji”
Reviewed April 26, 2009

Awe inspiring drive from So Cal. On the ocean side of Hwy 1. Natural hot springs, world class massages, healthy meals included, various accomodations, some with views. Sit out on the same lawn that Hendrix played on. Pool and hot tubs-nude, never saw an optional suit, took about fifteen minutes to get used to that, saw just about every body type and no one seemed to be judging. The surf, the sun, the stars, the moon, the wild life, the butterflies. Not fancy but what a retreat! I sat for 5 days with Gangaji. Wow! By invitation, only. Sign up for a workshop or join and enjoy. We had otters playing in the surf below us and whale spouts in the distance.

Helpful?
1 Thank Sunrise2Sunset
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“esalen hot springs”
Reviewed March 15, 2009

If you can't make it to a retreat at esalen, the night time hot spring hours are the next best thing. Sitting in amazing tubs overlooking the ocean by moonlight, the experience simply has to be experienced to be appreciated! Do be aware that most bathers do not wear swim suits, but towels, etc are provided. Changing rooms and showers are communal as well. The shower is just amazing, overlooking the ocean with huge sliding doors! Make your reservation the day of via phone (don't plan on a cell phone signal in big sur!) and bring a flashlight/headlamp to help with the trek back to your car.

Helpful?
9 Thank brpferdehirt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NYC
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Lifetime Expeirence”
Reviewed February 19, 2009

This is one of the very few things in life that you must do . Although difficult to get a reservation you should try hard .For an hour before and after your massage ( very good ) you can sit and relax in Hot Springs overlooking the Pacific Ocean .With rain and at some point hail coming down hard the warmth was more than adequate .You are close enough to hear the waves below and the springs are supposed to have healing qualities .Do not expect people to be wearing anything .This goes down as one of the most amazing things I have ever done ,I recommend it highly

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3 Thank lennydj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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