Spent the week here at a workshop and this place is pure joy. Don't get me wrong-- it's not a luxury hotel, though the location is world class. But the waves crashing, the sense of unchanging earthiness, the gardens, the healthy and delicious food (some of it from their gardens) and two or three soaks in the thermal tubs each day-- all add up to timeless perfection. Yes, there are mice in the rooms. (do not bring food... duh...) No, they will not change your towels and sheets for you in the bunk rooms. But you will fall in love and never want to leave.
I was nervous about the bunk rooms (6 beds to a room-- see pictures) but mine was great. Rolf room #1 is perched right on the cliff with waves crashing. There are 3 closets, 2 dressers, and drawers under each bunk. One bathroom, which was next to my bed, but never disturbed me. You will not be able to choose the building you will stay in when you reserve-- but I would have honestly been happy anywhere. You can hear the ocean from anywhere on the property-- and will find yourself in the hot tub staring off into the ocean or sky more than you will be looking out from your room.
You will get great exercise walking up and down the hills to the tubs,or down to the farm area. The bread alone is worth the price of the room-- and there's always an amazing salad bar as well as more than one soup choice. Meat is served for those who want it. I think that they do a great job of feeding many people each day-- how do they make it seem so healthy while satisfying so many?
I hope to spend a week here once a year from here on. This place immediately both relaxed and energized me. I feel like I'm under a spell! It was magical and I can't recommend Esalen highly enough.
p.s. beside the bunk rooms, you can also get regular rooms for 1 or 2, or, at the other end of the spectrum, stay in a sleeping bag in one of the meeting rooms. Sounds worse than it is-- the meeting rooms have huge pillows and bathrooms of their own.
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