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“too relaxed to drive home”
Review of Refuge

Ranked #1 of 15 Spas & Wellness in Carmel
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Owner description: Refuge is the first American facility dedicated to Hydro-thermal therapy and offers the ultimate in relaxation that is one of a kind! Truly the best 3 hours in Carmel! Through heating up in our Co-ed Sauna and Steam bath, cooling down in our cold pools and relaxation in indoor relaxation rooms or outdoor areas with fireplaces - you will be relaxed! Massages are available as well!
Reviewed January 17, 2013

6 hot pools, 6 (really) cold pools, fire pits, wet and dry sauna, zero gravity chairs, massage... my bones melted after the 2nd cycle.

great place. clean atmosphere. friendly staff.

2  Thank Kathy R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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275 - 279 of 407 reviews

Reviewed January 14, 2013

I have been to this amazing place a couple of times and absolutely love it every time! I don't think I've ever felt so relaxed...I'm hooked!

1  Thank Kirsten R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 11, 2013

I went on a Friday in January and stumbled into the Carmel Valley Athletic Club first by accident. After swimming a few laps and wandering around trying to find the 10 pools, waterfalls and saunas I figured I must be in the wrong place. If you haven't been there before and don't know there are two separate places owned by two separate companies you might be just as puzzled as I was. The staff was very nice about the mixup and eventually I got where I needed to go. Loved the eucalyptus wet sauna. Bring your own water and fill up lavishly using the free outdoor fountain. There is no food allowed. I couldn't figure out where people were getting their robes and didn't know about the $12 robe fee. It seems pretty silly to be using a robe when you are getting in and out of pools all day long. Within a few dips, your robe is going to be cold and wet anyway. So I just used my swimsuit. I was there for 4 hours. I did not get a massage so I can't comment on them. There was hardly anyone there since the weather was cloudy with intermittent drizzles. Not for the faint of heart but then again I am an outdoor swimmer and swim in a heated pool 5 days a week. I could not tolerate the cold cold pool. The cold pool was about the same temp as the Pacific or a Sierra stream. Loved the outdoor fireplaces especially the farthest one from the lockers facing the hillside. Would love to go again with friends.

2  Thank Robin M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 8, 2013

I read several of the reviews, even checked out the terrible, poor and average comments to find out why someone didn't like the place. All I can say is that those problems were either petty or corrected during our stay today.
The place is amazing, the staff was very helpful, you'd have to have bionic hearing to be "disturbed" by the people playing tennis as the Carmel Valley Athletic Club, the eucalyptus steam room took a bit of getting used to but it was amazing.
If you've got a problem with Refuge, it's because you're looking for problems and are one of those "trouble finds you" types of people.
My wife and I showed up an hour before our massages so we could get the orientation without feeling hurried. We did one hydro-thermal cycle (about 10-15 minutes) and then warmed up in the jacuzzi-temperature pool for about 10 minutes and then went to our massages.
Forget about deep tissue or sports and go for the super soothing Swedish massage. It was amazing!
Also, apparently now the $12 robe fee isn't charged if you book a massage, which was done over the phone since one commenter may have had a problem with the online booking.
Yes, there's no eating once inside. We had a sausage, egg and cheese muffin about 2 hours before arriving (didn't want to feel full for the massage), and sprang for a whole $2.50 or whatever for a bottle of water. Two, even, because I reckon' some people who complain about not getting free water at the massage are, again, either petty or just looking for reasons to complain.
It recommends flip-flops or sandals, but toward the end we felt very comfortable getting around barefoot. It's just really an immaculate place.
So my favorite part, by the way, was the fire pit next to the side of the hill. The lounge chairs were great and my wife and I were just looking at the birds and listening to the sounds of nature.
Yes, no talking, but you can whisper here and there. Someone had complained in a posting about staff being rude about enforcing the silence. Again, if you're the idiot talking loud enough to get warned about the no-talking policy, you're just looking for trouble and/or not the person who should've been there in the first place. Holy crap, you're probably the kind of person your coworkers can't stand.
The therma-cycles were exhilarating and I even tried the super cold "like a frozen river" pool after my last one and loved it!
OK, that's about all I have to say about that.
Just go, you'll love it!

3  Thank Delton L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2013

Ditto everything said by 999Marr. Plus I agree the Refuge IS America's #1 Co-ed spa and as
such is great for couples, singles, friends to share together and families.
And not only is the setting heavenly, the massages are among the Best in the West!!

Thank carolyne w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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