Some spas seduce you with a delicate Zen whisper, an impossibly soft vegan fabric robe, and a concoction of organic celery, parsley and mint juices. Some leak the rumor to you that this week’s “it” girl is there fasting in preparation for a major role, or that the head of the latest buzz-worthy Internet site and his current paramour have rented the “big “ house for a week. The Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort is different. This gem of a spot is of the real world and for real people. Not to say that you won’t find your peace there. You will…
While this is not an ashram where city folks’ monk-like alter egos mingle, it is a place to unpretentiously engage the senses - a place to not only heal body and mind, but also a place you can have fun. Not to say that tranquility is out of reach here… it’s just that you don’t feel inferior for just coming to casually relax, laugh and hang out on the nearby beach, maybe take in a morning fishing jaunt from Port San Luis.
Midway between San Francisco and L.A. (about 4 hours on Hwy 101 from either starting point), near San Luis Obispo (SLO, as the locals endearingly call it), nestled in the stretch that links Pismo Beach and Morro Bay, the resort is alongside a wide swath of road that connects the nearby town of Avila Beach to the Pacific. Besides overnight and weekend guests, it welcomes daytrippers (and night owls), locals and visitors alike to its private sulphur mineral baths and broad palette of spa services - including their enticing new wine-based therapies!
The Sycamore Resort is a place where you can hike and kayak to your heart’s content or swim a dozen laps in a heated pool, before relaxing into a yoga, Tai Chi or Pilates class in the hilltop Yoga Dome, soaking in one of the many redwood tubs, or walking a meditation through the classic stone path labyrinth modeled after the one in Chartres, France. Then, you can head into the Treatment Center for a massage or facial and work up an appetite for a gourmet meal at The Gardens of Avila -- with a sampling of world-class local wines.
Sound tempting? Sycamore serves well as an unpretentious private retreat, a romantic escape, or even a girlfriends’ weekend. It’s big enough and with a wide enough range of amenities and accommodations that you will be able to design your own particular brand of getaway.
About a hundred and twenty years ago, drillers searching for oil struck a vein of steamy hot, mineral rich water instead of black gold and the area quickly gained a different sort of popularity than they had hoped for. In the early 1900s, the spot was dubbed San Luis Hot Sulphur Springs and show biz types like W.C. Fields, guests from the nearby Hearst Castle, would visit with their entourage for a hillside soak and the opportunity to indulge in less formal behavior than appreciated at the castle. The Pacific Coast Railway stopped nearby making it easy for club cars full of visitors from both Los Angeles to San Francisco to also partake of the waters.
In the mid-1930s the name poetically evolved into Sycamore Mineral Springs and the draw became the miraculous cures the water was said to afford sufferers of arthritis and other ailments. Doctors and nurses supervised the operation until the mid-1970s when Sycamore was restored to its spa resort roots, catering to the throngs of vacationers who were first discovering the charms of the Central Coast.
Healing, luxuriating, or just taking a break, these days you can choose from a full menu of massage and facial therapies, then indulge in the usage of either a rustic hillside tub, one adjacent to your room, or the spectacular Oasis – a rock sheltered private tub for you and up to 30 friends.
Besides all the great potable vintages coming out of this area (wine tasting is another local draw), you can also sign up for a Wine Therapy Signature Massage featuring Chardonnay Grape seeds, jojoba, macadamia, avocado, and coconut… or for a Wine Therapy Signature Facial. Yum. Or how about a Chardonnay Antioxidant Sugar Scrub, a Chardonnay Anti-Aging Wrap or the “Wrapsody – The Le Vin Duet” a scrub and moisturizing treatment combining the Sugar Scrub and the Anti-Aging Wrap? Pour another… I’ll drink to that!
For accommodations, reservations and pricing information visit http://www.sycamoresprings.com
© Melt Magazine 2008