I send a smoke signal up to Sazi, manager of the Sierra Grande Lodge — a hotel that was recently purchased by Ted Turner. Within a few minutes I get an email from an employee there, inviting me to visit any day (Today? Sure!) between check out and check in (Right now? Perfect!). I’m already downtown, and my bag’s all packed, so I walk a couple of blocks and arrive at “The Lodge” before ten minutes have passed.
The desk attendant leads me down a quiet hallway to the Mineral Room where my bath is already filling. A tumbler full of ice water is on the ledge next to a burning votive. She shows me how to turn on the jets and says she’ll be back to turn the bath off.
I’m getting settled with towels and such when the water reaches the edge of the bath and – gasp! –it overflows the ledge…and then as water cascades down the side of the bath and onto a shelf then drops again into a river rock-lined spillway below, I realize I was a complete sucker to not figure out sooner that was part of the plan.
I climb in, sip ice water, and then float and relax. It is sooo delightful I forget about the jets until the end. Doh!
In my notes I actually rated Sierra Grande Lodge “0” on the rustic scale, without going as far as saying it’s mega-luxurious…even though it felt mega-luxurious to me…
…then the next thing you know Vince Gilligan is being interviewed in the New York Times Travel Section, and he’s referring to Sierra Grande as a “very quaint, old-timey spa.” All I know is, the room is subtly lit, every surface is smooth and clean, the bath is big, and it’s filled with what some consider to be magic water.
If you’re a guest staying in the Lodge you get a bath with each day that you stay.
There’s an outdoor mineral bath for lodgers and walkins that can accommodate 2 or more up to 4. “Spirit,” the large indoor bath, could easily be enjoyed by several people at once. Water and towels are always provided.
After this truly luxurious dip I swing by the lobby to say thanks, and mention some of the details of my 21-day soak project.
The attendant says, I guess out of the blue, “It may make you a nicer person.”
I decide to track this, and duly note that my cranky factor on Day 5 is a 3 out of 5, which for me, is a bit lower than normal.