Carmel Magazine

CM Nov 1, 2016 Barrymore HO16_DigitalEdition

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Page 125 of 219

"It's about relaxing and unwinding and unplugging from our crazy, chaotic world," says Tight. "It all ties in together." To that end, Refuge staff members enforce a strict no-electronics, no-phones policy on the grounds. Guests are encouraged to stay silent, as well. The sounds of chirping birds, waterfalls and the occasional splash from a pool set the back- drop for a refreshing spa experience. After checking in and storing their belongings in on- site lockers, Refuge guests don sandals and bathing suits (plush robes are available to rent or purchase). Then, they wind along a landscaped pathway that leads the central co-ed spa area. The recommended Refuge cycle starts with a warm-up experience. That might consist of a few minutes in a heated waterfall pool, a stop in the eucalyptus steam room, or a session in the cedar-walled dry sauna—or, some combination of all three. Windows along one wall of the sauna bring in natural light and offer views of the nearby Santa Lucia Mountains; pool tempera- tures are designated with one sunshine icon (warm) or two (hot). From there, it's time for a cold plunge. Temp- eratures in two cool pools hover near 50 de- grees, while two colder Nordic pools mimic an icy river with temperatures closer to 40 degrees."You dip into those cold pools and try to stay in as long as you can—that's typically no more than a minute or so," says Tight. "Then you find a place to sit and relax and let what just happened work through your body." Guests can settle into Adirondack chairs placed poolside, or seek out zero gravity reclin- ers in one of the spa's relaxation rooms. After unwinding and absorbing the full experience, The experience at Refuge in Carmel Valley involves cold, warm and hot pools, enjoying a steam room and sauna, and perhaps a massage. 124 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • H O L I D A Y 2 0 1 6 While an average Refuge guest stays for 2 1/2 hours, shorter and longer stays are also common. Photo: Kelli Uldall Photo: Courtesy of Refuge

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