After a 5-Day romantic vacation in Napa with my brother and parents (don’t even ask.), I decided that I needed to take a little me time. So I booked myself a couples mud bath, for one, at the hotel spa.
When I arrived (early, mind you, which NEVER happens), I was not-so-politely informed that the spa operates “15 minutes behind” the rest of the world. I’m sorry… what? Is that allowed? And isn’t that something you mention to someone, especially if they, I don’t know… have a very important wine tasting to get to immediately after their treatment? Needless to say, I was irritated.
The cucumber water and plush terrycloth robe they offered me while I waited helped, but only a little.
After a quarter of an hour of sitting in the spa lobby and watching (with pleasure) customers freak out one by one as they checked in and were told of the “15 minutes behind” rule, it was finally time for me to enter the mud room.
I was escorted to the back of the building by an enormous European woman (you know the stereotypically terrifying waxer-lady they have in chick flicks and Sex and the City episodes? She was definitely modeled after this gal.) and immediately knew that I had made a mistake.
Instead of the relaxingly romantic, vineyard-viewing mud baths with happy couples in them that were advertised in the brochure, it was a steamy, windowless stone room, filled with large naked women covered in mud.
“Strip off your robe,” my spirit guide demanded of me. Hesitantly (so much so that she had to yell at me again to get naked) I shed my robe, and was promptly thrown into a “shower” where Olga (what we’ll call her from here forward) poured buckets of freezing cold water on my head. It took everything in me not to cry and run out the door, but I’d paid a lot of money for the experience and wanted to see it through. Plus, the mud bath was supposed to be “detoxifying,” which I really needed after all of the wine I’d been consuming.
Next, I was put in a stone tub (#3 in a row of 15 stone tubs, where all of the other large naked women had settled in) and Olga poured SCALDING hot mud all over my body. And I do mean ALL. OVER. MY. BODY. It was on my face, in my hair and everywhere else you can think of. And we’re talking real mud, with like…. dirt and grass and pebbles. Plus, it was so hot and so, so heavy that I couldn’t breathe. Instead of relaxing (which, again, the brochure promised and did NOT deliver) I started to have a full blown panic attack. It was awful.
After 20 minutes of laying in the mud and trying not to cry, I was put back in the shower and more cold water was dumped on me. Then, they put me in another uncomfortably HOT bathtub — again, between two other naked women, who somehow seemed to be enjoying themselves — where I had to beg for iced cubes to rub on my face to keep myself from passing out from a heat stroke. At this point, my heart was pounding so hard I genuinely thought I was going to faint and potentially drown in the bathtub. But, again, I’d already paid, so I soldiered on.
Next, I was brought into a sauna with 8 other people that was the size of my closet in my Manhattan apartment (read: TINY) and smelled like rotten eggs. I lasted 45 seconds and decided I’d had it. I stumbled out of the “room” (it is VERY generous to call it that), coughing the rotten eggs smell out of my lungs, and asked Olga if she could please take me to the room for my massage — the one part of the whole experience I knew would at least be enjoyable and make it even a little bit worth the money.
“No, no, there is no massage. Sauna is the end. You must get dressed now.” Fuck.
What I Expected:
What I Got: