Glen Ivy Hot Springs is an 11-acre oasis set in the desert outskirts of Corona, CA, 57 miles southeast of Los Angeles. The luxurious compound has grown up around a natural mineral hot spring that gives the resort its name. You can fill a whole day at Glen Ivy without ever booking a treatment. There are plenty of ways to pass the time between the many pools, hot tubs, the red clay mud bath, tropically landscaped gardens, and fitness classes, most of which are free with admission. Unique spa treatments and personal wellness coaching are available as a la carte add-ons.
A visit to the spa makes a great day out for couples, a girlfriend getaway, mother-daughter bonding time, a bridal shower, or even a bachelor party. Escape on your own or unwind and refresh at the end of a Southern California vacation before heading back to work.
Its regular appearance on top spa lists attests to its ongoing popularity. Over the last few decades, Glen Ivy Hot Springs has added pools, treatment buildings, a luxurious bathhouse, the underground grotto, and the gift shop.
Glen Ivy Hot Springs Is a Stunning Desert Oasis
Glen Ivy Hot Springs is just an hour's drive from Downtown LA or 45 minutes from Disneyland off Interstate 15, but it can take longer in rush hour. The facility is nestled at the base of the Santa Ana Mountains just east of the Cleveland National Forest at the mouth of Cold Water Canyon. The chaparral-covered mountains make a stunning backdrop for the lush landscape of palm trees, bougainvillea, and California live oaks. The tropical shrubbery surrounding each of the many pools creates a sense of seclusion, so even when the place is crowded, you can find a tranquil spot.
History of Glen Ivy Hot Springs
The natural sulfur hot springs at Glen Ivy were considered sacred by Native Americans of Southern California who appreciated their healing powers. Gold Rush settlers took over the sulfur baths in 1860, and there has been some type of commercial enterprise around the healing waters ever since. Originally known and advertised as Temescal Sulphur Springs, early incarnations included an inn, since the horse-drawn carriage route made it a long trip from the city. The health spa at the hot springs changed hands many times, acquiring its current name from William and Louisa Speers, who created the first resort concept in the 1880s.
Bath House and Roman Baths
The Bath House area is your first stop once you have checked in. In addition to locker rooms with showers, you'll find steam rooms and an indoor Roman bath on both the women's and men's sides. Glen Ivy body moisturizer is dispensed from each sink to rehydrate after all that chlorine, and there's a handy swimsuit wringer to wring out your wet suit for the trip home.
There's also a lounge area inside the locker room and a comfortable waiting area in the lobby. You can charge purchases for food, drinks, and treatments throughout the day by opening a tab at the front desk at the bathhouse. The saunas are not in the bathhouse, but at Sauna Court near the spa treatment buildings above the mineral baths.
Springs and Pools at Glen Ivy Hot Springs
The original geothermal mineral baths are the main attraction for many. The 104-degree hot springs baths are set up in a row of sunken jet tubs. The large central bath seats up to about 20, while multiple side tubs seat up to four each, but are mostly used by two people at a time. The maximum 20-minute time limit is enforced only if people are waiting. For those who can't tolerate the sulfur content of the geothermal bath, an alternative saline pool offers the opportunity to soak sore muscles in Epsom salts.
The first pool you pass after you enter the facility is a lap pool kept at a comfortable 85 degrees -- nice for cooling off between soaks in the hot tubs and sitting in the hot desert sun. Water aerobics take place each afternoon in the lap pool.
Another popular spot to hang out is the lounge pool, where you can float on comfy foam rafts in two feet of water. The floats are a lot more comfortable than lying in a lounge chair, and the water temperature is kept refreshingly cool in summer and warm in winter.
Club Mud at Glen Ivy Hot Springs
Club Mud is a therapeutic red clay mud bath where visitors can smear themselves (or each other) head to toe in red clay. Its mineral properties help draw out impurities and exfoliate, leaving skin soft and smooth. Dry clay is mined nearby in the Temescal Valley and mixed with water from the mineral springs to form the soft clay used in Club Mud. You can immerse yourself in the red clay pool or use a pile of bathhouse kept moist by a spraying mist.
In summer, it's pleasant to dry out in the sun, but on cooler winter days you might want to try the Wafa drying chamber. Once dry, brush off the top layer of mud and shower off the rest in the shower caves that are scattered around Club Mud. It is recommended that you visit Club Mud after the mineral baths so that your pores are opened up by the heat.
The Grotto at Glen Ivy Hot Springs
The Grotto is an underground series of rooms with cave walls just beyond the Bath House. For an extra fee, you descend to the caverns to receive a full-body moisture treatment. You're greeted by a bevy of women with paintbrushes and assigned to the one who will paint you green from the neck down with a body moisturizer of aloe vera, shea butter, coconut oil, and other elements. From there you move to the hydration chamber where you spend some time hanging out in the heat before stepping through to the shower room, lined with multi-headed granite shower caves along both sides, each big enough for two. Once you have showered off the green masque, cool off with a cup of chai tea or ice water in a lounge chamber. There's even a cooler mist chamber with a flowing waterfall. Reservations are required for the Grotto.
Spa Treatments at Glen Ivy Hot Springs
Glen Ivy Hot Springs has 72 treatment stations in three buildings and additional outdoor treatment areas. In addition to traditional massages, wraps, and manicure/pedicure treatments, Glen Ivy offers in-water Watsu hydrotherapy massage, Reiki energy healing, Shiatsu Acupressure, Reflexology treatments, and traditional Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage.
Under the Oaks is a secluded outdoor area designated for spa treatments, where most of the available services, except Watsu water therapy, can be done. Glen Ivy has several areas set up for two people to have massages together. Almost any combination of massages can be arranged for side-by-side treatments.
Cuisine at Glen Ivy Hot Springs
Ivy Kitchen is a full-service restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining areas. The restaurant serves breakfast until 10 a.m. and lunch thereafter. Breakfast offerings include 3-egg omelets, breakfast burritos, and your choice of eggs served any style with pork or bacon. The lunch menu specializes in healthfully prepared salads, sandwiches, and wraps featuring free-range chicken dishes and local produce. The GOCO Cafe serves specialty coffee drinks, teas, and hot chocolate. The cafe also serves wraps, sandwiches, fresh fruit, and healthy dessert options.
Ivy Terrace and Cabanas at Ivy Hot Springs
The Ivy Terrace is a rooftop deck located above the Ivy Kitchen. You can reserve a cabana on the terrace for a private space for two to 14 people. The cabanas are furnished alcoves of various sizes to accommodate different sized groups. Each cabana is furnished with a sofa and chairs, a dining table and chairs, and lounge chairs on the open deck overlooking the grounds and pools below. They are stocked with fruit and water and offer concierge service. If you don't need a whole cabana, you can reserve terrace lounge chairs that also include concierge service.
Fitness Activities at Glen Ivy Hot Springs
Glen Ivy Hot Springs is more about relaxation and body treatments than fitness, but there are a few ways you can break up your day with some calorie burning. Swim laps in the pools at your leisure, take a daily water aerobics class or do Aqua Zumba. Hatha and Kundalini yoga and Tai Chi/Qigong classes are offered, as is HoopFit, a 30-minute hoop workout with no experience necessary.
Tips for Visiting Glen Ivy Hot Springs
- Go early and plan to spend the whole day. Since you pay a flat rate for the day, you might as well make the most of it.
- Go on a weekday if you can. There's a significant discount and it's less crowded.
- If you purchase a spa treatment, you can get free admission to the mineral baths and pools on your birthday.
- Bring an old swimsuit you don't mind getting stained with red clay or green masque.
- Don't wear metal jewelry, especially silver, which can be tarnished by the mineral springs and clay.
- Swimsuits are required in all public areas. Robes are not provided and are a good option in winter.
- Book massage treatments in advance to make sure you can get your first choice, especially on Saturdays.
- Check the Glen Ivy Specials page for the latest discount offers.
- Apply and re-apply sunscreen to make sure you don't burn in the desert sun, even if it's overcast. A hat, sunglasses, and a good book also come in handy. If you forget something, the spa store is well equipped.
- Drink lots of water. There are ice water stations all over the grounds. Remember to hydrate, even if you are not thirsty. The desert air and the hot water are both dehydrating. If you feel yourself overheating or getting a headache, sip some ice water and submerge yourself in one of the cool pools.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with a complimentary visit for the purpose of this review. While it has not influenced the review, we believe in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.