A day at Carmel’s best day spa is just what the doctor ordered
Just a short drive south from Santa Cruz, tucked behind the remote Carmel Valley Athletic Club, is the small oasis of relaxation known simply as Refuge. It’s a day spa, but exists on a realm above most other establishments of the sort. Visitors enter through lavish locker rooms, plush white robe and towel in tow, and, from there, step into the equivalent of a very fancy, very large backyard. The spacious patio-like area is fenced in and lined with pleasant landscaping. Small pools of varying temperatures—cold, cool, warm, and hot—create a checkerboard of water across the co-ed space, where bathing suits are mandatory and the atmosphere is one of quiet relaxation. Spa goers sit meditatively around several fire pits, despite the warm day.