I’m immersed up to my neck, bobbing like a cork in tea. Well, it’s not really tea, it just has that warm, amber color. Scooping it from the long porcelain tub with my hand, I take a sip. It’s fizzy and salty, like seltzer water. No wonder the Gideon Putnam Resort and Spa’s Website calls it “nature’s champagne.”
The Roosevelt Baths & Spa, which reopened last year after being closed since 1997, are next door to the Gideon Putnam and both are inside Saratoga Springs Spa State Park in upstate New York. The baths are fed by a natural spring said to have healing properties and first discovered by Iroquois Indians. They are part of a grand complex built in 1935 that includes a theater and museums. Majestic Georgian Revival columns grace the front entrance, ceilings soar at least 30 feet skyward, and outside couples stroll the quiet, green carpeted grounds. There are 40 private bathing rooms, as well as services such as massage, facials, manicures and pedicures.
The water is 99 degrees — body temperature — and the room smells clean and fresh, like rain hitting warm rock.. “There’s no sulfur in the water,” the bath attendant tells me. Instead, it’s a cocktail of 17 minerals including sodium, potassium, lithium, calcium, iron (accounting for the color), magnesium, bromide and chloride. Three to five liters of carbon dioxide per liter of mineral water make the bubbles. It’s a struggle to stay under. To my surprise, I nod off. A loud knock wakes me. “Your 20 minutes are up,” the attendant says, bustling in with a thick creamy towel. Wrapping me from head to toe, she instructs me to lie down on the massage table for another 10 minutes to rest. I’m so blissed out I almost fall asleep again. Bathtime never felt so good.
Open seven days a week, the first baths begin at 9:15 a.m. and end at 5:30. Baths cost $18 or $24 for an herbal infusion. For an appointment, call (518) 226-4790, or (800) 732-1560.