We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
New! Find and book your ideal hotel on TripAdvisor — and get the lowest prices

“Great experience” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Refuge

Ranked #1 of 12 Spas & Wellness in Carmel
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Owner description: Refuge is the first American facility dedicated to Hydro-thermal therapy and offers the ultimate in relaxation that is one of a kind! Truly the best 3 hours in Carmel! Through heating up in our Co-ed Sauna and Steam bath, cooling down in our cold pools and relaxation in indoor relaxation rooms or outdoor areas with fireplaces - you will be relaxed! Massages are available as well!
San Francisco, California, United States
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Great experience”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 February 2012

Everything is great! I definitely recommend it! You just might want to bring an additional towel of your own, since they get wet very fast.

Visited February 2012
2 Thank Tatjana A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

367 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Relaxation and serenity to the power of 10”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 February 2012

After a grueling "heavy-lifting" workout day, my husband and I scheduled Refuge with a massage. We planned to stay for about three hours- strategically placing the massage in the middle of our visit. For the first hour, we followed instructions for hot-cold circuits... as if prepping our bodies for the massage. My deep tissue was scheduled with "Robert"- he had perfect draping and incredible reflexology technique! I highly recommend. Although my massage was amazing, my husband's reported his was average. We hit the extraordinary Finnish steam room and plunged into the ice pools for several more rounds before leaving. Eventually, I was able to work-up to submerse my head below the ice baths for 20-30 secs... what a difference that one modification made!

My only complaint upon leaving was when I was asked if I would like to leave a gratuity for my masseuse- I explained I had already given him a cash tip. The spa concierge went on to explain, "it says here on my screen there was nothing left- that's why I asked." Needless to say, after leaving a healthy gratuity- I was slightly offended.

Be sure to eat before going and drink plenty of water once you're there. Other than the gratuity question leaving a sour taste, we would certainly return to Refuge. A few years ago, my husband and I experienced the the world's oldest Turkish bath in Istanbul - and still, we've experienced no other place like Refuge. This place certainly lives up to it's namesake. Enjoy!

Visited February 2012
3 Thank frk3907
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
monterey, ca
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“great place”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 February 2012

really cool place. nice to have a local place like this

Visited February 2012
Thank pfliegerb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rancho Santa Margarita, California
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Amazing refuge for the mind, body and spirit”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 February 2012

We visit Carmel/Monterey area at least once a year, and always have a magical time. But this visit we discovered Refuge. We saw a brochure in a coffee shop in Carmel Valley. It sounded interesting, so we decided, after a day of hiking in Big Sur, we'd try it.
I went online and booked a massage for the evening. We arrived at 5:00 pm and were met by Giovanni. She was very friendly, but told me that, to my dismay, they couldn't accomodate my massage at 7 pm. There had been a problem with their website, and there was no therapist. I must have looked sad, because she told me and my husband, that because of the mistake, we are comped our visit that evening. That turned my frown upside down! She gave us robes and sent us back. We were met by another lovely young lady who took us on a tour and explained the facility. Then she let us loose to experience the Refuge.
All I can say is ahhhhhmazing! It was beautiful. The facility is clean, new, calm and serene. We enjoyed every inch of the Refuge. From the steam, cold plunges, sauna, hot tubs, firepits, and the best...the meditation rooms with the zero gravity chairs. When the sun set, it became magical. The soft lighting and firepits were romantic.
We ended up staying for 3 hours, and could have stayed longer, but we were getting hungry, and if we relaxed anymore, we would have fallen asleep.
We ended up coming back the following evening for another 3 hours of relaxation.
We only have one complaint, and my husband dealt with it. But we should not have had to deal with it to begin with....It is stressed when you check in, when you get your tour, and everywhere you look, that it is a quiet place. There are signs everywhere to respect the silence. But unfortunately, there were several young late teenage girls, who must have missed the memo. They thought it was social hour, when there should be no talk louder than a whisper. You should consider changing the age limit to over 21 instead of over 18. I have an 18 year old daughter, and I know that if she was with her friends, she would have trouble being quiet. My husband had to tell them twice that they needed to be quiet. It was not well received by the girls! We didn't let that ruin our serene time, but I know that they disturbed everyone in the sauna and steam, and my husband was the only one to tell them to be quiet. Your employees should at least step in when they see poor manners affecting others experience.
Aside from some chatty annoying teenage girls.....it was the BEST new experience in Carmel.
Now, everytime we go to visit Carmel, this has become a must do, along with hiking BigSur, shopping Ocean Avenue, photographing Point Lobos, and the 17 mile drive.
The owners have hit the mark in every way possible! Thank you for creating the Refuge!!!! We love it!

Visited February 2012
4 Thank louisandmj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
29 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Great amenities with a few rough edges”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 February 2012

We got a massage and spa use package for a great rate when compared with similar venues like Solage in Calistoga. The outside pools were conducive to relaxation and the sauna was not overly hot. The most beautiful spot was in one of the relaxation rooms where you had a view of the fog creeping over the hills of Carmel Valley and hawks soaring overhead.

The rough edges? The outside relaxing is right next to the tennis courts of the nearby atheletic club, so all the signs asking that the silence be respected were for nought. The relaxation chairs were slightly undersized for taller people which did impact the amount of relaxation possible. The entrance to Refuge was through the athletic club which diminished to overall effect of the facility. And the amentities in the mens and womens lounges were fewer than at places like Solage or the Atlantis in Reno.

But if you bring your own toiletries and can ignore the grunts from the tennis court, it is a fantastic place to relax and regenerate.

Visited February 2012
1 Thank Jank360
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Refuge also viewed

Carmel, Monterey County
Carmel, Monterey County
Monterey, Monterey County

Been to Refuge? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing