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By Carolyne Whelan
When we woke up outside Hatch, New Mexico, after our propane ran out during the night and the water in our dog’s bowl froze, my husband and I decided to treat ourselves to a cozy spot at the Riverbend Hot Springs. For $10 per person per hour in the public pools, this spa is already a bargain. But for $50, an RVer family can plug in their camper to sewer, water, and electric power and have unlimited use of the public pools, showers, and sauna.
There are six RV spots in all, though about half of them are taken up by staff who receive a parking spot (and all included amenities) as part of their payment, so we were lucky there was a spot open for us. During previous trips to this lovely town, I wasn’t as lucky.
There are five public tubs, each at different temperatures ranging from 102° to 107°. There is also a cold shower available to shock the pours for an ultimate detox, but due to the below-freezing air temperature, no one dared use it during our stay. All the tubs are outside facing the Rio Grande; the two slightly cooler tubs are right along the water, the warmer of which empties into the river itself in a waterfall that can be heard throughout the spa. At the base of the waterfall, just under a deck built to enjoy morning coffee or just the incredible view of Turtleback Mountain across the river, bass hover, swimming in place to enjoy some of the warm pool waters in an otherwise frigid river. The private pools are also outdoors, walled on three sides to provide an intimate setting while still offering a relaxing view of the river.
Throughout the morning, staff members walked around the pool area offering fresh hot coffee to people soaking in the waters or soaking up the views. The sauna, off the patio area, seats four comfortably. Just outside the sauna is a little bed with a leash for guests to tie up a friendly dog during a soak or a sit in the sauna. It is a wet sauna, with a spray bottle for dampening the rocks to help heat the room.
As we were there in the off-season, there was construction going on. Riverbend Hot Springs is in the process of installing a few more pools along the river, as well as a new bath house. While we were there (mid-December, 2015), there was only one public changing room, toilet, and shower available to all guests besides the ones in hotel guestrooms. This created a bit of a problem when many people wanted to shower before dinner or use the facilities after drinking our weight in coffee. We were assured that the new bath house was slated to open in three days, so by this publication they should be open but I would caution to call first if this sounds like an inconvenience not worth the expense.
While I didn’t stay in the hotel, the rooms were very clean and cozy, with a romantic charm, and some come as a suite, making it a perfect getaway spot.
Truth or Consequences itself is a dreamy little town in Southern New Mexico. It has hit a wave of hard times, with businesses often closing and being replaced by something else in between my visits there, but the vintage feel of the storefronts coupled with the mid-century, modern neon signs, and stunning natural surroundings make this a favorite spot for me when traveling through this part of the United States.
Read more about Carolyne Whelan and her adventures on her blog – Roadside Fires Burning.