There is a well-established hot springs inn in Washington State on the West Coast that stubbornly adheres to traditional soaking methods.
In some rooms, by contrast, thermal water was poured into a state-of-the-art Jacuzzi.
Historic bathhouse and pools
On the banks of the Columbia River, which serves as Washington's border with Oregon, there is an old hot springs inn.
Hotel St. Martin, founded in 1901, changed its name to the current Carson Hot Springs Resort in the 1970s, but the old name was still prominently displayed on the walls.
That building is the office building, which has never been rebuilt since its establishment.
Walk-ins are welcome, with the bathhouse that observe traditional soaking methods and the Mineral Therapy Pool; both available for a separate fee.
This is the bathhouse, built in the 1930s, with separate men's and women's rooms from the entrance.
A 25-minute soak and a 25-minute body wrap for a total of 50 minutes.
Prices were $30.00 Monday-Thursday and $35.00 Friday-Sunday (as of this writing).
In the dimly lit bathhouse, no clothing was required, and I was completely naked.
Eight vintage tubs were lined up in a row.
The attendant instructed me to go into one of them, but after that I was basically left alone, so stayed in and out past the default time.
In the tub, I mixed 122 degrees F spring water and 52 degrees cold water.
There was a distinct eggy smell.
One of the tubs was filled with cold water, and I enjoyed alternating hot and cold water.
A body wrap is a traditional soaking method in which the warm body is wrapped in thick linen in a mummy-like shape to stimulate metabolism through perspiration.
It was certainly pleasant, but my honest opinion was that the wrap could be optional.
Clothing is required in the Mineral Therapy Pool.
The chlorine disinfection was so severe that it seems useless to hot spring enthusiasts.
There was an accommodation building in the lowered area across from the pool, and this was where I would sleep for the night.
Rooms with Jacuzzi
Not all rooms have access to the thermal water, and you must reserve a room marked "with Hot Tub".
A jacuzzi with room for two people was installed on the balcony next to the bedroom.
When the heavy heat-retention cover was removed, state-of-the-art equipment emerged from underneath.
The balcony fence was made of glass, and the beautiful forest could be seen during soaking.
It was a highly functional bath, and after adjusting the jets and heating for a while, I came to a sad realization:
It was stored water.
Moreover, it was thought to be badly watered.
It helped that I could not detect any disinfectant smell.
I found a valve on the wall that looks like it could be thermal water.
There was some kind of warning sign, but I couldn't read the English well, so I twisted it and water started pouring out at a great rate.
However, it was "the right temperature" that it was hard to believe that the original water of 136 degrees F at the gushing point was used as it was.
Despite these complaints, soaking in an outdoor tub without having to worry about anyone was a gratifying experience.
I looked at the beautiful scenery and began to feel that this was the way to go.
On the way back from the hotel, I noticed a spring faucet installed in front of the office building.
When I twisted it, the smell of sulfur that rose immediately brought back memories of the bathhouse.
After all, the true value of Carson Hot Springs Resort lies in its traditional bathhouse.