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ROAD & TRAVEL Spa Review: Bonneville Hot Springs Resort & Spa

Water treatments take on new meaning with
Bonneville Hot Springs Spa's famed 'Rock n' Rain'

by Joanne Johnston

Nestled in the shadow of the dramatic Columbia River Gorge, dividing the states of Oregon and Washington, lies the charming Bonneville Hot Springs Resort & Spa. A European-oriented escape - less than one hour from Portland or three hours from Seattle.

ROAD & TRAVEL Spas: Soaking in a Bonneville Spa Bath Room
Soaking in a Boneville Spa Bath Room

As a resident of the Northwest, I’m not a stranger to the wet stuff, or liquid sunshine as it is sometimes referred.  Still, I’m not a fan of driving in it – especially amidst a beautiful yet unfamiliar winding road, rocky cliffs, towering trees and fleeting late afternoon light. Fortunately, my journey ended before the rain did, and I found myself safe and warm at the Bonneville Resort.

Popular with residents and visitors for many years, the Bonneville Resort is a welcoming, family-owned experience with 74 guestrooms and 4 spacious suites, some of which include their own outdoor Jacuzzi’s filled with mineral water.

Natural Hot Springs Mineral Water is lifeline of the Bonneville Resort... rising out of the ground at 97 degrees, and heated as needed. The mineral content of the water is 450 TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) – roughly equivalent to Perrier bottled water. Bonneville’s Hot Spring water is comprised of Sulfur, in the form of sulfate, Silica, Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Magnesium, Sodium and Carbonate – each with its own redeeming health benefits.

Shortly after arrival, and a weak attempt at unpacking, I wrapped myself in one of the thick cozy robes waiting for me in my room, and made my way down to the Spa. Your robe is your best friend at the Bonneville Resort, accompanying you from an early morning coffee in the great room, a trip to the mineral pools, a glass of wine or light meal in the lounge, and of course the Spa.

I was preparing myself for the Bonneville Spa's 'Rock n' Rain' sampler treatment. And with my nervous drive still in my mind, the irony was not lost on me. However, if any stress did remain, it was quickly washed away as my therapist Ann, tucked me into the soft warm massage bed and described the 80 minute treatment to me. 

I was going to be rained on again, but this time it would be drops of essential oils drizzled onto my warm back and then massaged into my spine. Next, she would massage my back with hot river rocks, enhancing the penetration of the oils and further relaxing my muscles. And, what seemed like pure decadence, a full body massage would follow.

ROAD & TRAEL Spas: Bonneville Hot Springs - Jetted Mineral Soaking Pool
Jetted Mineral Soaking Pool

One at a time, the oils trickled onto my back and just as promised, pro-vided a unique sensation as it was caressed into my skin. Some heated, some tingled, and others cooled. Ann was a great therapist who gently whispered what oil was being used and its benefits, allowing me to fully engage in the massage. Somewhere around 'Oregano' my drive became a distant memory. 

While the 'Rain' treatment was new to me, the Hot Rock Massage was not. And honestly, it’s not been a favorite of mine. But, as my repertoire of spa experiences grows I’ve learned that every treatment has one thing in common; my physical and emotional presence. On that note, I let the hot river rocks work their magic, and I was truly able to enjoy the experience. A lesson learned. 

The full body massage was like icing on a deep delicious chocolate cake, and a perfect complement to 'Rock n' Rain.' I floated out of the Spa feeling completely refreshed.

Overall, the Bonneville Resort & Spa was a warm and welcoming experience. The staff, under the guidance of Spa Director Katherine Neely (formerly of the Bacara Resort & Spa), were young, but also knowledgeable, friendly and professional. It’s a perfect escape from the rain.

The Bonneville Hot Springs Resort is easily accessible from both Vancouver, Washington along Highway 14, part of the Historic Lewis and Clarke Trail, and from Portland, Oregon on Interstate 84.  Be sure not to miss Multnomah Falls, the second highest year-round waterfall in the United States.  Access over the Columbia River is over the ominous-titled Bridge Of The Gods at Cascade Locks ($1 toll).

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For more information on Bonneville Hot Springs Resort & Spa visit:
Bonneville Hot Springs Resort & Spa

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