By Laura Eckstein Jones | May 20, 2021 | Travel
The new pool at We Care Spa has expansive views of the high desert.
Far out in California’s high desert is a resort so tranquil, so special, that securing a spot can take nearly a year. Although extremely exclusive, once inside, guests are treated like family, and all fears about what’s to come—among other things, days without solid food—dissolve within minutes.
This magical place is called We Care Spa. Located near Palm Springs in Desert Hot Springs, the established detox and fasting spa opened nearly 35 years ago and has attracted the fashion set, celebs and anyone else serious about making a lifestyle change. I found out about it during lockdown through a friend and work colleague who has been going for decades and swears by its transformative powers to reset the mind and body. After months of lethargy and bad eating habits, a few days of detoxing sounded incredible. So when the opportunity to visit arose, I jumped at the chance.
However, once the trip was confirmed, the fear and doubt kicked in. How could I go for days without eating solid food? How could I possibly eat only fruits and vegetables for four days leading up to the trip? What if I feel sick or weak? What if I pass out? All of these questions fluttered around my brain for weeks leading up to my stay. I even had nightmares.
Fortunately, it was all for naught. As soon as I arrived to the gorgeous property—an oasis filled with lush plants, a serene pool and plenty of oversize Zen sculptures and fountains—my fear dissipated. I was led into an orientation, where I learned about We Care’s philosophy and what was to come for the next few days. I met a few of the other guests (many returning customers—We Care has an 80% return rate) and, more importantly, learned what was on the menu.
Included in the orientation materials was a checklist of the different drinks and supplements I’d consume each day. Things like lemon water, food enzymes, a green food shake, alkaline water, blood-purifying tea and more were all on the menu. The idea is to give your body a break from all of the hard work it puts into digestion.
Morning yoga and meditation classes start the day off right
Also on the menu for the next few days? Lots of spa treatments, daily colonics, walks, yoga and meditation, and classes on topics such as gut health recovery and supporting immune health. While many guests come to We Care to reset their bodies, an inevitable part of the process is resetting mentally.
“It may look like a physical process, but the results are not physical,” says Susana Belen, who opened We Care in 1986. “You have one whole body, and mind, body and spirit all influence each other. When you don’t have pain or cravings, your emotions change and you clarify your thinking.”
Belen, now in her 80s, started We Care from her home and still teaches classes on property. Over time, as the resort became more popular, she and her daughter Susan Lombardi—who serves as the co-owner and CEO—have organically expanded the gardens and grounds. Most recently, the pool area and juice bar reopened, along with several amenity-packed executive rooms and suites (think huge bathtubs; supremely comfortable beds; large, app-enabled televisions; and more) that overlook the expansive desert. They are currently completing the main lobby and lounge area.
co-owner and CEO Susan Lombardi works with We Care staff to adorn the property with lush plantings and spiritual sculptures
My biggest fear—feeling ill or starving—never came into play. I did have some hungry moments here and there, but overall I was so busy trying to check daily drinks and supplements off my list in between multiple treatments and programs that I didn’t have time to feel hungry. You are constantly drinking something, whether it be a detox shake or pureed vegetable soup in the evening. There were even times when I felt too full to ingest more.
the serene pool area recently welcomed a juice bar, where guests can have fresh juices and shakes made throughout the day and evening.
The second biggest fear— experiencing the colonics—was quelled after my first experience. The practitioner was extremely gentle, patient and knowledgeable, and the whole process was more interesting than I could have ever anticipated. It was fascinating to learn more about my digestion and what foods and drinks to avoid. One that surprised me: anything carbonated, even sparkling water.
The other treatments I received were divine, but it’s important to note that this is not your typical spa. We Care is focused on achieving results first and foremost, and is less concerned about pampering (although that’s a lovely takeaway). For example, the magnesium detox treatment I received involved having a magnesium solution applied to my entire body before getting wrapped up for some time. I’ll cut to the chase: It itched and was uncomfortable for a long time. But guess what? That was a sign that my body needed magnesium badly. After a shower, I felt much better. The discomfort was temporary, while the knowledge I took away from the experience is long-lasting.
Between yoga, daily walks, lounge time, informative classes, treatments and giving my digestive system a break, the three quiet days I spent at We Care were exactly what I needed: a brand-new experience that reset my mind, body and spirit. $1,599 to $2,499 for three days and two nights,wecarespa.com