Harbin Hot Springs
Middletown CA • private • private Campground, Hot Soak, Hotel/Motel
Number of visits: many
bathroom: yes • water: yes
This used to be my favorite getaway(*) - old resort in the hills, a very hot pool, a just-right pool, a cold plunge, a lap pool that rocks on hot summer days, a cozy lodge, breakfast in the morning, expensive espresso drinks all day, world music dance every Tues and Thurs night.
Even this though is the first date I've entered here, I've been here many times before. I stayed in actual rooms 4-5 times in the 90's when I worked at Autodesk, then I've camped here between 2 and 4 times a year since ... 2002? So I'm gonna say I've visited here over thirty times!
(*)The place is getting insanely popular, and as they get more crowded they are getting less and less user-friendly - the old sad story, success DOES change a place!
It's back! All the lovely old wooden buildings that were so cool to be in burned to the ground in 2015. The paved roads and the concrete tubs were mostly unharmed, but everything else was obliterated. Now it's re-opened, and it's pretty cool.
Pools are completely rebuilt, but pretty much all services - food, bathrooms, showers - are done out of prefab buildings. It works real well!
The camping area along the creek wasn't burnt, and is much the same as before.
If you've ever thought that new-agey folks are secret authoritarians, a trip to Harbin will confirm your darkest thoughts. The lovely hippie chick at the gate found no record that I paid my ticketm which I did last time. after 5 minutes on the phone with The Office I was allowed to proceed, although the ticket is still on my record. So, a little something for me to clear up before I come again. AAARGH!!
The damp but warmish weather was perfect for soaking. I thought it would be deserted, but it was quite crowded for an Ecstatic Dancing conference :) The dance was fun, everything was fun, no more negative experiences after I got past the guardians of the gate - geez.
Missed breakfast, so I relaxed till noon then went to the lodge and used my cup and my teabag and their hot water for a yummy green tea and kind bar, which hit the spot perfectly.
the day after Memorial Day weekend, it is blessedly un-crowded. I am still having stress though. They gave me a Harbin ticket last time and it severely diminished my appreciation for the place. Not enough to not come again apparently :-|
So my question is answered ... yes, they DO enter those tickets into the database, because the usual rule-obsessed gatekeeper had it right there on her screen next to my address. So today was $30 for camping + $10 for Ticket + $30 for a new annual pass = $70, sigh...
Morning update: coffee in a ceramic cup is no longer available at breakfast. Coffee is dispensed ONLY in 16 oz paper cups. That's not a quality way to eat breakfast, IMO.
mid 90's in the daytime, perfect at night. crowded day and night. The main pool is barely usable it's so crowded. Still a pleasant stay though. Got a Harbin parking ticket! = dislike :(
Camping cost has been raised to $30.