Don’t be embarrassed if you read the title and said, “Where the heck is Calvillo?” I’ll admit that the all-knowing, all-seeing “Mexico” Mike wasn’t familiar with Calvillo, in the center of the state of Aguascalientes either. I vaguely remember driving through it years ago while on the hunt for hot water, oddly enough in a state named “hot waters.” It’s prominence as a Pueblo Mágico was lost on me. So, I started out with a tabula rasa, just like you.
Once again I was trying to get into hot water. (As if I didn’t do that often enough). Once again I was rewriting my book on thermal water springs in Mexico. I’m adding waterfalls. My theory is that thermal waters are healing for body and soul. Waterfalls heal the spirit. They belong together. Which segues into Yolihuani Spa near Calvillo, AGS. It is a place for renewing your spirit.
Yolihuani Spa popped up in a search engine on a search for hot springs or thermal waters in Aguascalientes state. God bless synchronicity. It shouldn’t have been there. Yolihuani does not have thermal mineral waters. However, since there are mineral water springs not far away, I encourage the owners to have a mineral analysis of their ground water. There may be minerals lurking underground. While hot mineral water is revered, the efficacy of mineral therapy in cooler waters is also effective for health.
That misleading Google search led me to a marvelous experience. I think most of us welcome synchronicity. If we didn’t we wouldn’t be traveling Mexico.
So I wrote them asking if I could come down around Día de los Muertos. The owner, Marivel Ramirez graciously wrote back and invited me. It would mean taking a detour on my planned route to Yucatan to update that guidebook. Like most of my plans, that one went out the window on the first day. “Go with the flow” is not just a holdover phrase from the sixties. It’s away of life for me.
But when people are holding a room for you, you do have to show some consideration. So I drove to Yolihuani from Saltillo, Coah. in one day. Well, a day and part of a night. I don’t recommend you do that. Spend the night in Zacatecas, a wonderful, little-visited city. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site.
I will supply you with my famous detailed directions when I make a roadlog to the resort. Meanwhile, if you want to go there, you can write the spa for their directions. Once you get out of Aguascalientes city, it’s easy to find them. Meanwhile, if coming from Aguascalientes, just before Calvillo, at the suburb of La Panadera, turn North (right) towards La Labor. There is a sign and its before the river and the GAS. There is a Pro 1 auto parts store on left before turn.
If you are coming from Guadalajara, pass Hotel La Gloria de Calvillo, then Las Trancas restaurant on left. Pass Gas on left. Turn LEFT (North) just after bridge.
After one block is the best birria in town (Birrieria Diaz), on the left. Continue 7.8 miles (12.5 KM) to a “Y”. Don’t take left fork to La Labor. Keep right towards Piedras Chinas. At 8.9 Miles (14.3 KM) the spa will be on left side. There is a pull-off to the right so you can make a safe left turn. If you miss it and go to Piedras (9.2 Miles, 14.8 KM), there is an abarrotes (general store/groceries) store on right. Turn around.
Marivel and her husband David went out of their way to take care of me. Will you have the same experience? Yes. People often say, “They were just nice to you so you’d write something nice about them.” After 30 years in the travel-writing business, I can say that, yes, sometimes that is true. Even the worst-run hotel can put on a facade for a few days. However, unless you are a complete newbie at the business, you can tell when that’s the case. At Yolihuani, https://yolihuani.mx/?lang=en(and later at the La Gloria de Calvillo), the owners care about their guests and the staff seems happy to be working there.That’s the best criteria for judging a hotel. If the staff is surly or indifferent, I note that in my review so readers can have all the facts.
This is so much more about the town and area near Calvillo than the spa so I will create a page on my website for a thorough review. A blog post about the area will also follow. But since I am competing for the slowest writer on the Internet, it will be awhile until they are published. Meanwhile, since it’s taken me so long to post anything, I thought I’d publish this to whet your appetite (and assuage my feelings of guilt for being nonproductive).
The bottom line is that Spa Yolihuani is a small, family-run full-service spa out in the country. It is peaceful, quiet and not pretentious. I’m a recovering spa snob. I got turned off reviewing spas long ago because so often they were frou-frou or pretentious. Yolihuani is neither and is better for it. The staff is solidly grounded, the masseuses quite competent. The temazcals are individual earthen domes with a pit in the middle where hot lava rocks are placed. The occupants of the temazcal control the steam and temperature as the “door” is a tarp with Velcro fasteners. You open or close it to suit. The rooms have very good Jacuzzi-style whirlpool baths, big enough for two people easily. Some are raised from the floor and some are flush. For those of us who have a few years, the raised ones are preferable.
The fellows who shovel those lava rocks in and out of the big oven behind the temazcals do really hard work. One young man popped in and asked me if I needed new rocks. His English was limited, but his smile and enthusiasm weren’t. He brought me two buckets of lava rocks, delivered with big smiles and a thumb’s up, accompanied by a hearty, “Good!” He even told me the best way to pour the herbal water to get the longest heat. Don’t forget to tip these hard-working fellows when you leave. They all contribute to the experience.
Yolihuani is all about romance. If my wife could still travel, this is the first place we’d go. From romantic temazcals to romantic hydro-massages to cenas romanticos or romantic in-room dinners (and breakfasts), it’s a great place to start or rekindle a romance. The staff spells out “Love” or some romantic message in rose petals on the balcony of your room, or your bed, or in front of your table (and probably wherever you want).
The restaurant is gourmet, but fairly-priced. The chef commutes from the big city of Aguascalientes to make his magic. Good food and spas don’t always go together.
They have six Standard rooms for about $650 to $1,000 pesos, four Jacuzzi rooms for $1,000 to $1,800 pesos and five Suites (with Jacuzzi) for $1,800 a night. Taxes extra. They are often full on weekends. Even if you can’t stay overnight, you could visit them as a day trip from Aguascalientes city and enjoy the surroundings and the spa services. Many executives from Aguascalientes city come here on weekends. You could too. If you stay in Calvillo, my other favorite hotel there is La Gloria de Calvillo .
All in all, I recommend this spa for anyone. If you don’t like New-Age spas that seek to raise your consciousness and lighten your wallet, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. If you are new to spas, this is a good introduction. If you are a spa devotee seeking good treatments, great accommodations and a peaceful atmosphere, you’ll be happy here. And if you are a grumpy old man or woman, by all means spend a couple of nights here and watch the grumpiness flow down the floor of your temazcal along with your sweat.
Next will be an article on the other reasons to go to Calvillo and experience the “Magic.”