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Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa and The Gardens of Avila Restaurant Review

Posted by on Sunday, February 16, 2020 Under: Romantic
As a Valentine's Day celebration, my husband and I used the Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa gift card that he gifted me last November for our 7th anniversary yesterday.

We had our very first couple's massage together at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa. After our spa time, we had brunch at The Gardens of Avila Restaurant, also part of Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa's property. When we came here for the first time, we were a bit clueless on how things work around here and hopefully, after reading about our experiences on this blog will help you navigate around here better.
Hillside Hot Tub at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa(each private mineral spring tub has green wooden walls like this that you'll scattered on the hilltop see as you come up the path)

Made a Reservation by Phone

I had called a couple of weeks ahead to book our spa reservation. Our couple's massage comes with a 30 minute soak in the mineral spring. It's a private setting so my husband and I will get to enjoy the soak with just each other. The reservationist also said that we get to go in the 'hot tub' for another 30 minutes after the massage too. I was a bit confused about that so I asked her to confirm if I was hearing this right: 30 minutes in the mineral spring before the couple's massage, 50 minutes of couple's massage and then 30 minutes in the 'hot tub' after the massage. She said yes, I heard right. Well, we didn't get to do the 30 minutes of the "hot tub after" as I expected, which I'll get into detail. You can also just book a reservation for just the mineral springs hot tub only if you don't want to book a massage or other spa services. If you just book for the mineral springs hot tub, you can do it online on their website and book the time slot. You pay by the hour in that case.
Spa entrance of the Sycamore Mineral Springs Spa

Coming here, it may be a bit strange but you have to go through the gift shop (different building from the hotel lobby) in order to get to the glass doors of the spa. However, after coming here a couple of times, it makes sense! If you are going straight to their hot tub and wanted to enjoy wine, you can buy wine here and bring it up with you.

To find out your designated hot tub, you give the gift shop personnel your name and then they check the reservation list. After they've verified our name, we were then instructed to go through the back door and through a little cute path, we found our glass door entrance to the spa on the right. Upon entering, the front desk spa personnel asked us to fill out a double-sided form and then we waited to get further instructions for our locker room numbers. If you're not booking a massage or spa service, you can bypass the spa are and go up the steps on the hillside to find your designated hot tub for your party.

Massage Spa Entrance

Lobby of Spa at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa
While waiting for our locker room designation, I sat on the bench and stared at this wonderful lay out of water and teas. It was really relaxing just sitting here and I had an inkling that I was going to really enjoy this experience with my husband. 

When the personnel came out to tell us our locker room numbers, she held out a lock in front of us to instruct us what to do. I proceeded to ask if I had to hit the "#" button at any point because it's there and many other key locks have prompted me to do that in the past and she said "no". Do not hit the "#" key at any point while you are locking and unlocking with the 4 digit code of your choice when using this. Then, my husband and I split into our restrooms. He went to the men's and I went to the women's. We went through different doors to get to our different restrooms from the waiting area and after we're done changing into our robes and locking our clothes and belongings away, we met back in the waiting area again. After a few minutes, the spa personnel said we may enter outside and we'll see flights of stairs directly across from the glass entrance.

Hot Tub Spot Named "Gemini"

Our mineral spring area was the one labeled "Gemini". We climbed the stairs and passed by a few other private springs until we've found ours. Be careful when you're climbing the steps and if you have trouble climbing stairs, I really don't see any other way to get to the mineral springs because there are no elevators that I saw as an alternative route and it's all uphill outside. 
Gemini at Sycamore Mineral Springs Hot Tub(Gemini hot tub was ours for 30 minutes)

After we've found our mineral spring and went behind the entrance wall, we've discovered that it's not completely covered with walls around our mineral spring. There's no wall facing the woods so we immediately thought, "wow, hopefully no one can see us and there's no hidden camera" because under our robes (they give you robes to use if you're using their spa services as well), my husband and I were naked. We'd brought our bathing suits but we had left it in the lockers after we've been told that it's a private spa. I guess it is private in the sense that no one would be able to see you if they're coming up the path. This was an interesting and thrilling experience at the same time. 
View of the woods and Sycamore trees at hillside hot tub(You can see the woods while sitting in the mineral spring of "Gemini")

The spa was hot with jets and perfect for a chilly February morning.

When it got close to our appointment time, a staff member knocked on our wall and alerted us that we have 10 minutes to get back to the waiting area for our 11AM couple's massage. My husband and I were ready so we put our robes back on and walked down the path to return to the glass spa entrance. The front desk personnel said we can go back to our locker rooms if we needed to change towels, etc. and we would come back to the waiting room when we're done. So my husband and I split again to go to our gender assigned restrooms, women and men, and returned back to meet in the waiting room. The splitting and meeting again was exciting to me because I felt like each time we did this, it's like another date. Is that weird?

Couple's Massage Experience at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa

After reuniting again in the waiting room to wait for our masseuses to come get us, a masseuse called out my name and then said we're going to be in room #1. She asked me if we've done this before while my husband's masseuse asked him the same question as we walked towards our assigned massage room. As we entered our private room, there were 2 massage beds side-by-side and we were instructed to lie down, face down in between the sheets. The masseuses left the room for 5 minutes while my husband and I disrobed and slipped into our respective beds. When they came back, they started our massages. My masseuse started massaging my arms, shoulders and back first, then my legs and feet and lastly, my head. It was a wonderful 50 minutes experience. My body was all relaxed with essential oils. The masseuses stepped outside for a few minutes so that we could put our robes back on after it was all done. As we're saying our 'thank you's", my husband asked where the hot tub is and the masseuses were confused. He said we thought we're supposed to get the 'hot tub' for 30 minutes after the massage. Then, they asked if we've already went into the mineral spa and we said "yes" and she said that was it. I was so totally confused but also, really relaxed already and I was okay with not going into the 'hot tub'. My husband was really hungry at this point so he was okay with not going into a 'hot tub' after our massage as well. So, we split again for the third (also last) time during our spa session and went to our respective restrooms to put our clothes back on.

After we were both ready, we met in the waiting room and checked out at the front desk at the spa. I don't know why but I didn't think about asking about the 'hot tub' post-massage session for clarification but both my husband and I were so relaxed and hungry. We were just anxious to eat at the Gardens of Avila on the property so maybe that was why it just didn't cross our minds.

My husband and I were clueless on how much we're supposed to tip a masseuse so we went with standard the 15 - 20% and tipped each our masseuse $25. Our total came out to $330 with tip. I don't think we'll be doing these Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa visits very often! It was a very special spa experience, however, the post-massage 'hot tub' question somehow lingers in the background. More on that actually comes up unexpectedly again while we're brunching at the restaurant!

The Gardens of Avila Restaurant at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa

As we stepped out of the beautiful glass spa doors, exited the gift shop, made our way up the path towards the resort lobby and into The Gardens of Avila Restaurant, we've discovered that the quaint and unique lay out of this restaurant was definitely a perfect ending to the 3 hours we've allotted to this Valentine's Day date before we'd return to our precious little boys and relieve my parents of their babysitting duties.

We didn't make a reservation for our brunch at The Gardens at Avila Restaurant but there was no wait so we were seated at the two-top by the window immediately. It's always easier when you're just dining as two, isn't it? They had pink napkins laid out. I don't know if the napkins here are always pink or if it's because of Valentine's Day weekend but they really brightened up the room.r
Table at The Gardens of Avila(Inside of The Gardens of Avila inside of Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa)

I loved the ambiance right away. The bar is especially interesting because the bar counter was not high like other typical bars. However, the staff behind the bar looked little because they had to step down when they entered the back space. That was very memorable and I like that uniqueness. I would like to sit at the bar in the future someday. For our Valentine's Day celebration, I was happy to sit at a table by the window with my husband to enjoy a rare brunch with just the two of us.

The food menu is small but appropriate. The drink menu has local craft beers, wines and specialty cocktails. I ordered the SLO Manhattan but they were out of the 1776 whiskey, so I ended up enjoying just a "Manhattan". It came with two cherries and was a powerful drink. One was plentiful.
Cocktail at The Gardens of Avila(Manhattan cocktail at The Gardens of Avila Restaurant)

For food, I ordered the blue crab & avocado benedict and my husband ordered the chicken & waffles. They were both very delicious. I'm a fan!
Brunch at The Gardens of AvilaChicken and Waffles from The Gardens of Avila

Service was attentive but not overbearing which is perfect for us. As we were finishing our meals, I overheard a lady patron at the bar saying that they're about to do a couple's massage and how she was excited about it because they will get to do a 30 minute pre-soak before the massage and then a 30 minute "soak" after the massage. So, there it was, even she got that same information as well, somewhere.

I think what happened was our masseuses were probably not regular staff members here during Valentine's Day weekend and I will ask the front desk spa personnel when we come back next time, whenever we can afford that again. Learn from our lesson and make sure you get any clarifications needed with the front of the house staff, in this case front desk spa personnel.

So, after 2 blissful hours with my husband that included a private mineral spring sit-in, 50 minutes of couple's massage, a wonderful brunch at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa, we were ready to go home to see our sons. We were so relaxed. Scroll down to see our more recent experience. 

Address of Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa: 1215 Avila Beach Drive, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
(Steps to the mineral spas)

All photos were taken by This is not sponsored in any way by Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa and they did not know I was planning on writing a personal experience so it is non-biased.

2022 Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa Experience Update

We came back here at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa for a mineral soak again to celebrate our anniversary! It was a different spot from where they put us before the pandemic. The view of all of the sycamore trees from up high was phenomenal! They placed us at Shangri-La hot tub, which is at the very top of the hillside. You don't get to pick which one they put you in but we were happy with this designation as the view from up high was wonderful. It was also a well-needed hike for me.

I also made a an extended video collage of this experience at Shangri-La hot tub at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa. See this 1 minute extended video reel of our mineral soak experience and the view we got to see for being further up high at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa. After having done this before, this mineral springs hot tub experience was much more chill and since it was a Monday, we felt the tranquility that this place is known for.

To see other pictures of restaurants that I've visited in San Luis Obispo County, go to the Restaurants Page. Read about my romantic adventures and dining experiences on the Central Coast.

In : Romantic 

Tags: sycamore mineral springs in avila beach  san luis obispo  review by local  reviews  mineral springs  romantic places  romantic things to do in slo 

About Me

San Luis Obispo Mom Originally from San Diego, California, I'm a San Diego State University alumna, veteran's wife and mom of two kids who were born two years apart. After living on the East Coast for 6 years, we now reside in San Luis Obispo County and here, the exploration continues.
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