Swimming and sunning in history at Glen Ivy Hot Springs

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The Lounge Pool is another relaxing feature that attracts visitors to Glen Ivy Hot Springs.

Turn back the clock and you would see W.C. Fields, Palu Muni and even Ronald Reagan at this California landmark, authentic hot springs spa. As history has it, former President Herbert Hoover stopped by in 1933. We’re talking about Glen Ivy Hot Springs, a unique day spa that earned the prestigious Distinguished Day Spa Award from the Day Spa Association in 2002.

Today, this 11-acre water wonderland, with more palms and pools than can be counted on a dozen muddy hands, attracts spa-goers year around. About a one-hour ride from downtown Los Angeles, guests flock here because it’s an uncomplicated day in the country. The parking is free. The daily fee on Monday-Thursday is $30 (weekends, it’s $42). Children under 16 are not admitted. And there are enough masseuses available to offer a vast spa menu, from Swedish and Shiatsu to Aromatherapy and Temescal Stone Therapy. Body treatments are more involved, with a Sea Kelp Clay Wrap and an Apricot Body Polishing. And there’s something sweet to say about the Sugar Glow, yet another way to moisturize one’s body (with many men booking appointments). The salt pool is never empty and the Spa Boutique has a terrific selection of bathing suits, which is a good thing in case you forgot to bring an extra suit for the mud bath where men and women steep in sublime, slippery, slimy—you got it-mud. Keep your jewelry at home because spa-goers are cautioned that the mineral water is powerful enough to tarnish silver.

Another dramatic spa experience is the Grotto, a body moisturizing treatment that takes place underground in the hydrating chamber. Move over Disneyland! This is known as a “social spa treatment” because it offers the ideal way for friends to share the experience. Guests are escorted from a private elevator to the Grotto where the attendant paints a light green sea kelp and aloe vera moisturizer all over you, from neck to toe. The next changer is where the Grotto-goers wait for about 15 minutes for the concoction to dry. After it is rinsed off in the shower, the next door leads to the Relaxation Chamber, where herbal tea and a bowl of green apples are served. The 50-minute odyssey is $20 and appointments are not necessary. The Grotto is open daily from 11 a.m.

Another reason to stay here longer, in case you can’t shoehorn all of this into one day, is the lure of revitalizing hand and foot treatments such as the Reflexology Pedicure ($80), a combination of a traditional pedicure with an expert reflexology treatment. Sophisticated facials are tempting, such as Yon-Ka Paris “Plasirs des sens” ($85), using healing colors combined with yin and yang stone massage.

The spa’s Café Tiempo offers a menu of healthy wraps, salads and sandwiches. Christina Tildy, the spa’s marketing manager, pointed out an ambitious construction project that will add 7,000 square feet. This will include a new restaurant and more opportunities for spa treatments.

Your best bet is The Paradise Package. It costs $390 and covers a day of treatments such as Essential Oil Wrap, Glen Ivy Spa Facial, manicure and pedicure with paraffin, aromatherapy massage and a facial.

For information, call 888.CLUB.MUD or go to www.glenivy.com. The mailing address is 2500 Glen Ivy Rd., Corona, CA 92883.

Go to The Day Spa Association’s Web site at www.dayspaassocation.com for additional information on day spas nationwide.

More Glen Ivy spa experiences are available at its three-day spas, Glen Ivy Day Spa at the Brea Mall in Brea, the Glen Ivy Day Spa in Valencia and the soon-to-be open Glen Ivy Day Spa in Hermosa Beach, which opens this summer. Summer. Call 888.CLUB.MUD for more information.

Pamela Price is the co-author of 100 Best Spas of the World and Fun with the Family in Southern California, which can be purchased at www.globepequot.com. She can be reached at pamprice@dc.rr.com.