Sonoma County Stories and Tips

Sonoma Spa on the Plaza

Yes, we paid to get muddied Photo, Sonoma, Sonoma County

As part of our weekend getaway, I surprised my fiancé with a couples afternoon at a day spa. Nine years of trying to struggle through an MD-PhD program with your sanity intact can make anyone a little tense, so I thought this would provide some much needed relaxation.I made an appointment for a couples 60-minute body mud treatment and half-hour neck, back, and shoulder massage at Sonoma Spa on the Plaza. The spa’s website ( has a coupon for this for $194, but we were told that that was not available during "holiday periods." Despite the false advertising, we went ahead and booked it since $216 is still a good deal.As you could probably guess, this spa’s location is pretty convenient since it’s right on the plaza in the heart of Sonoma. We got there earlier in the day to stroll through the shops, have a delicious lunch, and watch the ducks at the pond before our afternoon appointment.Both of us had never had mud treatments before so we weren’t quite sure what to expect. In addition to the sanitary issues (where do they get this mud from? Is it reused?), we just weren’t sure if we would find it relaxing. Our treatment started out with some time in an aromatherapy sauna to open up the pores. It was pretty warm in there, but once we added more water to the rocks, it got to be really HOT. Just outside the private sauna they keep drinking water and cool, moist towels in case it gets a little too hot for comfort. We then were given robes and taken to an adjoining room for the mud treatments. It started with a body scrub and then came the mud. They explained that the clay was prepared specifically for each person during the sauna treatment (and thankfully it was not reused). We had earlier selected the herbal mineral body mud, but you can also choose a rose mud or a cooling mint mud. They spread the mud, which kind of reminded me of hot honey, on our arms, legs, and torso and then wrapped us up in a heavy blanket to allow the mud to dry. It felt warm and toasty. They then let us shower off the mud before our massages. It was pretty tough for the two of us to clean off all the mud, so I assume it’s nearly impossible for one person alone. For the massages, we were in two rooms with the adjoining wall removed. While peaceful new-agey music played, the tension melted away.As spa-novices we really didn’t know what to expect, but it turned out to be a fun, relaxing afternoon. It didn’t completely cure us of the problems brought on by 9 years of frustration, but at least it helped us relax for a little while.

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