Do you want your mineral spa bath at the Saratoga Spa State Park mixed with hot tap water? That’s the question patrons of the Roosevelt I Bathhouse will get to answer in 2008. The new policy is being enacted following a controversy that erupted last spring after a newspaper reported customers at the historic bathhouse were being duped into believing the bubbly water in the baths all came from underground springs. In fact, the 50-degree mineral water was mixed with hot tap water to make it more comfortable for bathers.
Although the Colorado Company that operates the bathhouse, Xanterra Parks & Resorts, denied patrons were kept in the dark about the water mixing, the New York Post story prompted strong criticism. An engineering report by a private consultant, Malcolm Pirnie, found the cold mineral water was being mixed with warm tap water. Although the blending resulted in a bath with less mineral content, the mixing does provide a more “effervescent bath,” according to state parks officials.
“Although the differences are slight, by providing both heating methods of the mineral water, patrons will be able to make a choice based on whether they prefer larger quantities of minerals or more effervescence,” Ash said in a prepared statement. As part of the renovations, four new heaters will be installed at the bathhouse to warm the natural mineral water. Patrons who prefer the existing method of sitting in a tub filled with mineral water blended with hot tap water will have that option also.
Preliminary plans for the bathhouse also include renovations and upgrades to the furniture, fixtures and lobby; a new food service and more choices for spa treatments.