What Changed During the Pandemic

This blog post is for returning guests who have not been to Riverbend since before the COVID-19 pandemic, to summarize our current operations and what (remaining) changes have occurred over the past year and a half. As many of you might know, operating a “non essential” business during the pandemic was not a walk in the park. Forced closures and occupancy limits were the tip of the ice berg of what small businesses had to contend with and are still going through. Many businesses didn’t make it, but those of us who made changes were able to pull through stronger on the other side. Unfortunately, some businesses didn’t want to go through what we had to and many businesses, including two other local hot springs spas, are still not open as of July 2021. Please know that many of these changes could still change again (or change back) in the future but in order to survive the next pandemic and shutdowns, these changes are remaining for now so that we are poised to weather the next storm much more effectively.

Reservations Required

Property Passes and Private Soaks must be booked in advance and full prepayment is required for all bookings. Reminder: Overnight guests get unlimited access to the Common Pools and do not need to make a reservation for them. Our office changed from indoor check in to a  walk up window and contactless check in is an option. Hourly soakers can go straight to the waiting area ahead of your soak and we either call everyone to the window for final entry at the time of your soak or we come out and orient everyone at the waiting area. Detailed instructions are emailed before arrival as well as a text message confirmation and you can text us back with any questions or concerns. Overnight guests have packets handed to them with keys upon a very brief visit to our window to verify a few key details at arrival. 


We no longer accept cash as reservations and prepayment with a credit, debit, or gift card is required to come here. Many businesses went cashless during the pandemic for obvious reasons but we decided to stay this way as it solves numerous problems we had with no shows with declined cards, fraud, security and many others you could imagine. This has sped up our check in process and made the owners and employees very happy to no longer have to balance a cash register. FYI private businesses in New Mexico do not need to accept cash.

Base Rate vs Per Person Pricing

Since January 2020 our Property Passes and Private Soaks now cost a flat base rate for one or two people (just like hotel rooms and most other hot springs). Lower capacity prompted this change and since the vast majority of our guests are couples, it makes sense for the base rate to be for two people. See our hot springs pages for additional guest pricing and see our hot springs specials for savings for singles.

Common Pools no longer have a Whisper Policy. Private Pools still do.

Guests now have a choice for their desired ambiance. Those that want a quiet and private experience choose the Private Pools where the Whisper Policy remains and will be enforced if we are notified of violations by other guests (via intercom or by text). Those that want to socialize with less restrictions choose the Common Pools where there is no longer a whisper policy. We do still ask guests to be respectful of each other and will intervene if we deem it necessary but this welcomed change has eased past guest/guest and guest/staff tensions and has ultimately given guests a greater choice of how their soak is enjoyed.

Lower Capacity at the Common Pools

We’ve learned that quality takes precedent over quantity and our guests prefer an environment with less people around them so the Common Pools have a much lower hourly guest capacity than pre pandemic levels and this has been achieved with our changes to reservations only and a limited number of parties allowed to book each hour. Common Pools used to be open to walk ins and rarely filled up but now we book up fully (sometimes many days in advance) so please make your Property Pass reservations as far in advance as possible. NOTICE: Overnight guests can still use the Common Pools whenever they would like so there is still times when guests randomly all choose to go out to the pools at one time. If you are not comfortable soaking close to other guests, please pre book a Private Pool for your party to assure your comfort.

Changes to some amenities

Though many of our amenities that were ordered closed by the State are now back open, some of them have changes that remain. Spa towels for overnight hotel guests are now in the room and we ask guests to reuse them if possible. This saves our environment and keeps costs low for you. RV guests and hourly guests can still rent towels and robes as before. Our coffee bar has not returned but we did enhance our in room coffee with new, higher end brand and we did establish a tea bar for overnight guests in the courtyard.


We are thrilled to welcome back our returning guests. Our water is still hot and amazing and our property and views still beautiful and magical. Most guests understand that the pandemic changed things and don’t expect that everything would revert to how it was with a flip of a switch. Those that have been coming for years know we already make frequent changes to our policies and procedures to constantly keep improving for our guests.  Thank you for your continued patronage and patience and we can’t wait to soak you all again soon!

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