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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Floating Stone Inn and Aqua Spa: An Oasis in the Desert

Oct 27, 2011 06:53PM ● By John D'Auria

Linda Ellinor, Owner

The beautiful little town of Tubac will get a refreshing new take on spa treatment, wellness and therapy, as Linda Ellinor opens her state-of-the-art water-themed facilities at Floating Stone Spa. It is no secret that water is our greatest resource and the fundamental key to our survival and existence on this planet. After all, water comprises around 60 percent of our bodies, 70 percent of our brains and 90 percent of our lungs.

In our home here in the desert, our need for water in the hot summer months and even in the dry, cold winter season, becomes immensely obvious. Many believe that our bond with water goes well beyond our physical need for it, and anyone who has ever stared into the serenity of an ocean sunset, basked in the refreshment of a brisk lake or meditated to the sound of a trickling fountain or running stream will surely agree. The bottom line is that our bodies and souls have an undying thirst for water to quench, sustain and balance our lives.

The spa, located on the historic Charles Poston residence, was once the home of Arizona’s founding father.

For Ellinor, it was realizations such as these that propelled her to quit her consulting practice in the fast-paced corporate world, halt her constant travels and plant herself into the desert floor of Tubac, Arizona, to open a breakthrough water-based spa, Floating Stone Inn and Aqua Spa. Ellinor’s vision for a water wellness center quickly manifested itself upon her visit to Arizona, based on a recommendation from a friend that had convinced her the beautiful surroundings and growing community would be a perfect home for her concept.

“It all happened very serendipitously, to be honest,” explains Ellinor. “A friend of mine was encouraging me to come down to the Tucson and Tubac area, so I did. I looked at real estate here and I never had it in mind that I was going to buy the founding father of Arizona’s home, but when I saw it, I was drawn to it emotionally.

“I’m a native California, so I’ve always had a connection to water. Turning 60 this year, I don’t want to travel so much. I realized that it would be more fun to have people come to me at a wellness educational center with a water amenities Hot spring pools, are a magnet for people.”

The spa, located on the historic Charles Poston residence, was once the home of Arizona’s founding father, although there may be little resemblance to what the area looked like in those days. The new facilities feature five pools, including one hydro-therapy pool kept at 104 degrees, a Watsu or aqua massage, a water exercise and activity pool, a Japanese lap pool and a cold dip for those brave enough to take the
revitalizing plunge. The most popular attraction so far seems to the Watsu water massage, which combines two of the most relaxing elements possible— floating in a 98-degree pool and a getting a full body massage at the same time.

“Because water dissolves everything, it’s a relaxing modality and a useful way to alleviate stiffness,” explains Ellinor. “Because you’re being held in water and put through very gentle movements, it’s about giving up control and relaxing. If you are suffering from some sort of trauma or stress, you can just let go. Many people also use it for physical therapy, as it is easy on the joints. In these ways, aqua massage provides both mental and physical release.”

If you are looking for a bit of a workout during your visit to Floating Stone, there are many options available to push yourself and experience some favorite exercise activities that you typically do on land, but here, they are performed in the water. “Over the summer months, we developed quite a few aqua exercise courses, including aqua yoga, aqua aerobics and aqua zumba, and we’re just completing a small yoga studio,” says Ellinor.

She explains, “I started out simply wanting to create a space for water therapy and workshops, but I read so much on the state we’re in of disease, obesity and troubled health, so it’s become my motivation to help peoplebecome more conscious about how they can take care of their bodies. These activities are a great way to have fun and keep in shape.”

She explains, “I started out wanting to create an aqua spa in which people could relax and unwind in water, but as I saw the possibilities in creating a wellness center that could help people learn how to better protect their health through more conscious attention to water and diet, my mission expanded. None of us need to suffer from such degenerative diseases as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease or obesity. We just need to pay attention to the choices available to us that include our drinking water, the water we bathe in and how we prepare our foods, using the water we have.”

While you will find an immense number of activities, pools and great places to relax on the gorgeous premises, one thing you won’t find is any chlorine or chemically treated water. After researching the harsh effects of chlorine, Ellinor decided to double-filter all of the water on the property of the spa, and also put it through an ionization process that keeps her water clean and pure.

“Most public utilities put chlorine and other chemicals into the water to kill the bacteria—which is important, because you have to do that for safety; otherwise we’d all have diseases. However, drinking it and ingesting it is extremely toxic in the long run,” explains Ellinor.

“What happens with chlorine is that when it hits the pipes and any organic matter, it becomes very toxic. Chlorine has also been connected to prostate and breast cancer. It just shouldn’t be in our water. Every bit of water at Floating Stone is double filtered—in the showers, in the pools, in the sinks and the drinking water,” she says. “It has gone through ionization and the drinking water is entirely filtered through a copper system, and then the acidic molecules are separated from the alkaline molecules. So you get a really pure, high-antioxidant water.”

Building a chemical-free facility is something that benefits every person who steps foot onto the property, but Ellinor wanted to make sure that her efforts in constructing and maintaining the spa would also benefit the surrounding community and environment.

"Anything I could do to make this as eco-friendly as possible, I did.”

“I knew that putting water amenities in the desert isn’t exactly sustainable, so I wanted to do it as sustainably as I could,” she says. “I launched into educating myself as much as I could to make this as eco-friendly as possible. I’ve put solar panels above the pools, we have a huge
rainwater harvesting tank that is buried by the bathhouse, which channels all of the grey water and excess water and sends it into the irrigation. Also, the property itself has thick adobe walls, so it insulates well. Anything I could do to make this as eco-friendly as possible, I did.”

For those looking for an extended stay from Tucson, Phoenix or out-of-state, the property boasts a secluded twobedroom home called Casita Linda, as well as six fully equipped one-bedroom, off-site casitas, just walking distance from the spa, that give guests a perfect view to the beautiful surroundings of Tubac.

Ellinor says, “Tubac is like the upcoming Santa Fe of this area. Being 45 minutes from Tucson, people can do staycations from Tucson or Phoenix. It’s close enough, but far enough away to attract locals, but really it attracts people from all over the country. It’s a very tranquil environment here. All of the pools are stone-lined. The first thing people notice is the grandeur. We have a beautiful courtyard, and the premises
are beautifully designed. The rooms are nicely decorated and everything is upscale. It’s a very intimate and special setting.”

Having been open for several months now, Ellinor’s dream of a Southwestern aqua spa has come to life, and the response has already been
overwhelming. For her, inspiration and motivation accompanies treating her guests to an experience in health and education that they won’t soon forget. She states, “My goals are simple: I want to bring eco-living and wellness together to build sustainability. I want to provide education and inspiration within a nurturing, supportive environment, and I want to bring awareness of the role that water (especially ionized) plays in optimal wellness.”

Floating Stone Spa is located at 16-18, 20 Calle Iglesia, Tubac, AZ Contact: 520- 398-3193,

The new facilities feature five pools, including one hydro-therapy pool kept at 104 degrees, a Watsu or aqua massage, a water exercise and activity pool, a Japanese lap pool and a cold dip for those brave enough to take the
revitalizing plunge.