The Tea House Spa represents more than just a getaway for relaxation, refuge, and rejuvenation—it is a place to seek peace. Started as a traditional Japanese tea garden in the late 1940’s by Anne Sunlight, the tea garden provided a space for people to experience a traditionally eastern environment. She wanted to create a meeting of the east and west as a statement of peace just after World War II when it was among most Americans to be against the Japanese—a completely radical move to make. Only people who saw past the animosity of the war were willing to come to the garden and be served tea by a Japanese woman in a kimono. Eventually a steady clientele of mostly women came to the bamboo sanctuary to politically voice their beliefs that the war was over and citizens could begin to reconnect east and west. Anne Sunlight ran the tea garden for about ten years. By 1960, the times were changing so Anne decided to close the garden.
In 1970, the current Tea House owners moved to Santa Cruz and into the apartment building that sits in front of the Tea House. They purchased the property from Anne Sunlight in 1978. The tea garden had become overgrown by wild roses, jungle plants, and bamboo—the same bamboo Anne had planted when she opened the tea garden. The new tenants used their moving van to clear the back garden of the overgrown wild plants in order to restore the former bamboo garden atmosphere.
Between 1978 and 1984, the back garden was open for business and improvement proposals—everything from an AA meeting place to greenhouse operations to proposals for more apartments were suggested. In 1984, the present building with tub rooms and the massage wing were built and opened as a spa. In 1996, remodels began and the spa reopened as the current Tea House in October of 1997. This Year, the Tea House Spa will be 17 years old and will hopefully be around for many more years to continue bringing the community a place of relaxation, refuge, rejuvenation, and of course, peace.
now has arrived
in a bamboo grove
as comforting as the breeze