Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Historic Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs, AR –
Quapaw and Ozark Bathhouses are Now Open


Hot Springs, Arkansas features eight historic bathhouses, some of which are getting a second chance at life. This is the perfect time to visit Hot Springs and enjoy the history that surrounds this city. Here is a brief synopsis of what the bathhouses have to offer you today.

Ozark Bathhouse – Just reopened its doors to the public February 2009 as the Museum of Contemporary Art – MOCA. It is a combination of 1920’s colonial revival architecture filled with some of the world’s finest contemporary art. The major exhibits change quarterly so feel free to come back often.

Quapaw Bathhouse – Renovated in 2008 is the perfect spot to soak in the 5 pools of Hot Springs mineral water. When they reopened they took a more contemporary view by allowing men and woman to bath together. This is a great activity to do as a couple or with a large group of friends. At just $15/person you can soak as long as you wish in a variety of Hot Springs Mineral Pools at different temperatures. For an additional cost they have spa services such as massage, facials and body wraps. For absolute decadence try the 4 hands massage, this is where two therapists synchronize their strokes and relax you twice as fast. Reservations recommend for the spa services.

Buckstsaff Bathhouse - In operation non-stop since 1912; when it first opened. They still feature the baths to clients much as they did almost 100 years ago at a bargain price of about $50 for their “Traditional Bath”. The service takes about 1 ½ hours and includes a soak in a jetted old marble tub, sits bath, steam cabinet, relax with hot towel packs wrapped around your aching joints, rinse in a needlepoint shower and finish with a relaxing Swedish, full body, massage. I found this to be great for the girl’s getaways. One of the things I must mention is that all services are done in a female or male locker room; so once you enter you will not see the opposite sex until you are finished. The men do often finish earlier then the ladies because of lines. When we go with a group the guys go to the bar across the street and we join them at our leisure. You may want to make similar arrangements if you are going with the opposite sex so you don’t have to feel rushed.

Fordyce Bathhouse – Owned and run by the National Park, this visitor center is a great spot to get a little history about bathhouses in Hot Springs and the city of Hot Springs. The gorgeous stained ceilings, elegant woodwork, and variety of uses for the mineral water can all be seen at this location; some of the uses are not for the faint of heart. One of my favorite rooms is the old gym, it reminds me of the gym I saw in an old Fred Astaire musical entitled “Royal Wedding”. I usually recommend this as a first stop to my guests, because it shows information about the Buckstaff & Quapaw bathhouses; in case you haven’t decided where to go. They also offer a variety of maps for hiking, biking, horseback riding etc. Hot Springs has a plethora of trails for those that wish to wander; this is an outstanding source of information by the rangers who must walk those trails. Best part is that it is absolutely free. They should also have a map for the brand new cell phone spots in which you can dial 501-707-0398 into your cell phone to get history and nature facts about different locations. There are several cell phone spots scattered around bathhouse row. (The call is billed at the normal cell phone rate; there are no additional charges for the information.)

I know that I stated there are eight bathhouse but only gave information about four. The reason is that the others still are not opened to the public. All the buildings are owned by the Government and leased to individuals. We hope that in the near future there will be more bathhouses on my list.

If you enjoy surrounding yourself with the gorgeous architecture of the past we would love to have you stay with us at Hilltop Manor Bed & Breakfast. This craftsman manor home was built in 1890 by a bachelor named Mose Klyman; he didn’t remain a bachelor for long after the building was constructed. We feature original hardwood floors, five stone fireplaces, antique lighting and are located just 2 miles from historic bathhouse row. We look forward to reserving your stay; just call Faith at 501-625-7829 or go online and book at http://www.hilltopmanorhotsprings.com/.

Don't forget, Hilltop Manor is also a great wedding destination or the perfect place for an elegant event such as a silver wedding anniversary.

Faith Kraemer
Owner of Hilltop Manor Bed and Breakfast
Hot Springs, AR
501-625-STAY (7829)
www.HilltopManorHotSprings.com