For centuries, Native Americans, early European explorers, and visitors from around the world have flocked to the natural hot springs here to bathe in the healing waters. Hot Springs flourished as a health resort from about 1880-1950, peaking in 1946 when over one million baths were taken. The development of modern medicine led to a decline in the bathing industry but plenty of people still tout the benefits of hydrotherapy and who can deny that a warm soak feels pretty great?
After a day of sightseeing or physical activity like hiking or mountain biking, there’s no better way to rest and relax than a world-famous mineral bath! Please allow an hour to 90 minutes for this spa treatment.
There are two bathhouses where you can indulge in this age-old tradition and they offer two very different experiences.
The Buckstaff Bathhouse, which has operated continuously since it opened in 1912, offers traditional baths similar to those that were taken at the height of the bathing industry in Hot Springs. “People coming here, they’re not wanting to go to a day spa,” said Buckstaff CEO Michael Branch. “They’re wanting the history and that’s what we’re trying to preserve, the historic aspect of bathing.”
Wrapped only in a sheet, you will be guided by your own personal bath attendant to a large tub where you will be scrubbed down with a loofah and left alone to relax in the swirling water for 15-20 minutes. Following the soak you will go through a series of stations – a hot towel wrap, a sitz bath, a steam cabinet, and an invigorating needle shower. For an additional fee, you can add a 20 minute massage.
A few doors down is Quapaw Baths & Spa. One of the most attractive bathhouses on the Row, it features a large mosaic tiled dome and a carving of a Native American face centered over its awnings. Inside are four large thermal pools ranging in temperature from 95-104 degrees. You can try the different pools to find the right one for you or take your time moving from one to the next. It’s a fun (and relaxing) way to spend time with friends and family. I once saw the members of a book club discussing their latest read while soaking together in the pools. Private and couples baths are also available, as well as a variety of spa treatments.
The park has made great use of the remaining bathhouses, leasing them out for alternative uses, such as a brewery (which uses the thermal waters in its beers), a boutique hotel (coming soon) and a gift shop, where you can purchase glass jugs to fill up some of that spring water to take back home.
The same famous thermal waters of Hot Springs National Park are piped into the Arlington Resort Spa, whose staff of skilled attendants and massage therapists pamper guests with thermal whirlpool baths, hot packs, and massages. Relax your body and mind and soothe arthritis, neuritis, circulatory problems and tired, aching muscles.
Hot Springs is packed with spa options throughout the city and lives up to the nickname of 'The Spa City' given by many, many visitors over the years. Journey outside of Bathhouse Row and you will find many options for world-class spa options perfect for a day of pampering, a couple's getaway or a girl's trip!
This includes the newest addition to Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort, The Astral Spa! The world-class Astral Spa has unique offerings such as a needle shower, representative of the iconic Bathhouse Row at Hot Springs National Park, an infrared sauna and a Himalayan Salt wall, seen nowhere else in Arkansas.