People come from all over the world to Hot Springs, Arkansas to enjoy and relax in the legendary natural spring water that is some of the purest in the world. The most unique National Park in existence and the only one in an urban setting, Hot Springs has traditionally offered a one-of-a-kind historic experience to spa goers.
That’s because in 1832, recognizing the importance of this natural asset, Congress set aside the natural hot springs site as a federal reservation, making Hot Springs National Park the first federally protected area in the national park system.
The heyday of "Bathhouse Row" was in the 1920s through the 1940s when people flocked to the area to bathe in the naturally healing water. Beautiful, ornate bathhouses were built along Central Avenue to accommodate the crowds, which included Presidents, opera singers, gangsters and famous baseball players.
But with the advent of a new lease program, the National Park Service has opened up an opportunity which allows developers to come in and offer the finest, purest spring water in the world to a new generation of consumers looking for a more extravagant spa experience.
The Quapaw Bathhouse, a beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival built in 1922, has been completely renovated. The most impressive exterior feature is the large central dome featuring brilliantly colored mosaic tiles and capped with a small copper cupola. Directly above the entrance is a cartouche with a carved Indian head set into the decorative double-curved parapet. The Indian motif, found throughout the building, was used to reinforce the legend that the Indians had discovered the magical healing powers of the spring and cave now housed in the building’s basement.
This unique natural steam cave has been recently opened to the public, and this particular spring contains one of the highest mineral contents of all of the area springs. A small 'man built' cave created during the construction of the building surrounds the spring today and allows the radiant heat from the naturally flowing 143-degree water to gather in the room.
It took the investment group made up of four partners nearly a decade to pull together the financing, meanwhile the stock market was "crashing" and they had to go through the process a second time.
"We were fortunate that Superintendent Josie Fernandez went to bat for us," says Taylor as the layout of the historic building would have to be altered some to make it work for today’s market. In fact the building won a historic design award.
A variety of facials lasting from 25 to 50 minutes are available using Éminence Organic products which are created using European certified, premium quality herbs, fruits, and flower buds, only with no harsh preservatives or chemicals. Massage treatments at the Quapaw include Swedish, Deep Tissue, Hot Stone and Foot massage. The treatment rooms are outfitted with state-of-the-art tables for optimum therapy results.
But the major reason for visiting the Quapaw is the water of course. Kneipp herbal bath treatments are available in addition to the natural water experience. The plant and herbal formulas in Kneipp aromatherapy products help restore and maintain the body's natural well being and provide the healthful benefits of nature. The Kneipp Private Bath combines the purest natural herbs with the soothing power of thermal mineral water.
Should you go, you have the option to bathe in three large bath areas, or in a private whirlpool bath where clothing is optional. The steam cave is positively a rare opportunity, and the massage therapists are top notch. Visit QuapawBaths.com to learn more.