A spa town in the United States has eight bathhouses. In fact, only two are in business.
Take a trip to Hot Springs, where symbolizes the flourishing culture of bathing and its decadence.
Hot Springs National Park
Hot Springs in Arkansas seems most popular hot springs in the United States.
The name of the city gives the proof.
Bill Clinton, the 42nd president spent his boyhood there, which is four and a half drive from Dallas, Texas, and is one of the most popular tourism cities in Arkansas.
Today we will go north along Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs National Park (the first national park in the U.S.), and get to a hot spring hotel.
Out of existing eight bathhouses, Lamar is located at the south end.
It opened between 19231 and 1985, and is a gift shop now.
The Neoclassical building with blue shades is Buckstaff, one of active bathhouses.
They have offered a historical way of bathing since the opening in 1912.
It is like Kurhaus in Europe, where soakers dip in a small tub, and receive services such as Swedish massage in rotation.
Ozark is the next one. It had been active between 1922 and 1977, and is currently a gallery.
Another active one is Quapaw in Spanish colonial architecture, built in 1922.
With swimsuit on, people soak in indoor pools.
The water is clear and odorless, and the temperature is 102 degrees F at the hottest.
Tap water seems to be added for the temperature control, but the smell of chlorine is not so strong.
Fordyce was the most luxury bathhouse in the spa town opened between 1914 and 1962.
The gorgeous appearance tells the golden age of American hot springs.
The inside is publicly disclosed as a visitor center of the national park (complimentary).
For example, this valves are one of the relics that prove dipping in a hot spring was purely a medical practice.
Some diseases might be cured simply because patients gazed blankly at hot water highly controlled.
Disabled people were said to move lying on the board suspended from a rail located at the ceiling.
These neo-futuristic features became nothing but useless in step with the advances in medical technology.
The next bathhouse, Maurice opened between 1912 and 1974.
Today it closes completely.
Hale was the oldest one, was active between 1892 and 1978.
It is closed now, but the rustic atmosphere of the exterior is different from others.
In fact, during the first half of the 20th century when other bath houses were built, the city was involved with a corrupt system like illegal gambling and gangsters' activities.
Bath houses established in different ages tell the different atmosphere of the times.
Superior is located at the north end, which had been active between 1916 and 1983.
Nowadays it opens as a brewery offers beer made of the mineral water.
In the mountain behind the street, natural hot springs can be seen.
The water temperature at the source is around 144 degrees F.
It looks like an open-air tub, but you cannot bathe even a foot due to the high temperature.
The area is not a volcanic zone, so that there are no other hot springs.
It is considered as a unique spring that gushes along a geologic fault, heated with the geothermal power 8,000 feet underground.
Accordingly, the water is odorless unlike a volcanic mineral spring.
A drinking fountain in the street are crowded with many people.
Hot Springs became so popular probably because it is easy to reach from the highly populated East Coast, and due to the quality of the water appeals to all tastes.
The building in Spanish renaissance architecture is a hot spring hotel, which started the business in 1875, and reconstructed in 1924 due to fire disaster.
Many VIP stayed at the hotel, such as the world-famous gangster Al Capone, the 32nd president Franklin Roosevelt, and the 33rd president Harry Truman.
In spite of the long history, it is not so much renovated.
It is amazing that such historically important building is in active service.
The bathhouse is on the third floor, whose service is just like Buckstaff above.
Mineral water is piped to an outside pool as well.
The water in Jacuzzi has strong smell of chlorine, which seems worse than that at Quapaw.
Hot spring maniacs must choose the room with a hot tub.
Make a reservation of a room named MINERAL WATER.
The bedroom is old-fashioned but beautiful.
On the other hand, the bathroom looks small and just ordinary, with a shallow tub next to the toilet.
Turn on a faucet at full blast, too hot water to soak comes up.
The water temperature is just as same as the source in the park, so it must be straight out of the ground.
Being naturally cooled, I really enjoyed the water.
The water has freshness all the more because it is not characteristic.
Regardless of the flourishing culture of bathing and its decadence, hot springs remain gushing.
Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa, Hot Springs, Arkansas, U.S.
- Walk-in: Yes (Only Spa)
- Lodging: Yes (Online Bookings)