Arizona’s Hot Springs National Park was once home to over two dozen bathhouses during the early 1900s. The thermal waters were believed to heal certain diseases while also improving digestion and blood circulation.
One of the most popular features at Hot Springs National Park is Bathhouse Row. The row is lined with eight bathhouses, each with its own unique style and services. While only two of them are functioning bathhouses, you can still visit this National Historic Landmark to see these historic buildings.
Here is a breakdown of the best bathhouse at Hot Springs National Park.
Best Bathhouse in Hot Springs National Park with Spa Services
The Buckstaff and Quapaw Bathhouses are the only two functioning bathhouses in the park.
They offer a wide range of spa and massage services where you can relax and enjoy the breathtaking architecture and design of America’s most beautiful bathhouses.
Built in 1912, Buckstaff is the longest operational bathhouse on Bathhouse Row. It offers guests a traditional bathing experience and hydrotherapy program.
Relax in a whirlpool mineral bath, get a soothing Swedish massage, or moisturize your hands with a hot paraffin wax treatment.
All the bathtubs and lounging tables are the originals, so you can really get a feel for what bathhouses were like in the early 1900s.
The brick building is designed with towering Doric columns and white stucco. However, the inside is even more impressive, with Colorado marble bath halls and hexagonal tiles on the floors.
On a nice day, you can head to the rooftop porch to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.
Whirlpool Bath: $38
Beauty Treatments: $12 to $80
Topped by a colorful tiled dome, the Quapaw Bathhouse is a modern-day spa where visitors can relax in the thermal springs. Along with Buckstaff, it’s one of the two remaining bathhouses that are still operational.
Guests can also soak in a private bath or book beauty, massage, or aromatherapy treatments.
It’s also worth paying a bit extra to visit the cave room in the basement of the building. It sits on top of a natural spring and fills up with steam due to the high temperature of the water.
The bathhouse gets its name from the local Quapaw tribe. You can see the tribal influence throughout the building with different motifs and carvings.
However, the Spanish-Colonial style that was common during this era is also present, especially in the bath halls themselves (look for the sea scallops and fish adorning the walls).
Public Bath: $25
Massage: $55 to $135
Steam Cave (add-on): $15
Best Bathhouse in Hot Springs National Park for Visiting and Touring
Although they are no longer operating, the remaining six bathhouses on Bathhouse Row are still worth visiting. Many of these buildings have been restored to their original glory, offering guests a rare insight into 20th-century architecture and culture.
On the southern end of Bathhouse Row is the Lamar, operated from 1923 to 1985. Although the building looks more like a commercial hall, the interior of the bathhouse was nothing short of stunning.
The decorative murals and marble countertops in the lobby added a touch of elegance, while the light-filled sun porch gave visitors a place to rest and relax.
One of the most unique features of Lamar was the private tubs, which are different lengths to cater to visitors of different heights. The bathhouse also had a cool room, pack room, and a co-ed gym. It now functions as a gift shop, where you can purchase souvenirs and spa-related products.
The Spanish-Colonial Ozark Bathhouse was the go-to place for affordable spa treatments. And although the services were cheaper compared to the other bathhouses, the interior of the building was still ornate and glamorous.
Mirrors covered the walls while marble countertops and tiled floors decorated the lobby. The exterior of the building was marked by two towers, with decorative finials topping each one.
When Ozark closed in 1977, it was transformed into the Hot Springs National Park Cultural Center. During your visit, you can see artwork and other exhibits about the park’s history.
During the early to mid-1900s, Fordyce was considered to be the most luxurious bathhouse on Bathhouse Row. It was also the largest, with over 28,000 square feet spread out across three different floors.
In addition to the bathhouse, Fordyce also featured a museum, bowling alley, billiards room, gym, and a rooftop garden.
Fordyce was one of the firth bathhouses to close down in the park. In 1989, it was reopened as a visitor center. You can still tour the building and see the elaborate tiles, marble, terra cotta, and stained glass windows that once made this bathhouse famous.
Modeled after European-style bathhouses, Maurice was the only bathhouse in the park to have a pool. It was used for specialized muscle and joint treatments and even had an on-site physical therapist.
At the time, it attracted wealthy vacationers and even celebrities, including boxer Jack Dempsey and poet Elbert Hubbard.
The Victorian-styled building closed operations in 1974 and is currently vacant. It’s the only bathhouse on Bathhouse Row that is un-restored.
Hale was built in 1892, making it the oldest bathhouse on the street. However, much of the original façade was changed from a neo-classical style to a classic mission style in the 1940s. It’s also one of the easiest bathhouses to spot, with a red-tiled roof and arched windows.
The amenities and facilities were quite modern for its time, with vapor rooms, cool rooms, and an electric sweat cave that was carved into the side of a mountain.
Although it’s no longer a bathhouse, Hale was remodeled into a boutique hotel. Many of the original features are still visible, including the marble in the lobby and the hardwood floors on the second story.
The rooms still have that historic vibe (think brick walls and large open windows), giving guests the unique experience of staying in one of the oldest bathhouses in the country.
Thermal water is pumped into the hotel, so you can draw yourself a bath and enjoy the healing properties without ever leaving your room.
The red-brick façade makes Superior one of the more unique bathhouses in the park. And with only 11,000 square feet of space, it also was the smallest.
However, it still appealed to locals and travelers (specifically from the Midwest, as it was believed to be named after Lake Superior). Before it closed down in 1983, Superior offered the cheapest hydrotherapy and massage services on the block.
The building is now home to the Superior Bathhouse Brewery. Not only is it the only brewery in a national park, but it’s also the only place that brews beer from thermal water. Enjoy one of their 18 beers on tap while you admire the interior and exterior of this 100-year-old building!
Having a soak in the best bathhouse in Hot Springs National Park is a unique experience in Arkansas. You’ll get to see a part of history while also treating yourself to a relaxed afternoon of pampering!
But even if you’re not here to bath, you can still appreciate the turn-of-the-century architecture and rich history of Bathhouse Row.