Hot Hotels and Hip Hideaways in Hot Springs
Hot Springs is bursting at the seams with fantastic new vacation spots, including luxe resorts, historic rehabs and reimagined roadside motels.
A TASTE OF THE HIGH LIFE
In 2021, Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort debuted the final stages of its $100 million-plus expansion project, which included an expanded casino gaming area, a seven-story hotel, and a multi-purpose events center.
The chic 200-room hotel boasts stunning views of the historic racetrack on one side and views of the city’s famous lakes on the opposite side. The rooms are absolutely unlike any others in Hot Springs. They’re modern with a big-city feel. Huge contemporary bathrooms offer luxe amenities and ample lighting. High-tech tablets give guests quick access to room service, housekeeping and more. The hotel’s suites are even more spectacular.
The resort has a state-of-the-art fitness center complete with Peloton spin bikes and a resort-style swimming pool with full-service cabanas and a pool-side bar. The bustling lobby boasts a happening bar serving creative cocktails made by beloved bartenders. Guests are also welcomed by a well-appointed lounge with ambient fireplace, an inviting check-in island and a bright sundry shop.
An array of Oaklawn racing memorabilia stops guests for a history lesson before they ascend the grand staircase, above which the sounds of spinning slot machines beckon visitors for fun. Also upstairs, Oaklawn offers a modern food court with lattes, pastries, deli faves and more.
As for fine dining, The Bugler is Oaklawn’s star. It houses another beautiful bar and serves delicious fare with a side of picturesque views. Next door, the First Turn Bar offers indoor and outdoor space for socializing amongst a trendy crowd.
Perhaps the most beautiful spa in Hot Springs, and by far the most beautiful amenity at the resort, is the tranquil Astral Spa. It offers guests a wide array of treatments—from manicures, makeup and massages to facials, body scrubs and hair salon services. A Himalayan salt wall provides detoxification in the parlor, and the spa’s world-class amenities include needle showers, a steam room, infrared sauna, whirlpool, and cold rooms.
This historic thoroughbred horse track and popular casino draws an estimated 1 million visitors each year, and now they all have an incredible place to eat, drink, sleep, swim, and spa.
Book it: oaklawn.com
HISTORIC HOME TURNS NEW HOTEL
The Reserve at Hot Springs is a high-end boutique hotel with 12 suites serving up exceptional customer service and chef-prepared food. It is family-owned and operated with an elevated take on Southern hospitality and tradition.
Owners Mark and Rhonda McMurry wanted to pay homage to the rich history of the W.C. Brown House with an extensive collection of antique pieces and luxe design elements at this historic former mansion and national heritage landmark.
The Queen Anne-style house was built in 1890 and later updated with Neo Classical-style architecture in 1919. In July 2021, after a full renovation, the hotel debuted to much fanfare.
“Our goal has been to preserve this piece of history while introducing a new way to experience the area,” says owner Mark McMurry. “This has been a true labor of love for our whole family, and we are so excited to begin welcoming guests to our wonderful retreat, where we hope they will feel like an extension of our family.”
Each luxurious room is uniquely named and decorated—full of special relics and antique reproductions.
“The Arlington is always a hit,” says managing director Katelyn McMurry. "It's an ornate room with a fireplace, comfortable sitting area and a large bathroom with a clawfoot tub.
The Enclave Suite, situated behind the Brown House, is a slight departure from the rest of the property. It’s a perfect fit for honeymoons.
“It's so romantic with the copper soaking tub and waterfall shower made of stone and river rocks,” Katelyn says. “When guests book The Enclave, they rarely leave the room!”
The whole 4-acre property is a sight to behold; its manicured front lawn, rustic fire pit and unmatched views of the final turn of Oaklawn’s race track might be the hotel’s crown jewels. Or perhaps it’s the tranquil waterfall and swing? Or the wood-paneled library, perfect for a peaceful respite with an afternoon cocktail? The grounds and its three buildings simply offer so much to enjoy.
The customer service and built-in comforts make this a hotel unlike any other in the entire state. A beautifully decorated butler’s pantry is accessible all day for refreshments. In the morning, guests are served complimentary breakfast, along with pastries served throughout the day—thanks to executive chef Joshua Garland and pastry chef Brandon Peterson. Add-ons like charcuterie boards, flowers, in-room massages, and champagne can make each guest’s experience all the more special. And The Reserve offers packages like private wine dinners and VIP racetrack packages.
“We love providing an experience that goes above and beyond their expectations,” says Mark.
This much-buzzed-about property is truly unlike any other in Hot Springs (or in all of Arkansas). It’s a true must-stay when visiting Spa City.
Book it: thereserveathotsprings.com
OH, HALE YES!
The Hale Bathhouse is the oldest standing building on Bathhouse Row and was recently converted into the Hotel Hale. The small boutique hotel features nine rooms, each with a mineral water tub for guests to enjoy Hot Springs’ natural thermal waters. Hotel Hale also features an exquisite restaurant, The Eden, with a verdant “living wall” of lush plants.
“It’s very personal, small, quaint,” says Bill Solleder, director of marketing for Visit Hot Springs. “You can soak in the thermal waters all day long. It’s ideally located right next to Superior Bathhouse Brewery.” The adjacent brewery is the only of its kind, serving craft beer brewed with thermal water (and located in a National Park).
The Hotel Hale is managed by Ellen McCabe and her husband, Patrick McCabe, the mayor of Hot Springs. Patrick spends his time as an ambassador of Hot Springs while also helping Ellen with the hotel and restaurant.
This is bucket-list lodging at its best.
Book it: hotelhale.com
MAJOR RESTORATION PLANNED
The Medical Arts Building stands on Central Avenue in downtown Hot Springs, a brilliant 16-story example of Art Deco architecture.
Built in 1929, it served as the image of the Daily Planet in the earliest "Superman" movies. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, the building is now slated to be restored for use as a new hotel after developer Path Patel purchased the property, thereby saving it from demolition.
Built and designed by Little Rock residents Josh and Lyndsey Sullivan, the Lake Hamilton Cedars main house and two cabins are what Pinterest dreams are made of. Situated on 150 feet of lakefront on bustling Lake Hamilton, this vacation rental is primed for a week on the water.
The farmhouse-style property boasts floor-to-ceiling windows, dreamy shiplap and light wood accents, modern appliances, hot tub and tranquil hammocks.
Book it: vrbo.com/1961174
MOTELS HAVING A MOMENT
Roadside motels are making a comeback in Hot Springs. Two quirky properties have been causing quite a stir — Cottage Court (pictured) and Best Court Cottages.
Dame Fortune's Cottage Court is a historic, boutique motel built in 1951, renovated and reopened in 2017 with vintage flair.
Best Court Cottages, built in 1933, recently reopened after a 16-month renovation. The curb appeal alone is enough to beckon guests to book for a throwback stay, and the quaint interior seals the deal. Its Best Cafe & Bar is a must even if you're not a guest of the motel.
FOR MORE LODGING, SEE Scenic Views, Luxurious Amenities Abound at Hot Springs Retreats.