Saturday, May 10, 2008

Great Days and Famous Bathhouses

I have to start by saying that having been in Little Rock now for a year, I am finding more and more things about AR to love.  It really is a hidden gem.  For starters, you could eat out as many times as you like at great local restaurants without ever having to eat at a chain.  There are so many fabulous places to eat, you know I love my food!  But today, I found the real hidden gem.

My neighbor (a native Arkansan) took me to Hot Springs to try out the Buckstaff Bathhouse.  This is the only remaining operational Bathhouse in Hot Springs.  It has been in operation since 1912!!!  Guys, this was the most wonderful, relaxing, interesting, humorous, unique, amazing day!!!  I am still giddy over it!  This may be long, but I have to tell you all about it!

We arrive to a very old lobby where you sign up for the treatment you are going to have.  We decided to have the traditional bathing package.  They then escort you to one of those old elevators that has an operator and a screen for a door.  After arriving on the 2nd floor, they show you to your cubicle where you can disrobe and then your attendant wraps a sheet around you toga style.  She then escorts you to a room that is completely made of marble with all sorts of little rooms.  

First, I was taken to a small room with one of those old fashioned tubs with the feet.  The water is directly from the hot springs and the minerals in the water are supposed to be very good for you.  My attendant helped me into the tub and then proceeded to wash me with a loofa sponge.....honestly ya'll!  I felt like I was in Gone with the Wind or something.  When she was done, there is some kind of motor thingy (I know, I'm professional) that creates a whirl pool in the water and you get to soak for 15 minutes........all by myself.......totally relaxing!!!  My attendant comes back in, helps me out, wraps me in my toga and then escorts me to a marble bath chair....a sitz bath....full of hot mineral water.  After soaking in this bath, I am escorted to the wildest contraption that I have only seen in the movies.........

This is the only picture I could find of the "vapor cabinet".  I know the picture is small, but oh my goodness.  It looked like an oven.  Mine was a bit different than this one, there was a hole in the middle for my head.  So she sits me in the vapor cabinet and closes it all around me, wraps a towel around my neck and I steam for 5 minutes.......I can not tell you what I would have paid for a picture of this, better yet a picture of this with my friend in it!!!!  I think I sweated off 10 pounds in that 5 minutes and just when I thought I would melt away, she came and got me.

Your attendant then takes you to a cushioned table and asks you where you would like your hot packs.  Where ever you have sore muscles, they wrap it in hot packs and then you lie there for a while with the warm heat soaking in your body.  I laid there trying to think what it must have been like in there in the roaring 20s!  I could just picture it.  I was literally on the verge of sleep when she came to take me to the next station.......the "needle shower".  

Again, this was the only picture I could find.  The one I was in was MUCH older and only as tall as my shoulders.  It had pipes going up all around me with holes in them that would squirt water all over you.  I am still not sure what the purpose of this was, but maybe to get all those minerals off of you.

Once again, I am wrapped in my toga and taken to a room for the most wonderful sweedish, full body massage I have ever had!!  This woman was amazing!!!!  If you ever go there, ask for Lisa! 

The only bad part of the day came next.....she said that I had to get up off the table!!!  Oh, I would have paid double to just lay there for one more hour!!!!    

This was really incredible and very inexpensive for 2 hours of pure joy!!!  If you are even close to Hot Springs, you must go.  I do need to warn you though,  check your modesty at the door!!!


Elaine said...

"Check your modesty at the door..."

I guess so. That's all I could think of as I was reading. Yikes.

Becoming Me said...

Sounds like you had a fun time being pampered.

Jen said...

I can relate. While I was on vacation with a former roommate 2 weeks ago, we visited a hot springs fed spa. Took a mud bath!!! We did get pictures. :)