Eureka Springs has been a destination for hundreds of years. Native American tribes believed the cold spring water could cure a variety of ailments. Health-seekers of the Victorian era flocked to Eureka Springs to “take the waters”, creating a popular retreat.
Streets in the center of town are very narrow and steep, smoothly climbing the Ozark stone the city was built upon. Colorful shops, classic bathhouses and historic hotels line the downtown streets. Walking paths lead you from one garden adorned spring to the next. As you move into residential areas houses appear tiny, built to the edge of a cliff; a view of the house from another angle will show that it has been built along side-or even into the sheer stone and has two, or even three, stories. Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfasts stand regally atop the cliffs, their gardens an oasis of tranquility.
The 1886 Crescent Hotel
Crescent Hotel in Fall
Staying in a historic property isn’t for everyone. The Crescent Hotel, built of native stone, seems to rise from the highest point of Eureka Springs as a guardian. The Crescent was billed as “America’s Most Luxurious Hotel” when it was built and it remains as intriguing today.
Crescent Hotel Key
Rooms at the Crescent Hotel have been modernized, but are not modern. The decor has an air of the mystical about it as rooms have been repainted to reflect the few years Norman Baker operated a “cancer hospital” within the grand walls. Our room was large, with two double beds, a roomy bath and closet. Most charming was the key- made of heavy metal with a brass keyring stamped with our room number.
On top of your room rate is a daily resort fee ($7.75). For this low fee you can join daily activities at the hotel such as hikes, socials history tors or send the children to Kids Kamp, get free premium parking at the downtown Basin Hotel, access the high speed internet and utilize the hotel shuttle. My only confusion with this is why it is a resort fee; why not raise the room rates a tiny bit and make these amenities “free”?
Even if you aren’t staying at the Crescent Hotel it is well worth a hike up the hill for their Sunday Brunch. Tables in the Crystal Dining Room are draped with crisp white table cloths and attentive waitstaff await to take drink orders. As you are led to your table you are given a tour of the offerings: breakfast meats, eggs, an omelet, potatoes, and biscuits, luncheon salads, roast beef, vegetables, pork loin, cheeses and crackers, and incredible desserts including Cherries Jubilee and a chocolate fountain. Pamper yourself with a mimosa as you consider your options. And because it’s a buffet no one- except maybe your waiter- will know you had chocolate covered strawberries first.
Chocolate on the Buffet
One of America’s Most Haunted Hotels
Every evening, at 8pm sharp, guests and non guests have the opportunity to join the ghost tour. An entertaining guide leads you through the hotel sharing history, sightings and even the names of guests who checked in – but never checked out. This fun tour is not for small children, but is great fun for teens and adults.
Relax in the New Moon Spa
Located on the Garden Level of the hotel, the New Moon Spa offers everything from massages and facials to hair cuts and makeovers. It’s perfect when you really want to spoil yourself. Even if you don’t have a service done wander down and shop. You’ll find natural products with relaxing scents to give as gifts or remember your stay at this enchanting hotel.
Photo credits: Crescent Hotel in Fall courtesy of Crescent Hotel
Buffet photos by JLHalsted
Jody Halsted loves introducing readers
to the wonders of the Midwest at her
Family Rambling website.