Castle Hot Springs, named after the peaks and buttes in the Bradshaw Mountains that resemble castle turrets, was once known as a place of healing turned luxurious oasis. Famous politicians, CEO’s, and others who could afford the accommodations came to soak in the water and get away from their high profile decision making. The Kennedy House was so named because JFK was a famous albeit reluctant visitor, having spent time here when the army used Castle Hot Springs as a rehabilitation facility.
Guests reveled in the southwest landscape with amenities like horseback riding, cowboy cookouts, and even a modest golf course. But in 1976, a spark from a fireplace in the main lodge burned down the hotel building completely. Only three original structures are on the property now. Since 1976, the property changed hands multiple times and was used for several purposes, including an educational center.
Now owned by Westroc Hospitality, great care is being taken to keep the integrity of the design throughout the renovation process, helping future visitors feel like they are in the resort of yesteryear. Materials and stonework are being pulled are pulled from the area, allowing the beautiful mountain colors carry through to the guest rooms and cottages.
The resident managers, Maureen and Terry Bauer, hope guests feel as “gobsmacked” as they were when they first arrived. Guests will be able to choose from three different kinds of hotel rooms. There will be 12 large bungalows or cottages with cast concrete outdoor tubs, which draw the water from the hot springs. As a designated dark sky area, the roofless outdoor baths will surely be a highlight. There will also be 17 cabins, which are not quite as high-end as the bungalows but will also be equipped with outdoor tubs. Four main hotel rooms will also sit on the second floor of the main lodge. While smaller, they have amazing views since they are elevated. Finally, guests can also rent out the historic cottage, which is a three bedroom house.
A myriad of onsite activities are being planned. Many of the guests will likely congregate around an outdoor bar or the resort’s restaurant, with the menu being provided by executive chef Christopher Brugman. Knowing how intimate the resort is and the openness of the current staff, I am sure that Chef Brugman will frequently gladhand with guests and make the dining experience something you wouldn’t find in a normal hotel. While the resort isn’t within spitting distance of a grocer, there should be no concern about produce freshness, as a there is a farm and greenhouse on the property grounds.
I can’t wait to see the finished product. Be sure to follow along on Twitter and Facebook, as I’ll take a tour during the resort’s soft opening in October. Listen to the full episode with more details and history by using the player above or by searching for “Travel Fanboy” in iTunes or on your favorite podcast app.