The Buckstaff Bath House in Hot Springs, AR is currently the only operating bathhouse in Hot Springs. I’ve been to hot springs before, but a bath house is quite different as it turns out. Chris & I each paid our $23.76 admission fees, and then my experience went something like this: I was invited to make my way upstairs to the ladies department, present the attendant with my ticket, and I would be taken care of.
A bath house attendant led me to a curtained changing room with a locker and instructed me to undress, and with my back turned, to let her know when I was ready. She asked me to hold my arms up, and she wrapped a white sheet around me, then showed me to a waiting room with a handful of other ladies, who were also loosely wrapped in white sheets.
It’s funny how conversational and friendly strangers get when you’re all half-naked. Everyone wants to know where everyone is from and what brings ya here. Probably a good thing too, because sitting in nothing but a sheet for half an hour might otherwise feel a little awkward.
My name was called and I was escorted to a small room with my own bathtub, where my attendant took the sheet from me and saw to it that I got in the tub alright, and propped a towel behind my neck for comfort. There was a large powerful bubble blower in the tub. I was left alone, and it was very relaxing. After 15 minutes or so she came back to wash my back, arms and lower legs. It was kind of funny but a pampering touch. I was left alone for a few more minutes.
When she returned, it was time to get out and I was once again rather ceremoniously wrapped in a sheet by my attendant, and led to a bench to rest for a few minutes with a small cup of hot mineral water. The next stop was something called the Sitz bath. A small-almost sink-like tub that is supposed to be good for your lower back.
I was only in there a few minutes, then taken to a private-sized steam box for a few minutes. I loved the steam room and would’ve stayed longer if I could’ve, but before I knew it, I was already being led to a table to lie down on my back, with a hot pack on my shoulders and a cold pack on my forehead.
It was then time for quick 2 minute “needle” shower, with small streams shooting at me from all directions. It was nice, but 2 minutes is hardly long enough (There’s an attendant waiting for you so you can’t go over time). I got dressed and went outside to find Chris already waiting in the van-asking what had taken me so long-he claims he’d been done for an hour. We compared notes on the experience and there were a few differences.
He wasn’t given the sitz bath. And he was in a larger steam room-not the personal sized steam room box. Oh, and he was given the sheet to wrap himself in, whereas an attendant always wrapped and unwrapped me.
A similar old bath house was turned into a visitor center, so we were able to take pictures that fairly accurately resemble our experience at the Buckstaff Bath House.