Bath House

How does a Traditional Bathhouse Work?

Hot Springs' world-famous hot mineral baths are one of the most popular and memorable experiences. With the continued restoration of Historic Downtown and the magnificent Hot Springs National Park Visitors Center and Museum, they are becoming even more popular.

The Buckstaff Bathhouse: Since 1912, the only remaining continuously operational traditional thermal bathing facility on Historic Bath House Row, still today offers mineral baths, hot packs, sitz baths, steam cabinets, and Swedish Massages for visitors of Hot Springs. Located about five blocks from the inn. No reservations.

Some visitors have questions about the bathing experience because of modesty or assumptions about the nature of the baths. Please note that bathing suits are optional. If you would feel more comfortable, bring it and you can decide when you get here if you want to wear it or not. Here are the steps involved in the bath regimen:
  1. As clients enter the bathhouse, their valuables will be locked in individual security boxes and the keys given to them for safekeeping.
  2. Next, the bather is escorted to the bathing area dressing rooms. Men and women are separate at the bathhouse. Men are on one floor and the women are on another. The bathtub is individual, not a group bath. A personal attendant for the bather (of the same gender) will first assist in helping the bather into a cotton “toga-style” bathing wrap.
  3. Then the bather is given a cup of hot mineral water to drink. This is not a sulfuric “medicinal tasting” water -often associated with some hot springs - but our pure mineral water. It is free of contaminants and is world famous for its wonderful taste. The hot water helps ready the bather’s body for the 100 degree bath.
  4. Next the bather enters the bath. Throughout the bath, which lasts about 20 minutes, the bather’s progress and condition will be monitored by the attendant.
  5. Each bather can choose to do a “sitz” bath and/or a steam cabinet. The “sitz” bath is a special tub allowing the legs and feet to rest over its edge, the therapeutic effect concentrating on the lower trunk.
  6. These are followed by the mineral wrap (hot packs) and then a cool down needle shower.
  7. The last step is a 20 minute, full-body Swedish Massage.


More Info

Note:The above procedure may vary somewhat and all times are approximate.