Looking for a destination for your next girls’ getaway? Hot Springs, Ark., may be the perfect choice. With excellent spas, shopping, gardens, dining and racing, this small southern resort offers something for every ladies’ group. Here are options to consider for your itinerary.
The thermal waters drew the first tourists to Hot Springs. Today, Spa City still lives up to its name. A few of the many possibilities:
Ablution Day Spa and Salon is located on Lake Hamilton. Enjoy your massage while basking in a view of the lake.
The Buckstaff is the only bathhouse on historic Bathhouse Row that has been in continuous operation since opening. Relish the traditional bathing experience that started drawing visitors to Hot Springs in the late 1800s.
Quapaw Baths and Spa, also on Bathhouse Row, offers modern spa services in a completely renovated building.
Plenty of choice shopping is located close to Bathhouse Row. Four favorites:
At The Savory Pantry, browse gourmet goods, exquisite gift baskets and entertaining essentials and extravagances.
Bathhouse Soapery and Caldarium sells handcrafted soap and bath luxuries made on Bathhouse Row.
State and Pride Provisions Company, located in the oldest continuously standing building in historic downtown, is a gift shop selling a variety of goods and quality outdoor apparel.
A short distance from downtown, Grand Lagniappe Shoppe carries an abundant selection of hats and fascinators to wear to the racetrack. They also offer designer clothing and accessories.
Oaklawn Racing and Gaming
Enjoy world class racing in a vibrant setting and the gaming area that includes blackjack, poker and slot machines at Oaklawn Racing and Gaming. Use this outing as an excuse to dress up or come in casual clothes. Bet on horse names alone or delve into handicapping. No matter what you decide, it’s difficult to have a bad time at Oaklawn Park, “where the sun always shines” (as track announcer Vic Stauffer reminds each race day crowd).
Garvan Woodland Gardens
Garvan Woodland Gardens is the botanical garden of the University of Arkansas. The 210 acres includes a bonsai garden, a rock and stream garden with many bridges and an aviary that is home to more than 100 species. Toward the end of racing season, blooming hydrangeas, dogwoods and azaleas adorn the grounds. Two yearly events that coincide with the Oaklawn season are Daffodil Days and Tulip Extravaganza.
The patio at Rolando’s Nuevo Latino Restaurante is from a storybook. So are the champagne margaritas.
Backporch Grill is a great place to see the who’s who of the racetrack. After the meal, extend the fun upstairs at Martini’s on the Bay.
I know I plug DeLuca’s Pizzaria Napoletana all the time. But the pizza is exquisite, and proprietor Anthony Valinoti will flirt with a girls’ group. And I promise both aspects of a visit to DeLuca’s are totally worth it.