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“Great Experience, Plenty of Attention For the Dollars Spent”

Buckstaff Bathhouse
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The only working bathhouse left on "Bathhouse Row," a popular hot springs bathing area in the 1920s.
Reviewed October 28, 2009

My DH & I had a difficult time deciding on which Bath House, but finally decided on the Buckstaff, mostly from reading other reviews. We found our experience to be practically identical to others that have been shared here.
My DH describes his attendant as efficient & courteous, not particularly friendly or talkative. He also says the first floor where all of his bathing & extras took place was clean, but not as clean as I described the second floor where I went for the ladies treatment. However, he thoroughly enjoyed his 'The Works' package, especially the bath, the hot towels & the massage.
It felt kinda odd to me to go up & go to a dressing room & get undressed. I waited for someone to come get me, and my attendant wrapped me in a sheet. (In fact this happens every time you go from one activity to another.) But, somehow as you go along, some of that nakedness gets a little easier, maybe because after all that hot soaking, I began to feel like a limp washcloth myself. The hot soak in the mineral water bath really was wonderful. The next time I would probably skip the loofah. From there is the sitz bath, which is nice, then the steam cabinet, then the massage table with the wonderful hot towel wraps. That's where I really felt relaxed. And then, the massage. Because I have very sensitive skin & am allergic to fragrance, I took my own fragrance free Aveeno lotion for the massage - which turned out to be wonderful. Because after all that steam, and sweating, your skin really needs some moisture put back in.
If you've come to Hot Springs for the first time, or have never been to the Bath Houses, this is a 'must' experience. When I think about how I've paid $60 at home for a hour massage, this is absolute awesome deal!
Yes, the Bath Houses are old & for mostly historical reasons, have not been updated to speak of - so don't go in looking for anything new & modern. But what I saw on the second floor was very clean & the attendants were very courteous and professional.

8  Thank jljeje
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"sitz bath"
in 157 reviews
"needle shower"
in 99 reviews
"hot towels"
in 96 reviews
"steam cabinet"
in 59 reviews
"bath attendant"
in 43 reviews
"paraffin wax"
in 22 reviews
"deluxe package"
in 14 reviews
"traditional bath"
in 32 reviews
"bath house"
in 72 reviews
"traditional package"
in 11 reviews
"massage table"
in 10 reviews
"steam chamber"
in 8 reviews
"locker room"
in 32 reviews
"minute massage"
in 35 reviews
"men and women"
in 30 reviews
"unique experience"
in 30 reviews
"spa experience"
in 31 reviews
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698 - 702 of 715 reviews

Reviewed September 12, 2009

If you ever wanted to time travel, just book in at the Buckstaff Bathhouse. My wife and I signed up for the $55.00 package that included a 20 minute Swedish oil massage at the end. We checked in at the turn of the century building (it's been continuously running since 1912) and were escorted to separate areas - I was on the first floor and she went to the second floor. In the locker room, you are required to undress and then given a (toga) sheet which was really just a plain white bed sheet to wear into the bathing area. I was then escorted to each station by an assertive, wrinkly old attendant, James, who has worked there for 33 years. The first station was a huge individual bathtub (I wanted to take a picture of it, but no cameras were allowed) with an old green whirlpool motor at one end with calcium deposits on the pipes. I had to get into the tub completely naked with the attendant right there which was a little awkward for me but "When in Rome, do as the Romans do". I sat in the mildly hot whirlpool bathtub for about 20 minutes and then my attendant took my loofa mitt (it comes with the package) and scrubbed down my arms, shoulders, and legs. It's kind of weird to have a stranger take a loofa mitt to you but it's part of the program and apparently has been for almost 100 years. After that, I was escorted to this smaller tub which was kind of like a large porcelain sink on the ground. It was filled with pretty hot water and I basically sat in this sink for 5 minutes and the part of my body that was submerged was from my stomach to my thighs. After this, I was taken to the 5-minute needle shower which was a pretty cool thing; it's basically a typical shower stall with pipes running up and down all around you - to the front, sides, and back of you - kind of like a cage but not as constricting. There were probably a hundred tiny shower heads that shot warm water at every part of your body and it felt really good (unless one of those shower heads happened to spray a really sensitive area!). From there, I was escorted to this steambox with steam coming naturally from the hot thermal springs themselves. My wife's steam box was one with a hole in the top where your head sticks out like in the old movies but mine was like a very tiny steamy sauna room that I sat in for five minutes. I peaked under the bench where the steam was coming from and it looked kind of dirty with years of mineral deposits (calcium?) but it was no big deal to me as I was paying for the time travel experience! After the steam room I was again escorted naked to this massage table bed and my attendant put extremely hot towels under and over me and I rested for twenty minutes. After that, my attendant thanked me and led me to another room where I had my twenty minute Swedish oil massage. The whole process took about an hour and a half and was very structured and for me, was worth it for the experience. To some spa goers who are used to super clean, sanitary, artsy, incense-laden, spa rooms with sounds of waterfalls and Asian relaxing music, well, these people may be disappointed.

11  Thank dasmtennis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2009

Took my Mom on a girl's trip to Hot Springs for some R&R to celebrate her 70th birthday. We booked pedicures & facials to go along with our Traditional Bathing Package. We weren't quite sure what to expect so we went in with open minds. Our main concerns were about privacy & cleanliness (separate areas for women & men, that only our attendant viewed us and that every area we had contact with be obviously clean). It turned out to be a great experience. Fun & quirky with an institutional atmosphere, don't walk in expecting a zen-like spa. Buckstaff has been in operation since 1912 providing a traditional bathing experience. We were efficiently & professionally taken through all the phases of the bath experience including whirlpool, sitz bath, steam cabinet, hot towels, needle shower & full body massage. Our modesty & privacy was respected at all times. The staff was helpful & friendly. My only criticism is that they really need to shine & attempt to remove some of the mineral deposits from the chrome surfaces. Everything was very clean but the areas that had mineral encrusted chrome were a bit of a turn off. As for value to cost ratio, I think Buckstaff delivers lots of bang for the buck.

7  Thank 1970Travels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 14, 2009

Just be ready to leave your modesty at the door. You have to be comfortable getting naked in front of the staff and possibly seeing some other guests walking around in their birthday suits. As long as you're ok with that and ready for it (so as not to be shocked) you'll have an awesome time. Very relaxing and totally worth the money. Get the Traditional Bathing package that includes the swedish massage, it absolutely makes it the complete vacation experience. The place is a little old and shows it's age, but you have to understand it's a historical place and they're trying to preserve the true Hot Springs Bathhouse experience as it's always been.

5  Thank SMUtex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 12, 2009

I went to the Buckstaff Bathhouse with my two sisters and my 80 year old mother.This was a wonderful and relaxing experience and we will return very soon. My favorite part was the steam cabinet and the hot towels.

4  Thank arklatexgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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