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“Treat your self on vacation”

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.
Grand Haven, Michigan
Level Contributor
68 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Treat your self on vacation”
Reviewed 28 May 2014

A very relaxing, traditional bath & massage experience. Talked to a few other people and each seem to receive a little different treatment. Prices are reasonable - walk in only, no reservations but, unless you go on a weekend in the high seasn, you should get right in.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank WillyT69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Date | Rating
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English first
Mont Belvieu, Texas
Level Contributor
3 reviews
“Loved It!”
Reviewed 26 May 2014

This was my first bath experience and I loved it! My bath attendant, Sara was fabulous and made everything so comfortable for me. The message was great too! Will definitely do this every time I am in Hot Springs!

Visited May 2014
Review collected in partnership with La Quinta

Helpful?
Thank RhondaS534
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
Level Contributor
27 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Authentic "historical" spa experience”
Reviewed 23 May 2014

A friend visiting from Chicago was ready for a good spa day, and we decided it should include a bit of historical value. We were glad we went at the earliest time available because it was cool outside. I wouldn't want to do this on a hot day! We removed all clothing and were assisted with a toga style cover which was easily removed for the various stations we went thru. 1st - into a hot, private tub of mineral water. Make sure your attendant puts the support on your back - not your feet. I literally floated the 20 minutes I was in the relaxing tub, while sipping warm mineral water. 2nd) Wrapped in my toga, I was led to a padded table and wrapped from my feet up with steamy towels where I relaxed and enjoyed ice chips for another 20 minutes. My head and neck were wrapped with a cool towel AHHH. 3rd) From the table, I was taken to the sitz bath for about 15 minutes - my friend sat in hers longer. I recommend you ask your attendant to check on you within 15 minutes - that's all I wanted. Cold water was provided while I sat, and I found some towels behind me which I rolled up and used to support my back. 4th) Or....maybe this was 3rd....an old fashion steam cabinet. Interesting! 5th) The "needle" shower was to rinse off all of the mineral water, but my shower had a row missing. Still enjoyable. 6th) I was taken to a massage therapist and she worked her magic. I do suggest that if you want a "relaxing" massage, that you request it up front. My deep tissue massage (which I loved) left some bruising.

This entire experience lasted about an hour and a half at a cost of $65...I KNOW!!! My friend and I tipped our attendant and massage therapist $5 each.

My friend and I didn't think to arrange a meeting place, because we thought we'd finish at the same time. Suggest you do so if you go with others. Also, there isn't a suitable place to put on makeup, so if that's important to you, bring your own mirror - you can set it on a table provided.

The attendant and therapist who took care of me were very soothing and professional, but while on the table, there was a lot of chitchat and unnecessary bustling around of the other staff. Naturally, if it's a "girl's day", friends will want to share the experience, but the staff could have been more quiet. Also, my friend's massage therapist talked constantly. I like to totally zone out during a massage, and my therapist kept dialog to a minimum, thankfully.

I look forward to going again, but will request the people who attended me. The Buckstaff spa experience is well worth the time and money. It's not the soft music, water wall, luxury approach used by the spas I've enjoyed, but this was unique. I felt like a "happy noodle" when we left!

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
5 Thank Mary K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Well, I liked it, so there”
Reviewed 20 May 2014

I had a blast doing the old-fashioned baths at the Buckstaff. It was a little bit outside my comfort level when I discovered that I would be going down to the buff to "take the waters", but once I'd decided to go forward with it, I actually had a really good time.
The staff was personable but respectful and always there with more of the Hot Springs staple, mineral water, both hot and cold.
You start by getting completely naked and putting your stuff into a locker to which you have the key, then an attendant wraps you up like an embarrassed burrito and leads you to the baths, which are massive cast-iron and porcelain tubs. Off with the sheet and in you go, stepping into a whirlpool so strong it was bouncing me around like a ping-pong ball in a fishbowl, but kind of in a good way. :-) Really, it sort of resembled an outboard motor.
After about ten or fifteen minutes, the attendant returned and loofahed my back, arms and legs, keeping very respectful, then more water to drink and step out to be burritoed again.
Next came what was for me the high comedy point of the afternoon: the steam cabinet. Walked across the room, the sheet came off again and there it was: the one where you sit down and they sort of enclose you in a big box with your head sticking out. She closed the little door and got the steam going. I kept expecting Mack Sennet bathing beauties to come giggling by - in black-and-white of course - and they you step out of the cabinet and you're half the size you were when you stepped in. Alas, I was the same size, but very sweaty. More drinks of water, then burrito-unburrito, then...
The Sitz Bath. This is supposed to be good for hips and lower back. It's a little undignified as you sit in a sort of heavy porcelain trough with a towel draped over your front staring out into the tiled room, avoiding the eyes of anyone else there. Probably my least favorite part of the day.
After this was the cool down - more water to drink, then swathed in warm towels (except for a welcome cool towel on the head) and lay down on a table to, well, I don't know, maybe just to quiet down for a few minutes.
Then burritoed once again I stepped to this big shower where multiple jets of warm water sluicing me down and an astonishing amount of old skin rubbing off my arms. I felt sort of *polished*.
One last burrito and off to the masseuse who did a very effective job of loosening tensions and knots. This is a classic massage, and again she was respectful and professional.
So I would try this again, I think. It's fun to do a little time travel and experience the baths as they were a century ago. I came away amused, buffed, hydrated, and very clean. Since I was by myself, I used that time to kind of meditate a little and quiet my mind, which can't hurt, right?
My thanks to bath attendant Sara and masseuse Cheryl for their help. I recommend that you drink the water every time you are offered - you'll want to keep hydrated. If you're really spooked by the all-naked-all-the-time thing (other than the burrito - and they call it a toga, by the way) I'd say don't do it unless you want to push your personal envelope, in which case, just go for it! I would certainly go back.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
4 Thank AMBate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Winnsboro, Texas
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Ahhhh-mazing!!!!”
Reviewed 18 May 2014

This was an amazing experience!!! Very different from your ordinary spa experience, but an absolute must do while you're in Hot Springs! The process here is the same as it was back in the old days. I have to admit it was a little disconcerting being loofahed by a stranger, but the massage was undeniably the best I've ever had. By the time you get to the massage at the end your muscles are so relaxed you feel like a jellyfish and I walked out of there more relaxed than I've ever been. It was amazing!!!

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
Thank kbuth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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