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How to spend a few days relaxing in Hot Springs

If you don’t know by now, my friend and I have travelling nicknames – Bombshell and Penny. This is just for reference when I refer to her as Bombshell instead of her real name, Leslie, in my posts and videos. We only use these names when we are on an adventure of some kind together, where the laughs, fun, and talking never seem to stop! We are both teachers with an appetite for food and fun and more importantly are life-long learners wanting to see the world! Before we headed back to school in August, we decided to go on a little 3-day trip to relax and decompress before the craziness began. Here is How to spend a few days relaxing in Hot Springs… in our opinion of course!

where to stay:

I like to look on VRBO for places to stay. Condos are always a great choice in my opinion because I like the kitchen and separate rooms with doors. But on this site, you can put in ALL of your preferences and find the PERFECT place for YOU! The prices are reasonable, and you can “shop” around and look at all the details to make sure that you are getting exactly what you need/want.

We found a condo in Hot Springs Village.

Hot Springs Village water feature.

Hot Springs Village, a recreational resort community in Arkansas’ Ouachita Mountains, near Lake Ouachita National Park, is the largest gated community in the U.S. encompassing 40.7 square miles. 

Hot Springs Village offers year-around golfing at 9 professionally designed golf courses, 15 professionally surfaced tennis courts, fishing, boating, water-skiing, and swimming in 11 pristine recreational lakesover 20 miles of walking trails200+ clubs and fraternal organizations, and many more activities for all ages.

watch our adventure here:

what to do:

There are a ton of things to do in Hot Springs, but a LOT of people come here to check out the spas and hot springs… of course! There is no shortage of bath houses and spas and personally I have tried two different places.

The Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa

Although I had been to Hot Springs many times in the past, I had not been to a spa or bath house and so on one of our Girl’s trips, we decided to try this one out. It was certainly an experience to say the least!

The Arlington Hotel and Spa in Hot Springs.

The colorful history of the three eras of Arlington hotels is not architectural beauty and uniqueness alone. Always the center of activities in Hot Springs, the Arlington has hosted hundreds of grand balls and social events since 1875. Politicians, dignitaries, actors, gangsters and entertainment and sports legends bathed in this bath house. The Arlington has survived a devastating fire, economic downturns, changing social attitudes and much more. Steeped in history, The Arlington is truly a legend.

I must say that the facial and massage were great and the bath… was unlike anything I’ve ever done before. Try it out and step back in time for a few hours!


Okay… here is the REAL DEAL! I happened upon this place when my sister and I decided to take our girls to Hot Springs for their birthdays. We wanted to treat them to a spa experience and just chill for a few days. I’m sure that I just googled spas, found this one, booked the appt., and hoped for the best… and it worked out! (That doesn’t always happen)

Chrysalis spa tub.

We treated ourselves on that trip to facials. When we left, my face was squeaky clean with pores that were nonexistent and a glowing complexion. Everyone in our group was impressed with their treatment!

I must say that when you pull up to the Central location… which is the only one that I have been to, you might wonder if you are at the right place or if it’s going to be nice and relaxing. (Because it’s in a strip mall) But as soon as you walk through the door you realize that this place got it right!

I knew that I wanted to come back and take advantage of even more of the spa services they offered, so on this trip with Bombshell we decided to do a package that included: Massage, facial, hydrotherapy bath, and lunch. It was perfect in every way!

Hot Springs Village

This is where our condo was located, and we took advantage of the hiking trails. We also wanted to do the paddle boarding or kayaking on the lake, but a storm rolled in, and the lightning was terrible. There was no way we were going to get on the water with that weather and we took a nap instead! (HA HA)


Downtown Hot Springs offers a nice place to walk and shop. There are plenty of little stores that are unique and interesting like the Gangster Museum, or you can find cute clothes in the many boutiques that line the street. This is where all those famous bathhouses are located as well as a couple of hot springs you can dip your hand into.

where to eat:

It might seem silly to put every single place that we ate at on this post, but to me, that’s the point of the post. Some people might be SUPER familiar with some of the chain restaurants or local places but other people from out of town or further away might have zero experience. So here is where and what we ate in Hot Springs.

Newk’s Eatery

Hot club sandwich with chips.

Okay, so I know that this is a chain and a local favorite from where I live. But after driving up all those curvy and hilly roads, I needed something light and refreshing. Newk’s Eatery fits that bill. Their menu is full of sandwiches, soups, pizzas, salads, and pastas! I was also able to snag a seasonal favorite… a slice of their LEMON CAKE. So, here’s my thoughts on the place:

  • There are many sandwich places that boast some of the same things. But we wanted to go in and sit down, so that eliminated Subway.
  • Pre-Covid they had a “fresh bar” with home-made pickles, salsas, chutneys, and pickled watermelon rinds. It was a great little thing to get you to try new and different things that were both delicious and interesting. They have yet to bring that back… but I’m hoping it will happen… SOON!
  • It was delicious and perfect for my light lunch desire!

501 Prime

This restaurant was a total surprise and a high recommendation from the wonderful lady at Chrysalis that did my facial. While hard at work on those stubborn pores on my nose, she asked what we were doing in town and what plans we had made for activities and food. I told her that we were hoping to snag reservations at some place nice that night for dinner and mentioned two places that we were debating between. She very quickly said that if we wanted to have the BEST FOOD in Hot Springs, that she knew just the place, 501 Prime. And since it was on a Tuesday, she said that we MIGHT have a chance at a table. We would be leaving the spa around noon and as soon as we got into the car, I got to work at getting us a table.

Steak on top of polenta with sauce and herbs.

Reservations being basically a requirement is probably the first indication that you are going to have some delicious food and probably need to dress for the occasion. Both of which are true.

Here are my thoughts about the place.

  • I have eaten at some pretty fancy places in Denver and beyond with some of the BEST food I’ve ever put in my mouth… and this restaurant stands shoulder to shoulder with them!
  • The prices are an accurate reflection of the food quality, taste, and excellent service. The reason I mention this is because I have also been to “touristy” restaurants that had ridiculous pricing and their food was lacking significantly. Personally, I try to avoid those traps. Ask the local people, they usually steer you towards the best food in town and not the average wallet squeezers.
  • It was worth every ounce of effort for the table and dressing up is fun to do on occasion.

Mueller’s Bakery

Mueller's Bakery store front.

On our last day, we wanted to have breakfast or brunch before we went shopping and so we scoped out several different places. I looked at multiple menus and we finally decided on this bakery. It was small and quaint and filled with locals. That is always a good sign! Plus, you had to walk through the kitchen where they were whipping up fresh breads, cookies, and pancakes just to get to the bathroom. That certainly added a level of comfort and charm that was perfect for our morning stop! Here are my thoughts on the place:

  • It’s a local mom and pop type of shop with your typical breakfast items but they also have a good-looking lunch menu with sandwiches, salads, soups, breads, cookies, pies, cakes, and more!
  • The prices just CAN’T BE BEAT! We are talking about entire platters for under $10.
  • This is NOT a chain. This place is locally owned and he’s a veteran at that! I LOVE to support local small businesses when I can!
  • My French toast was AMAZING and the crispy bacon beside it didn’t disappoint either!


Technically we didn’t eat here on this trip. Bombshell and I simply stopped in for some air conditioning and cokes. But if you remember me talking about my sister and I taking our girls to Hot Springs for a birthday trip, WE did stop here for lunch on that trip. Hamburgers and hotdogs might sound simple, like anyone can do it… but I’m sorry to tell you that’s not the case. Even the simplest of foods can be destroyed by people who don’t know how to cook or season their food. Thankfully, Bubbalu’s gets it right!

Bubbalu's restaurant and counter.

The food here is so tasty, and the atmosphere is like an old diner. That might be why I like it so much! You can sit in a booth or at the bar and watch them make order after order really quickly and efficiently. While we were there, the owner was helping out with taking orders and the cooking while also walking around and making sure that his customers were satisfied.

He commented on how well-behaved our kids were and offered them free ice cream, which was incredibly nice! Here are my thoughts on the place:

  • The food is delicious! Burgers, hotdogs, fries, onion rings, and ice cream.
  • Prices are great!
  • Very kid friendly and a wonderful atmosphere.
  • Located right on main street in downtown Hot Springs. It’s super convenient while shopping or visiting the bathhouses.

our itinerary:

day 1 – travel day

  • Bombshell picks me up from my house.
  • Drive to Hot Springs stopping for a snack along the way. (HA)
  • Eat lunch at Newk’s Eatery.
  • Check into condo.
  • Go shopping for groceries to cook a healthy dinner.
  • Take a hike on the Desoto Trail.
  • Cook butter, garlic Salmon over lime, cilantro cauliflower rice! (YUMMY)
  • Shower, late night chats, and snooze.

day 2 – spa day

  • Drank some coffee for breakfast and headed to the spa.
  • Enjoyed 3.5 hours of pampering with a hydrotherapy bath, massage, facial, and lunch!
  • Head back to condo to get ready for water sports. (a storm come through and we take a nap instead)
  • Get all dressed up for our dinner reservations at 501 Prime!
  • Enjoy an amazing dinner.
  • Back to condo to relax, eat a sweet treat, and hit the hay.

day 3 – shopping and headed home

  • Woke up and went for breakfast at a local bakery.
  • Headed to main street for some shopping.
  • Head home and grab a snack on the way.

pin it for later!

check out some of my other adventures!

How to plan a family trip to Gulf Shores

A Week of Fun in Dallas/Fort Worth (Part 1)

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