Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa celebrates restoration and a centennial

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The Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa in Hot Springs. Photo care of Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa.
The Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa in Hot Springs. Photo care of Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa.

A restoration is in the works at the Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa in Hot Springs. The hotel, which is located at 239 Central Avenue, is the largest hotel in Arkansas and an aim is for the restoration to be completed by the end of 2024, which also marks a 100th anniversary for the hotel. 

“For us, this is a time to reflect on the history of this incredible place and honor all that it has been and done over the last 100 years but also a time to look to the future on all we want to accomplish in the next 100 years,” said Scott Larsen, President of Operations for Sky Capital Group, which owns the hotel. “This is a celebration of both everything that has happened here and all that is yet to come, like the completion of the restoration, new product offerings, and even better experiences for all our guests.” 

The present Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa opened December 31, 1924 and a gala New Year’s Eve dinner dance was held at that time to mark the occasion. “The Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa is truly an Arkansas state treasure,” said Larsen. “It’s a grand historic hotel with that signature Southern hospitality. Out our front doors lie the famous downtown Bathhouse Row of Hot Springs and Hot Springs National Park. Out our back doors you’ll find scenic hiking and biking trails, along with our mountainside hot tub and twin cascading pools. Inside is intricate architecture that you only find in buildings that were built 100 years ago, and all the stories that go along with the history. You simply cannot find another place like The Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa.”

The Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa.
The Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa. Photo care of Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa. 

The history of the Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa is long and predates this version of the hotel. There have been three versions of the hotel. One of the financiers behind the first hotel, which was built in 1875, was railroad mogul Samuel Fordyce, the namesake of both the Fordyce Bathhouse, which now serves as the visitor center of Hot Springs National Park, and the city of Fordyce. 

When the first version of the hotel opened it was a historic moment for Arkansas as it was the largest hotel in the state, a title the hotel still holds today. The three story wooden structure was built on federal reservation property, where Arlington Park in Hot Springs National Park is now. It was a popular destination for visitors venturing to the city for the healing properties of the thermal waters. The hotel was eventually razed to make way for a larger brick version, which opened in 1893 and increased the room size. Unfortunately the building was destroyed by a fire in 1923, thus leading to construction of the present day Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa. This third version of the hotel, which opened at the end of 1924, moved location from the site on federal property and was built on land directly across the street from its previous locale. Its twin towers are a recognizable landmark of downtown Hot Springs and its location on Central Avenue makes it a prime location to explore the city from. From the time the hotel opened, it attracted notable figures to stay there, including Al Capone, Babe Ruth, Marilyn Monroe, Theodore Roosevelt and more.   

The restoration at the present day Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa includes a wide scope of work. “We’ve already completed several projects, like installing a new cooling tower, which will help with air conditioning in such a large building and reinforcing the towers at the top of the building,” said Larsen. “Currently, we are continuing numerous other projects, such as installing all new windows, new furniture, plaster, paint, curtains, and valances in all the sleeping rooms, removing all the stucco from the exterior of the building and replacing it with new, self-healing stucco, and resurfacing all the roof areas. We are now beginning a plumbing project that will see us take the rooms, stack by stack, and replace the plumbing and make much needed repairs in the bathrooms. In addition to this, we will also continue to restore the public areas such as the Lobby and the Conference Center. There are so many other projects that are ongoing and too many to list to complete such an undertaking as this, but our goal is to have the restoration completed by our 100 year anniversary on December 31, 2024.”

When the present version of the hotel first opened, it made an impactful impression. “At the time the Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa was completed, it was called the "most elegant and complete hotel in America" in Charles Cutter's 1892 Guide Book, and we still feel that way about it now,” said Larsen. “In 1924 it was a new idea, nothing like it existed to have so many rooms, restaurant options, and a bathhouse all in one place. Today, it may not be a new idea, but the way we continue to embrace the history and make sure that the Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa remains a memorable place to visit with several outlet options, along with our incredible guest service, there still isn't any place quite like it.”

"History is born at the Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa," added Al Rajabi, CEO of Sky Capital Group. "Come celebrate the past, the present and the future."

For more details on the Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa visit arlingtonhotel.com.