The Historic Crescent Hotel and Spa of Eureka Springs

How many of you have stayed in a luxurious 4 or 5 star hotel?  Though pricey, these hotels offer the utmost in comfort and amenities to their guests.  As I flip through Vacation Home Magazine, edited and partly written by my daughter Nikki (proud mama am I) I’m often amazed at the height of extravagance that the “other half” have at their fingertips.


Private suites, in-room saunas, terraces with private pools, huge flat screen TV’s, top of the line furnishings, astounding views, food prepared by top-class chefs, are all the norm.  It’s expected. It’s expensive. It’s extravagant. 


Since my Suite Secrets series begins this month with Five-Star Cowboy, I’ve been researching contemporary hotels and I got to wondering what was considered a top notch hotel in America during the 1800’s. 




The Crescent Hotel and Spa was known as the most distinctive and historic hotel in America in the late 1800’s.  Set on 27 acres on the crest of West Mountain in Arkansas, the 78-room resort was built by Eureka Springs Improvement Company and the Frisco Railroad costing $294,000.  As writers and readers and lovers of history know, that was an extraordinary amount of money in that day.


Chosen for its stunning location overlooking the valley, guests traveled far and wide hoping to cure their ailments and ease their pain from the “healing waters” of the Ozarks, at the spa.


When the hotel opened in 1886, Eureka Springs Times Echo, called it “America’s most luxurious resort hotel”.  The grand opening included a gala ball, a full orchestra and a banquet dinner for 400 guests. 


The hotel offered airy, spacious rooms, exquisite furnishings, a 500 capacity dining room as well as a swimming pool, tennis courts and croquet amid flower gardens and winding boardwalks.   Guests could also enjoy the healing waters of the spa, afternoon teas, stables, and elaborate parties in the evening.  


After the turn of the century, the hotel’s prosperity faded as people realized the healing waters of the area were disappointing at best. The waters didn’t have curing abilities as the hotel had vowed and guests stopped coming to the luxurious Crescent Hotel.





Crescent Hotel and Spa opened with grandeur. 



The hotel became the Crescent College and Conservatory for Young Women.



After sitting abandoned for six years, the building opened as a junior college.



The hotel became the Baker Hospital known as a cancer hospital and health resort advertising miracle cures.  Baker was later arrested for fraud, practicing medicine without a license, selling his miracle cures for more than $500,000 yearly through a mail service in Eureka Springs.



The hotel was purchased by a businessman, who had hoped to restore the place to its original elegance. The hotel changed hands for many years.



A fire swept through the hotel and destroyed much of the fourth floor and west wing.



The Roenigks began a 5 million dollar restoration, including a New Moon Spa with Vichy showers, a hydrotherapy tub and sauna, tanning beds and exercise equipment.  The furnishings were all updated, the rooms renovated the landscaping, plumbing and electricity all redone. 



The Crescent Hotel, owned by the Roenigks, once again became one of the most visited hotels in the South, fully restored to its stately glory. 




Staff and guests alike tell stories of a number of ghosts who still inhabit the old hotel, from the original stonemason who fell to his death during the building of the hotel, to the butler who’d been spotted carrying a tray of butter down the hall, to a nurse pushing a patient in a gurney, from the old hospital days of the hotel’s history. 

Today many visitors stay at the hotel hoping to see one of these apparitions who some claim still walk the halls.   


So what’s the most extravagant hotel you’ve stayed at?  Did you have Flat Screen TV in your bathroom?  A pool just outside your door?  Any hauntings to reveal? 


Starting today, I’m running a fun hotel story

Blog Contest on my personal site.  If you get a chance check it out and tell me your story!


And don’t forget to enter our Sizzling Summer Stampede of Prizes Contest here at Petticoats!



 Happy Trails and Suite Dreams!




 Click if you’d like to purchase.



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20 thoughts on “The Historic Crescent Hotel and Spa of Eureka Springs”

  1. Charlene, How interesting! That kind of living I could handle. I saw an old resort somewhere in Montana, I think, that reminded me of the pictures. Will have to check my journals to find the exact place and story. It was no longer being used but you could tell it had to have been a beautiful place once upon a time.

  2. My husband and I honeymooned at what is now the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas. It was a dream come true for two small town Kansas kids. We went for a small wedding and spent the money on our trip. 🙂 Now, of course, it’s completely out of our price range.

    We don’t live too far from Eureka Springs, and I’ve always wanted to stay at Crescent Hotel, but I told my husband I just can’t get past the thought of those ghosts! Guess I’m a coward at heart….

    I want to wish all you ladies who are headed off to Nationals this year a safe and wonderful trip!

  3. Would you believe I spent several nights of my honeymoon at the Crescent Hotel badk in 1975? We even had a mirror over the bed–not so great for a blushing young bride. I love the Crescent and would like to stay there again sometime. It’s a wonderful old place with fascinating design and decor. And the view is fabulous.

    Another really cool place I stayed at was Eagle Ridge Lodge in the heart of the North Dakota Badlands. It’s a huge log house owned by a couple. The man built the house and much of its furniture, and the wife has decorated the whole inside with handmade quilts and wall hangings. They have the best view of the Badlands that we saw while in N.D. And its sooo quiet. Except for the air conditioner motor turning on and off, you don’t hear anything except the sounds of nature.

  4. Good morning all!

    Hi Connie – yes, I could get used to that kind of living for a while, but then I’d miss homecooking, even my own!

    Hi Gillian – Oh, the pics from Atlantis look gorgeous whenever I see them on television. They often have concerts there. You must have terrific memories of that place!

    You know, there were more ghost stories I couldn’t write about in the hotel, but the one that spooked me out was the nurse wheeling the gurney with a patient down the hall. That one gave me chills. I think I could handle the butler with the tray of butter, as long as he was friendly! 🙂

    Hi Vickie – Wow neat that you stayed at the Crescent! Did you see any apparitions? Other than your faces in the above mirror? 🙂 Eagle Ridge Lodge sounds fascinating – right off the history pages.

  5. Fascinating blog, Charlene. I’ve never stayed in a luxury hotel. Much prefer roughing it in some beautiful, exotic place. I did that last year in the Amazon. Our lodge was on a river, surrounded by rain forest. With an eye to the environment, it featured privy-style toilets and cold showers, which felt great after a hot day. We had parrots and macaws in the dining room, monkeys in the trees, frogs, and, yes, snakes. Nothing you washed got dry. What the heck. It was glorious.

  6. Elizabeth – what a great vacation! You are an adventurer to be sure. The lodge sounds marvelous, though I’d worry about creepy crawly things. With all the wildlife surrounding you, did you get good sleep? Noise wise, I meant.

  7. I had the breakfast buffet in the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville once. I was at a conference and the conference was held elsewhere to make it more affordable but I and a couple of friends went over to the Gaylord to check it out.

    Then about a year later, my teenage daughter had an FBLA conference in Nashville (Future Business Leaders of America-National Conference)
    Guess where they stayed? The Gaylord Opryland. I was really curious why a bunch of high school students could afford it while a bunch of adults couldn’t. Probably because the adults had a lot closer contact with the checkbook. And lot stronger desire to hang onto their money.

  8. Ooh, how neat, Charlene! Thanks to some of my husband’s work travel, we’ve stayed once or twice at some pretty nice hotels, but no flat screens in the bathroom or anything! Anyway, almost any place where they make the beds for me and I’m not cleaning the bathrooms is a pretty nice hotel to me 😉

  9. Hey Charlene, interesting blog.

    It reminds me of the White Otter Castle in Northwestern Ontario. At the turn of the century, Jimmy McQuat single-handedly cut, peeled and interlocked the red pine logs for the 3 storey castle and built it on a sandy beach of White Otter Lake. It can only be reached by boat.

    I’ve always wanted to visit it but never took the time to stop. it’s a full afternoon minimum due to the boatride to get there. I’m always zipping past heading east or west.

    And, if I’m being honest, in recent years we’ve discovered it’s a lot faster and easier to travel from Sask to Ont via North Dakota and Minn due to the rocky Canadian Shield.

  10. Mary — I’m such a huge country music fan, that I’d love to see Nashville and dine at the
    Gaylord. When RWA goes to Nashville in a few years, I’ll be there. I hope to see some of the town too. How neat that your daughter got to see it so young!!

  11. Hi Fedora — I stayed at a nice newer hotel recently, that did have a flat screen TV in the very large bathroom. It was a ‘nice’ hotel, but nothing out of the ordinary. I think the newer hotels are doing that now … keeping up with the times.

    I’m all for maid service once in a while. It’s been 34 years of making beds, longer if you count when I lived at my mom’s house!

  12. Anita Mae – The White Otter Castle sounds fascinating. Of course, since we don’t really have “castles” in the USA, the whole idea really intrigues me. I’d love to be able to say, I stayed at the castle last night. 🙂

  13. You asked about the noise in our lodge, Charlene. It was like a lullaby–the windows had no glass or screens but we slept under mosquito nets. We wanted to hear howler monkeys but didn’t. There was no electricity but we had flashlights, and this nice little man came around and brought lanterns. Going to the bathroom at night (about 20 yards via covered walkway) was an adventure in itself.

  14. Great post, Charlene, and Nikki’s work with the magazine is tailor-made for your new series!

    We’ve stayed at the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego and the Queen Mary (original luxury liner is now docked and a hotel) that are both supposedly haunted. Didn’t see anything though. Boo.

    Elizabeth’s staying in a rain forest is impressive. Although I camped endlessly as a child, I’m pretty much a hotel girl in my old age. However, next summer we plan to take a cowboy-covered wagon-horseback guided-tour four-day romp in Jackson Hole. Wanna come along?

  15. Charlene, what a fascinating blog! I’d love to visit that old hotel. Sounds righ up my alley–except for the price. I’ve never stayed in a fancy, fancy hotel, but I’ve dreamed of it when I get rich and famous one day. Ha!

    We have an old historic hotel not far from here in Mineral Wells, Texas. The old Baker Hotel. It was a spa also and folks came from all over to bathe in its healing waters. Don’t know how helpful it was toward healing the sick. Never heard of any fraud being attached to it. It’s said to be haunted as well. The historic society in Mineral Wells gives ghost tours all through the year and people can spend the night there. But there’s no beds. You have to bring a sleeping bag. There’s also no electricity so you have to bring your own flashlights too.

    I can’t wait for your “Five Star Cowboy” to hit the shelves here. Should be any day. I know it’s a great story. Good luck with book sales!

  16. Elizabeth – Hi Again. Sounds lovely. I liked how you described sleeping sounds as a lullaby. Still, it would be VERY adventurous of me to take on a vacation like that.

    Tanya – I toured the Queen Mary, but never stayed overnight. Same with Hotel Coronado. Would love a chance to revisit and stay awhile. Jackson Hole sounds like fun!

    Linda – I wonder if your Baker Hotel has anything to do with mine. He was quite a clever man, fooling people. I’ll have to read back, to see if he ever opened another hotel in Texas. Ohhh, that sounds spooky, no beds and no lights.

  17. When I was young, my family visited Eureka Springs several times but we never stayed in a luxury hotel. Eureka Springs is a beautiful place!!! I remember we had our first funnel cake there. Which has nothing to do with hotels, but it is a vivid memory! 🙂

    My parents usually picked budget motels because we were so busy seeing the sights on our vacations that we were barely at the motel, except to shower and sleep. LOL

    We had some great vacations! 🙂

    Tanya, I would love to do the Jackson Hole thing! I have always wanted to go back there. It is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been!!! The Grand Tetons just take my breathe away!

  18. we bought some exercise equipment from a local supplier and most of them are made in china. i do not know if those exercise equipment would last long.”.”

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