Victorian Hotel with Therapeutic Pampering
In the mid-19th century, Eureka Springs earned its name for its many local springs, believed at the time to cure blindness or injury. Nowadays, the town's main attractions are no longer the natural wellsprings but instead the charming Victorian architecture that developed around them, eventually forming the Eureka Springs Historic District. One of several local manors listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the restored 1880s building of the Grand Central Hotel and Spa endures as a living emblem of the past, and the salon and spa inside pays homage to the area's therapeutic tradition.
Behind a brick façade dotted with green awnings, the hotel's lobby brims with period antiques, many imported from England or nabbed from a time-traveler's basement. Vintage settees with carved wooden frames and tufted upholstery surround a grand piano, and interior windows look into the Grand Taverne, the hotel's onsite restaurant. Within an open-air kitchen, European-trained chef Dave Gilderson draws from the balcony's herb garden to craft entrees from the French-inspired menu, such as prosciutto-sprinkled chicken ($18) or grilled salmon slathered with pistachio butter ($18).
Upstairs, Parlor and Royal suites continue the 19th-century charm with floral wallpaper, lace curtains, and old-fashioned prints of cherubs and picnickers. Modern amenities are also present, including two-person jacuzzis and kitchenettes. For further pampering, guests can take a visit to the salon for a waxing ($15–$30) or a manicure ($30).
Eureka Springs, Arkansas: Victorian Enclave in Ozark Mountains
Built into the rolling hills of the Ozarks, the winding streets of Eureka Springs Historic District curve with the natural landscape, resulting in quirky Victorian manors where the hills allow for ground-level entrances on two or even three stories. North Main Street stretches downhill toward artists' colonies and galleries, many featuring ceramics and jewelry. Eureka Springs hosts a number of regular cultural festivals, including gallery strolls, jazz weekends, and the World Series of Paper Football. To the northwest, the seven-story Christ of the Ozarks statue stands out as a monumental white silhouette against surrounding peaks.
Nearby, the geological forms of the Ozark Mountains hold their own wonders. Onyx Cave, a part of the Mammoth Cave system, glitters with fantastical formations, and the renowned glass Thorncrown Chapel integrates the forest canopy into its architectural design.