FX Excursions

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Castle Hot Springs in the Sands of Arizona

by Debra Bokur

Feb 17, 2020

Tnsimonson – Dreamstime.com

Destinations / North America

In Arizona’s Bradshaw Mountains, an hour from Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX), lies the watery oasis of Castle Hot Springs.


Airport proximity wasn’t something the first guests traveling to the springs concerned themselves with, however. Back in the late 19th century when celebrity guests, including members of the Vanderbilt, Astor and Roosevelt families, headed west for a hot soak, they had to embark on a five-hour stagecoach journey across bumpy, unpaved roads. Even before then, members of the Apache and Yavapai tribes were already reaping the health benefits of the hot water.


The waters found at Castle Hot Springs flow from deep within the Earth at a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit, marking them as the world’s steamiest non-volcanic natural springs. The thermal waters are rich in minerals such as lithium, copper and iron and have long drawn travelers in search of relief from ailments, including gout, arthritis and rheumatism. Today’s guest offerings include a 125,000-gallon swimming pool, two natural soaking pools and a rock grotto. Tailored, pampering getaways can include a selection of wellness and spa therapies.


Crown KIng, Arizona in the Bradshaw Mountains. Photo: Timrobertsaerial | Dreamstime.com


Ravaged by multiple fires over the years and finally demolished, the original resort buildings were replaced with luxurious lodging choices, including 12 Spring Bungalows with private outdoor tubs that fill with hot, natural spring water, covered outdoor decks and outdoor gas fireplaces; 17 mountain-view Sky View Cabins equipped with telescopes for gazing at the twinkling stars; Lodge Rooms featuring antique fixtures and original barefoot claw tubs piped to deliver the natural steamy spring water; and an elegant three-room, 1,200-square-foot 100-year-old Historic Cottage.


The Castle Hot Springs property also offers the restored Stone House chapel as function space for meetings and events; and even boasts its own organic farm and a greenhouse that produces more than 150 varieties of fruits and vegetables, including more than 30 heirloom tomato varieties. This organic bounty is managed by farmer David Bullock and Castle Hot Springs agronomist Ian Beger, and finds its way into the Harvest Restaurant. Guests are even invited to go out and choose ingredients to be included in their meals.


Leading the talented kitchen team is executive chef Christopher Brugman, a recipient of Le Cordon Bleu’s The Grand Diplome. Chef Brugman also made a recent appearance on Food Network’s popular show Chopped.


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