Saturday, February 28, 2009

50 is the New 30

A few weeks ago, my mom turned 50. Daddy was going to be out of the country during this momentous occasion, so we had to find an EXTREME way to celebrate. Dad and I (along with help from friends) came up with the idea of a spa weekend. Now, I wanted to go to one of those really amazing spa resorts in Arizona or California, but we just couldn't shell out $2000 a day. So we decided to stay close and settled for Hot Springs, AR. I know what you're thinking - "Arkansas?" Well, history will tell you that Hot Springs was the location for the first natural spring "spas." Daddy booked us a room at the Arlington Resort that included a bath and spa package. Don't worry, I'll get to the bath part. 

So on Saturday morning, I drive to Little Rock and pick Mom up from the airport. She thought that we were just going back to Memphis to hang out for the weekend. Please, Mom. Is that anyway to celebrate a half-century of life? So she thought I didn't know where I was going. She kept saying, "Kris, Memphis is the other direction." "Mom, I know where I'm going."  We got to Benton, and I spilled the beans over lunch. We were both pretty excited. Besides the occasional iffy massage in Asia, neither of us had been through a real, luxurious spa experience. 

About an hour or so later, we pulled into Hot Springs. We were both laughing so hard, I almost peed my pants. In our heads we had pictured a beautiful, tourist city. Somewhere along the way, we had forgotten that we were in Arkansas. On our way to our resort, we passed the Palm Reader, the Wax Museum, and a brothel or two. But once we saw our resort, we felt a little better. It looked relatively nice. 

We were a little uncertain starting out, but it turned out to be a great weekend. And we almost forgot how ghetto the rest of Hot Springs was, since we left our hotel maybe once. The first night was our "bath." This is how they did spas in the old days (I'm talking late 1800s when this resort was built). They pump natural spring water from the Hot Springs into this "bath house." When we first walked in, I felt like I was in a scene from A Farewell to Arms. (And Mom said she felt like she was in an Indian hospital in the 80s) There were little gurney-like beds lined up, and women wrapped in what appeared to be gauze from head to toe. On closer look, it wasn't actually gauze, it was towels and sheets. The ladies that worked there sent us into the dressing rooms to get undressed and wrapped in our sheet. Then they directed us into a stall with a bath from 1902. Then my attendant told me to drop my sheet.... WHAT? Let me have your sheet, and step into the tub. Um...ok. I'm naked in front of a complete stranger. So it's a little awkward, but I get into the tub and try to relax, she starts the jets (I mean boat motor stuck into the tub) and I lay back and enjoy my private little hot tub. After about 10 or 15 minutes, she's back. "Are you ready for your scrub?"  ???? She proceeds to get a loofah, douse it with soap and start scrubbing me down. In the tub. Naked. AWKWARD. When I finally got out and had my sheet back on, I felt much better about the experience. Then I got to be wrapped in hot towels (gauze) and lay on a bed (gurney). After about 10 or 15 minutes of relaxing in my gauze, I got to go in for a short massage. All in all, it turned out to be pretty wonderful, and when it was over, Mom and I went straight back to our room and went to bed. 

The next day, we decided to also go into the beauty salon and get the full package spa treatment. This lasted about 4 hours. I'll spare you all the details, but basically we got smothered in 3,000 year old mud and then wrapped in plastic. It was pretty amazing. 

I had an wonderful time hanging out with my mom and we got to be treated like rich queens. 

Moral of the story: If you go to Hot Springs, try not to leave your hotel.


  1. Sounds like ya'll had a great time!

  2. Ha!!! I know what you mean:) We have family all over Arkansas and we sometimes visit Lake Wachita which is really close to Hot Springs. The lake is gorgeous but you just have to close your eyes until you get there:) Glad you had a great weekend!!!