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Castle Hot Springs

Castle Hot Springs, AZ 85342, USA
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Castle Hot Springs

Why we love it: a chic, eco-friendly revival of an iconic spa resort


Highlights:
- the 32-room resort lies in the Bradshaw Mountains just an hour’s drive northwest of Phoenix
- green elements like sustainable design, long-life LED lighting, and passive solar design.
- activities ranging from yoga to spa treatments, horse riding, and stargazing with an astronomer

The review: Once the haunt of the American aristocracy, Castle Hot Springs attracted families like the Pews, Wrigleys, Vanderbilts, and Rockefellers. In 1945, John F. Kennedy even convalesced there, hiking the high-desert trails and soaking in the 200,000 gallons of mineral water welling daily from a cistern around 10,000 feet deep. A 1976 fire set the resort into a decline, but as of 2019, it’s back and wowing guests with both glam and green elements.

The springs had been a place of healing for the Native Yavapai culture for millennia. Anglo settlers discovered it after the Civil War and the site briefly served as a sanatorium, helping painter Maxfield Parrish cure his tuberculosis and find inspiration in the dramatic landscape.

The lodge — now freshly renovated — sits among a cluster of 12 contemporary bungalows and 19 cabins (complete with telescopes for stargazing), thanks to the team behind Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort, Hotel Valley Ho, and the new Mountain Shadows resort. Castle Hot Springs has a hip “digital detox” ethos, i.e.; no tv or wifi signal in the guest room. It also focuses on fresh, local ingredients in Harvest, a restaurant anchored by Chef Christopher Brugman and Agronomist Ian Beger. They welcome guests to collect dinner ingredients at the hotel’s organic farm, which produces over 150 varieties of rare fruits and vegetables. All meals are included in the room rate.