On September 3rd, 2020, Arizona’s iconic Castle Hot Springs––the state’s first luxury resort, established in 1896––reopened its doors to adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers. As domestic travel continues to gather steam amongst Americans looking for safe and reenergizing getaways, the team at Castle Hot Springs welcomes back guests to their historic boutique resort offering wellness, adventure, culinary, and agricultural experiences.
Recently named to Conde Nast Traveler’s coveted 2020 Hot List, Castle Hot Springs is an all-inclusive oasis comprised of 30 standalone bungalows and cabins amidst an1,100-acre property in the heart of the Sonoran Desert and Bradshaw Mountains. The resort embodies the best of The Great Outdoors––majestic nature, secluded destination, restorative meditation, and golden tranquility.
During the past several months, Castle Hot Springs has been hard at work to unveil new programming and activities that will further enhance the guest experience, including Arizona’s first Via Ferrata cable climbing course, hot springs stand-up paddleboard yoga, additional hiking trails, new archery practice area, new tasting menus, and food preservation techniques by the culinary team, and an enhanced Farm program that now includes a blooming floral garden and an agave farm intended for distilled spirit production.
A WEALTH OF HEALTH
At the center of the property stand the eponymous thermal hot springs––naturally forged into the land over 13,000 years ago––that have long made Castle Hot Springs a restorative ground for visitors. Beginning with the Native Americans who journeyed to the mineral-rich hot springs for medicinal purposes, and eventually becoming the winter retreat of choice for America’s Titans of Industry as well as presidents and dignitaries, Castle Hot Springs has been a wellness destination for many.
A RENEWED GREAT OUTDOORS EXPERIENCE
An exciting new addition this fall is the new state-of-the-art Via Ferrata adventure course––a protected climbing routethat provides an alternative to rock climbing, requiring less technical skills. The Via Ferrata experience, which will be available to guests at an additional cost, is overseen by expert guides all along the way and comes in both easy and challenging climbing options blended with breathtaking hikes––and, of course, plenty of historical and fun facts dictated by the guides along the way.
The Via Ferrata (Italian for ‘Iron Way’) enhancement is an apropos addition to Castle Hot Springs’ suite of activities not only for its outdoors element, but also for its allure with history buffs. Originally founded in the Italian/Swiss Alps, the first iteration of the suspended aerial walkway was developed during WWI to get both soldiers and equipment into strategic positions in the mountains.
By the 1990s, popularity for the mountaineering-like expedition grew significantly amongst recreationists and eventually matured to its own established mountain activity, with specialized equipment, grading, and systems.
The Castle Hot Springs Via Ferrata experience will be offered for groups of 2-4 guests via three routes varying in difficulty, including The Castle Creek Aerial Walkway (pricing available upon request).
For the more laidback adventurer, the resort will unveil new Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga classes, which will take place atop one of the hot springs’ three thermal pools, making for a truly rare experience.
Guests can also choose from a variety of other activities including an expanded selection of guided hikes; horseback riding amongst the resort’s rugged Sonoran Desert terrain; training in archery; flexing their green thumbs by meeting and learning from the resort’s resident ‘Flavor Farmers.’
A NEW CHAPTER FOR THE FARM AT CASTLE HOT SPRINGS
As a new chapter blooming in their story, the Castle Hot Springs’ agricultural team––also known as the ‘Flavor Farmers’ as they emphasize growing crops for flavor rather than size and yield––led by Resident Agronomist Ian Beger, are enhancing their current program to encompass the cultivation of heartier produce such as broccoli and cauliflower, the planting of a new agave farm will be used for spirits, syrups, soaps, and even bug spray, as well as a new floral garden.
The flower program––which is based on a sustainable approach and closed-loop system known as the slow flower movement––will be cultivated within less than one square mile, and be experienced through guided tours of the garden, custom in-room flower arrangements, exquisite dishes, and beverages, and signature massage treatments.
When not growing blossoms, the Flavor Farmers, comprised of native Arizonans, are busily tending to the resort’s one-acre organic farm and greenhouse where they grow more than 500 varieties of rare and indigenous fruits, vegetables, herbs, and florals (and more than 30 types of heirloom tomatoes alone) annually.
DESERT HARVEST IN FULL (CULINARY) BLOOM
In perfect alignment with the agricultural team, Castle Hot Springs’ Executive Chef Christopher Brugman, melds the farm team’s labor of love with masterful culinary precision to oversee the culinary & beverage programs at the resort’s restaurant––Harvest. He quite literally embraces the restaurant’s moniker by creating daily rotating menus based on the farm’s yield.
This Fall, Chef will debut new five-course tasting menus––including vegetarian culinary journeys––featuring locally sourced meats, handmade pastas, fresh seafood, and the finest produce from Castle Hot Springs’ farm and greenhouse. A few of his signature items include Onion Ash-Dusted Beef Ribeye and Roasted Cornish Game Hens lacquered with Mesquite Honey and Saguaro Fruit Stuffed with a Bouquet of Garden Herbs.
As part of an expansion on Chef’s fermentation and preservation program that sees the culinary team experimenting with the farm’s produce in new ways––from an extensive Spice Den and homemade jams to pickling and sauces––Harvest will introduce a new freeze-drying program that helps extend ingredients (e.g. berries, melons, beets – to name a few), while adding compelling textures and complex flavors to dishes.
Yet another distinctive offering, Harvest also offers the Castle Hot Springs Lithium Lager made exclusively for the resort, utilizing properties from the heart of the land’s hot springs. A refreshing way to imbibe under the desert sunshine.
A serene adult getaway (ages 16 and up only) accessible via helicopter or automobile, Castle Hot Springs is conveniently located just an hour’s drive from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport yet remains a perfectly remote hideaway for those seeking to disconnect in a crowd-free environment. Nightly rates at Castle Hot Springs start from USD $900 inclusive of meals and activities for two.