A 126-year-old wellness resort hidden within saguaro-lined mountains an hour northwest of Phoenix has again been named the best hotel in Arizona.
Castle Hot Springs was named the No. 1 resort hotel in Arizona in Travel + Leisure’s 2022 World’s Best Awards.
This is the second consecutive year Castle Hot Springs received this honor. The top resorts were selected based on feedback from readers of Travel + Leisure, America’s largest travel media brand.
Castle Hot Springs was also recognized earlier this year in the magazine’s annual T+L 500 list, a ranking of the 500 best hotels worldwide.
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The history of Castle Hot Springs
First opened in 1896, Castle Hot Springs is an exclusive 1,100-acre wellness retreat that edges along the Bradshaw Mountains.
In its early days, it was a retreat for wealthy families like the Cabots, Vanderbilts, Wrigleys, Roosevelts and Astors. John F. Kennedy stayed there in the 1940s before he became president, during the time when the resort treated veterans wounded in World War II.
As the resort’s name suggests, its primary draw is the mineral-rich geothermal hot springs. People can bathe in a pool close to the springs’ source with water temperatures near 106 degrees, or in two pools away from the source where the waters are cooler.
Castle Hot Springs closed in December 1976 after a fire, but was resurrected in the 2010s with the help of new ownership and a multibillion-dollar renovation.
Since reopening, Castle Hot Springs has maintained a sense of exclusivity with just 30 rooms plus amenities that include fine dining at the Harvest Restaurant and an organic garden.
Rates start at $1,500 per night and include meals, service charges and many activities.
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What to expect at Castle Hot Springs
For a property on the National Register of Historic Places, Castle Hot Springs has plenty of new to go with the old.
Yoga, meditation and UTV tours are just a few experiences for guests that weren’t part of the resort’s first life.
In 2020, Castle Hot Springs added a via ferrata climbing route. A via ferrata, Italian for iron path, is a mountain climbing route that uses fixed anchors like cables, chains and ladders to secure climbers on the path.
Castle Hot Springs remains the only place in Arizona with a via ferrata route. Only resort guests can use it.
Two different climbs are available, a moderate two-hour experience along the Sonoran Aerial Walkway and a more advanced three-hour experience scaling Castle Peak. Climbers receive a fitted harness and helmet, climbing pack, water and snacks, and help from an experienced guide.
But not all modern comforts are here. None of the rooms have televisions, which is designed to encourage social interaction.
Other Arizona resorts recognized
Castle Hot Springs is not alone in winning acclaim for Arizona’s resorts.
In its 2022 Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best rankings, TripAdvisor listed three Arizona hotels in its list of the best mountain lodges and resorts in the U.S.: Adobe Grand Villas in Sedona at No. 3, White Stallion Ranch in Tucson at No. 6, and the Inn Above Oak Creek in Sedona at No. 13.
TripAdvisor also ranked the Canyon Suites at the Phoenician No. 16 in its list of America’s top luxury hotels.
U.S. News & World Report listed several Phoenix resorts in its ranking of the top hotels for 2022. These included Sanctuary Camelback Mountain at No. 30 and the Phoenician at No. 51.
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