Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs, AR: Step Inside the Hotel that Presidents Couldn’t Resist

A Glimpse into the Past

The Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa, a great institution in the heart of Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas, is more than just a hotel. It’s a vibrant chronicle reflecting the city’s dynamic history and evolution.

Opening its doors in 1875, the original Arlington Hotel was a pioneering luxury establishment financed by Samuel W. Fordyce and two other entrepreneurs. However, This first structure was short-lived, succumbing to the changing times and the city’s growing reputation as a premier vacation spot.

In 1893, a new structure, aptly named the ‘New Arlington,’ emerged from the ashes of the old. This Spanish Renaissance architectural marvel boasted 300 rooms spread over four stories, making it a beacon of opulence and grandeur.

Yet, fate had other plans. On April 5, 1923, an inferno erupted, reducing the New Arlington to rubble and causing a loss estimated at $1.6 million, a massive sum for the era. The destruction did not dampen the city’s spirit.

A third iteration of the Arlington was designed by Mann and Stern in 1924, positioned at the corner of Central Avenue and Fountain Street. With its imposing Spanish-Colonial Revival style, this third Arlington became a key Hot Springs landmark, overshadowing the bustling ‘Bathhouse Row’ and the newly established Arlington Park.

Celebrity Footprints and Historical Significance

The Arlington Hotel‘s allure transcended boundaries and social echelons. In the 1930s, it became a favorite retreat for the infamous mob boss, Al Capone, who often booked room 443. He even went to rent out an entire floor for his entourage.

Capone was not the only notable guest. The hotel’s guest register boasts signatures of U.S. Presidents like Harry Truman, Franklin Roosevelt, George H.W. Bush, and native son Bill Clinton.

Luminaries from music and sports like Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Babe Ruth, and Yoko Ono have also enjoyed the hotel’s hospitality.

But it wasn’t just the guest list that was noteworthy. The hotel’s commitment to luxury and elegance earned it a spot in Charles Cutter’s 1892 Guide Book as “the most elegant and complete hotel in America.”

The Lobby Bar, with its old-world charm and inviting atmosphere, even made it to Esquire Magazine’s list of the best bars in America.

Whispers of the Supernatural

Tales of spectral apparitions and paranormal activity are woven into the fabric of Arlington’s rich history. Some consider it one of the most haunted buildings in Bathhouse Row. Over the years, guests have reported eerie occurrences that send shivers.

Room 667, previously known as Room 666, is said to be haunted by a guest who tragically ended their lives in the mid-1950s. Personal belongings mysteriously moving around have been reported in Room 824.

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But perhaps the most bone-chilling tale is that of the piano at the hotel’s lobby bar, known to play by itself when the clock strikes midnight.

The Arlington Remembered

The story of the Arlington Hotel is far from over. Today, the iconic institution continues to evolve, adapting to the needs of modern travelers while preserving its historical charm.

The Arlington Hotel, with its storied history and enduring spirit, is a testament to the city’s resilience and commitment to preserving its heritage. From its origins in the late 19th century to its rise as a prominent vacation spot for the rich and famous, the hotel has left an indelible mark on the cultural fabric of Hot Springs National Park.

Its walls have witnessed grand celebrations, famous visitors, and otherworldly occurrences. Yet, it has stood the test of time, embracing change without losing its essence. Each renovation, each new chapter in its history, only adds to the richness of its narrative.

As the Arlington Hotel gears up for the future, it symbolizes the city’s past and present. This beloved icon inspires nostalgia and anticipation in equal measure. Arlington Hotel is a timeless landmark that continues to shine brightly in the heart of Hot Springs, Arkansas.

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