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Interior Design by HBG Design.

Astral Spa inspired by Roaring 20s opens in historic Hot Springs National Park


Celebrated as one of America’s most popular spa destinations, Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas has gained a new spa and wellness destination.

The new 8,000 sq ft Astral Spa has opened at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort and has been designed with a nostalgic ambience inspired by the city’s past and Oaklawn’s history of thoroughbred horse racing.

Hot Springs National Park is known for its 47 natural thermal springs and history of bathing, showcased by Bathhouse Row, a high street turned tourist hotspot with eight original bathhouses from the 19th- and 20th-centuries.

“Our vision was to create a unique spa experience that regional guests have never seen before,” says Oaklawn president Louis Cella, whose family has owned and operated the resort for over 100 years. “With multiple amenities, the spa offers a throwback vibe with modern luxury.”

Marrying crisp modern lines with historical overtures, Astral Spa’s design was led by HBG Design and WTS International. Spa consultant and operator WTS International also developed the spa’s treatment menu and is operating the spa.

“Relaxing in the lounges, we want our guests to imagine what Hot Springs was like in the Roaring 20s yet be in contemporary comfort,” adds Cella.

The guest journey begins in a reception area complete with an illuminated quartz crystal wall designed to reference the area’s history of crystal mining.

The spa then splits into separate female and male spas each with distinct parlours, changing rooms and thermal lounges featuring vintage-inspired 360-degree vintage-inspired needle showers.

Both areas are equipped with contrast bathing circuits where guests can cycle through steamrooms, infrared saunas, ice lounges, vitality pools and thermal lounge areas.

Guests can also relax in the open air at either the spa’s new outdoor pool with cabanas or outdoor event lawn.

The offering is rounded out with a 750 sq ft salon and a co-ed lounge with upholstered chaise lounges and a Himalayan salt wall. A fitness center equipped with LifeTime Fitness equipment is also on offer.

“Leading the design of The Astral Spa has been a career highlight, having grown up in a small town about 20 minutes from Oaklawn,” says Landon Shockey, IIDA, NCIDQ, lead interior designer at HBG Design. “I remember touring Bathhouse Row when I was younger and being absolutely intrigued by those grand spa spaces. To be able to return to Hot Springs and work with Louis and Rochelle Cella to create a modern-day bathhouse spa was a dream come true.

Thoughtful design, attention to detail and visual sophistication – these are the drivers of today’s experiential luxury, and that’s what the team achieved in the Astral Spa’s design,” says Emily Marshall, IIDA, NCIDQ, principal and interior design director at HBG Design.

“It’s less about opulence and more about wellness and the way a space makes the guest feel, with more authentic, locally-inspired design features and smart design touches.

Click to see more about Astral Spa at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort.