For several decades starting in 1896, a remote Arizona resort located about 50 miles north of Phoenix played host to a steady stream of well-to-do vacationers, including Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, Roosevelts, and other Gilded Age muckety-mucks.
They were drawn to Castle Hot Springs for the seclusion, sunny weather, Southwestern pursuits like horseback riding, and the supposed restorative properties of the same natural hot springs that had once made the area a healing site for Native Americans.
(Undated photo, courtesy of Castle Hot Springs Resort)
As a matter of fact, the resort was also a healing site for future president John F. Kennedy, who stayed here for three months in the 1940s alongside other military veterans recuperating from World War II.
The popularity of Castle Hot Springs took a dip in the '50s and '60s. Then a huge fire in 1976 destroyed the once-grand main lodge and the place became a ghost town.
But this October Castle Hot Springs is, well, springing back to life.
Acquired by a group of local investors in 2014 and now managed by luxury specialists Westroc Hospitality, the property is getting a big, expensive restoration designed to pay tribute to the resort's past while bringing it into the 21st century.
The original buildings that are still standing have their classic look back, with lots of yellow clapboarding on the outside and dark-wood Mission furnishings indoors. (The interior of a surviving three-bedroom bungalow is pictured at the top of this post.)
Spacious new cottages with patios are sprinkled along a spring-fed creek. Other additions in the works include organic vegetable gardens and a brewery.
The 200,000 gallons of mineral water pumped out each day by the hot springs will be as central a focus as ever, filling the swimming pool, hot tubs at many of the cottages, and a manmade lake.
Another holdover from the past: room rates that only a Vanderbilt could afford. According to the Arizona Republic, a stay at the new Castle Hot Springs will cost around $800 to $1,500 per night.