An Arizona time capsule is set to reopen this year.
North of the Carefree Highway, down a primitive dirt road, you'll find Arizona’s very first luxury resort tucked away in the middle of nowhere.
Opened in 1896, Castle Hot Springs served everyone from exhausted gold and silver miners to tuberculosis patients. And that was all before welcoming the wealthiest families in the country, who arrived by stagecoach.
“You had families like the Vanderbilts, the Roosevelts, the Cabots and the Lodges," said Steven Sampson with Westroc Hospitality.
Even the Rockefellers, Carnegies, Wrigleys and presidents Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover all soaked in the healing waters.
“Right after World World II, they converted this into a rehabilitation hospital for wounded veterans," said Sampson.
John F. Kennedy spent three months at the resort rehab center in 1945.
A fire claimed the main Palm Hotel in 1976, but the original administration building still stands and houses an old telephone booth, which reportedly had the phone with Arizona’s first telephone number, Castle 1, for territory governor Nathan Oaks Murphy.
Journey up the mountain, past hundreds of palm trees and saguaros, and you’ll discover the original hot springs swimming pools that guests enjoyed for 80 years. At the top, you'll stumble upon the genesis of the hot springs.
“Underneath us is a 10,000 foot cistern in the ground," said Sampson.
The water comes out at 120 degrees and cools down as it heads back down the mountain. Soon, you will once again be able to enjoy this natural wonder.
“We put the shovel in the ground two years ago and we are restoring it to it’s original grandeur," said Sampson.
The 210 acre property will feature all of the original hot springs pools along with 32 new individual cottages.
“What makes these cottages special is you have plumbing coming directly from the hot springs, so you can flip a spigot and that water will come out of the hot spring and into an oversized tub and you’ll be able to soak under the stars at night," said Sampson.
The resort will feature a new restaurant and bar, a man-made lake, a wedding venue and a long list of activities for guests to take part in throughout the day and night.
Another cool feature is an old laundry building turned brewery.
“That pure mineral spring water will be used to make our very own Lithium Lager," said Sampson.
The revitalized historic Castle Hot Springs Resort is set to open October 2018.
“This thing is a legacy, being a ghost town the way it was and all of the sudden rising from the ashes and being rebuilt, it’s very special for a lot of people who have lived here a long time," said Sampson.
For more information and to make a future reservation, visit www.castlehotsprings.com.