When you think of Arkansas as an avid traveler, the first thing that comes to mind probably isn’t luxury spa treatments. Since we were already planning to spend time in Hot Springs Arkansas, which has a rich historical past and boasts an entire drag dedicated to thermal water bathhouses and spas, we learned about the Mountain Harbor Resort and Turtle Cove Spa from locals, roughly an hour and a half leisurely drive away.
For nature lovers who also like to dip their toe in luxury from time-to-time, this is the perfect oasis to spend time on your alone for pure relaxation, as a romantic getaway or with your family — they cater to all three.
The spa itself sits on one side of the massive property and is surrounded by luscious forest and a gigantic lake where you can boat or swim. It has its own parking and entrance area, which is a lovely blend of rustic and luxury combined. Depending on the season, you could be greeted with flowering trees as well, as you walk through its welcoming entryway that is coated with green ivy.
Here, they have thought of everything to make you relax — from the serene sitting room that is loaded with peaceful reads, Buddha quotes and calming rocks, to the gift shop and the outside porch and patio which delivers stunning views of the lake below. You can sit on the outdoor terrace and meditate to the lake’s tranquility while breathing in the clean Arkansas mountain air.
It was pure heaven. Remember that Ouachita National Forest covers 1.8 million acres in central Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma, which is vast and glorious, with plenty of natural surroundings for hikes, camping or a stay at a luxurious resort. Mountain Harbor Resort makes such a perfect choice as it is remotely shut off, so much so you feel as you’re days away from urban life, not hours.
To get to the resort and spa, you need to drive down a long dirt road off the main drag and it’s easy to get lost if you don’t pay attention to the turns and curves or if it’s your first time. It’s also worth noting that Turtle Cove Spa offers Lake Ouachita’s only lakeside spa experience. Surrounded by the crystal-infused waters of Lake Ouachita, the wide array of spa treatments include massages, facials, body treatments, crystal energy work and holistic therapies, spa pedicures and manicures, and a full-service salon.
I was surprised to get a therapist who was so savvy about skin and body work – I left feeling not just rejuvenated but smarter about healing and self care than when I walked in and I’ve been to many a’ spa over the years.
Because of its natural location, you not only feel renewed from the treatment itself but have a unique opportunity to reconnect with nature, which only accelerates and deepens your connection with yourself and the earth around you. They offer great romantic packages as well as options for groups (think weddings, reunions or family retreats).
Inside the spa and relaxation area….
Staying at the lodge is a natural oasis all in itself. Their rustic lodge area with lake view cabins, lake side guest rooms and economy houses seems to have drawn families for decades – I learned through a little digging that some families have been returning to the resort for their summer vacations for four or five generations.
You can choose a guestroom, cabana, suite, or more rustic cottage and opt for more basic amenities or something a little more exclusive. And, either way you turn, the views are stunning and the nature bountiful.
The restaurant, swimming pool, wading pool, courtyard area, playground, laundromat, office, launching ramp and marina are all within walking distance and it’s worth noting that as remote as it is, wireless internet is available in all of their Lodge units, the restaurant and public areas.
For those of you who grew up around mountain lakes rather than the ocean like I did, you’ll feel at home right away. And, that Arkansas sky gets mighty beautiful at night as well.
Two thumbs up! We would definitely return – our own regret is that we didn’t have more time to explore the area, take long hikes and just sit and gaze at the lake for days on end.
Mountain Harbor Resort
994 Mountain Harbor Road
Mt Ida, AR 71957
Note: we were hosted during our stay but all opinions expressed are entirely my own.
Photo credits: unless otherwise noted by the watermark, photos are courtesy of Harbor Mountain Resort and Turtle Cove Spa – all others Renee Blodgett.