Mistakenly overlooked by many travellers to the U.S., Arkansas is a state that surprises and delights those who do venture there. Nicknamed “The Natural State”, and with good reason, Arkansas is an outdoor wonderland for those looking to explore. From hiking to white-water rafting, beautiful natural hot-springs and diamond mining fields, when you the Mid-South’s hidden gem, you’ll find plenty to keep you outside and entertained.
From luxury cabins surrounded by nature to stylish city resorts, Arkansas offers a great range of accommodation for everyone.
Here’s our pick of the best resorts Arkansas:
1. Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa
Family owned and operated, the award-winning Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa sits under the sweeping Hickory Nut Mountain on the banks of Lake Ouachita.
With comfortable and luxurious cabins, each featuring impressive lake views, and an extensive range of resort facilities which include rental boats, a delicious Lodge Restaurant and no less than three swimming pools, couples and families can enjoy days exploring the natural surroundings before returning to their cosy accommodation.
Outdoor lovers can choose from scenic hiking and biking trails, and the nearby town of Mount Ida – famous for being the Quartz Crystal Capital of the world – is a short drive away.
2. Lake Forest Luxury Log Cabins
Lake Forest Luxury Log Cabins, set amongst 14 acres of woodland in the Ozark Mountains, are one of the best options in Arkansas for a relaxing and fun escape from the noise of daily life.
Located near beautiful Beaver Lake, the cabins feature a traditional rustic exterior and a luxurious, warm interior, making them the perfect place to unwind at the end of a busy day of exploring – with nearby activities including horse riding, boating, fishing and more.
Take advantage of the wood burning fire in winter, make the most of the jacuzzi on warmer nights and take a dip in the resort’s well-sized outdoor swimming pool.
3. Little Rock Marriott
Stylish city stays are easy at the Little Rock Marriott, situated in the heart of Downtown Little Rock. Whether travelling for business or pleasure, the Little Rock Marriott offers guests the chance to experience the best of the city right on their doorstep, with the knowledge that they can return to the comfort of their sleek room or suite at the end of the day.
Those mixing work with pleasure will like the well-designed work spaces and free high speed Wi-Fi, and foodies will love the onsite dining options, with the new-concept Heritage Grille Steak and Fin Restaurant.
4. Wyndham Resort at Fairfield Bay
Relax in low-key style at the Wyndham Resort on the banks of picturesque Greers Ferry Lake, in Fairfield Bay. This resort has everything you could possibly need for a fun-filled family vacation, with outdoor recreation activities on your rustic, Ozark Mountain-themed, accommodation’s doorstep.
If you feel staying closer to your home-away-from-home, Wyndham Resort at Fairfield Bay has an extensive list of onsite facilities, including no less than eight swimming pools (four of which are specifically for children) as well as tennis, basketball, mini golf, volleyball and shuffleboard.
5. Lookout Point Lakeside Inn
For a touch of old-world romance in Arkansas, look no further than dreamy Lookout Point Lakeside Inn. Located in Hot Springs, and surrounded by the beautiful Ouachita Mountains, with breathtaking views over the bay of Lake Hamilton.
This charming inn promises to provide a “sanctuary for both body and soul”, and with private whirlpools, cosy fireplaces, waterfalls and hammocks, you’ll find it’s easy to relax and rejuvenate here.
Expect big, hearty breakfasts – which can be served in-room or on the patio next to the soothing sound of the waterfall – and don’t forget to pop along to the “Innkeepers Reception” in the afternoon, where you’ll find daily doses of freshly made desserts and complimentary wine or tea.
6. 21c Museum Hotel
Voted the No.1 “Hot New Hotel in The United States” by TripAdvisor, the 21c Museum Hotel in Bentonville is part luxury hotel, part art gallery and part hip restaurant.
But you won’t even need to visit the on-site gallery (although you definitely should) to feel like you are experiencing the artistic side of the resort – each individual room is its own luxurious, but completely comfortable, masterpiece. With high ceilings, cool custom-designed furniture and Malin + Goetz toiletries, leaving is easier said than done.
One thing that might tempt guests to leave the comfort of their rooms is the on-site restaurant – The Hive. Helmed by executive chef and winner of FOOD + WINE “The People’s Best New Chef Midwest”, Matthew McClure, The Hive offers up some of the finest culinary fare in the you can find in the State.
7. Clarion Resort on The Lake
You’ll find yourself at the centre of all the Hot Springs action when you choose to stay at the Clarion Resort on The Lake. Situated on Lake Hamilton, and surrounded by the beautiful scenery of the Ouachita Mountains, it would be easy to think that an outdoor pool, excellent on-site restaurant and guaranteed lake-view rooms is where the appeal of the Clarion ends.
But the resort is also the perfect place to base yourself for exploring the vast sightseeing opportunities and activities in the local Hot Springs area. Amongst others, you can easily reach the Oaklawn Racing and Gaming, Magic Springs Theme Park, Hot Springs National Park and the National Park Aquarium, and return to the resort for some well-earned rest and relaxation at the end of the day.
8. The Cinnamon Valley
Get back to nature, in the tranquil Ozark Mountains, at The Cinnamon Valley Resort. With nine luxury cabins, all individually named and styled, and each boasting spectacular views of the surrounding scenery, you’ll find it easy to unwind at this Arkansas resort.
The traditional style, rustic cabins might have a touch of the tree-house about them from the outside, but inside, it’s 100% luxury. Private settings, wood-burning fires and exclusive hot tubs are just some of the decadent touches you’ll find in this stunning resort.
9. Sugar Ridge Resort
Ideally located between the natural scenic beauty of Beaver Lake and the historic town of Eureka Springs, Sugar Ridge Resort is one of Arkansas’s best romantic resort settings.
Sugar Ridge boasts over 75 acres of land – with walking, hiking and access to the lake – and in the evening, guests can enjoy watching the sunset over Beaver Lake, from the jacuzzi of their luxury cabin. Book one of the in-room massages for a truly relaxing experience.
Wildlife enthusiasts will love the opportunity to see some of the state’s favourite animals up close, from spotting racons to a variety of birds, including the Bald Eagle.
10. The Burgundy Hotel
Stylish, modern accommodation, with excellent on-site facilities, have made West Little Rock’s first boutique hotel – The Burgundy – an extremely popular choice with both business and leisure travellers.
As well as being located near all of the main attractions and businesses in Little Rock, The Burgundy has become something of a culinary destination, thanks to on-site restaurant Table 28. Book a table or choose to have some of Table 28’s delicious menu options delivered directly to your room.
If you feel like you may have overindulged, you can make use of the hotel’s on-site fitness suite or enjoy a complimentary one-day pass to 10 Fitness – Little Rock’s premier fitness facility.
11. Whispering Hills Cabins
Escape to a world of peace and seclusion at the Whispering Hills Cabins, located on the banks of Beaver Lake. Simple, cosy cabins and incredible lake-side views make this the perfect getaway from everyday life, and little luxuries – such as oversized beds and Jacuzzis – guarantee you’ll go home feeling completed relaxed and rejuvenated.
If you decide to leave the warmth of your wood-burning fire and venture outside into the stunning surrounding scenery, choose from a wide range of activities to get your blood pumping, including fishing, boating, hiking and swimming.
12. Arlington Resort, Hotel & Spa
Proudly promoting their position as the largest hotel in all of Arkansas, the Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa has been welcoming guests to their traditional resort since it first opened in 1875.
Inside, the lavishly decorated lobby, Venetian Dining Room and Grand Ballroom throwback to the glamorous days of old-world luxury travel.
Many famous faces have stayed at the Arlington over the years, and for guests looking for a room with an special touch of history, you can book into one of the “Historic Suites”, such as the Ronald Reagan Suite and the Al Capone Suite.
13. The Lodge at Mount Magazine
Located on the south bluff of Mount Magazine and offering incredible, sweeping views of the Petit Jean River Valley below, The Lodge at Mount Magazine is one of the best resorts in Arkansas from which to enjoy both sunrises and sunsets.
Each luxury cabin not only includes an indoor hut tub but a deck, from which you’ll have a bird-eye view of the surrounding scenery, with the spectacular Blue Mountain in the distance.
It’s not only the cabins which offer incredible views – the aptly named “Skycrest Restaurant” is perfectly positioned to create the perfect backdrop for a delicious, classic Southern meal.
14. DeGray Lake Resort State Park
Nestled amongst the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains, and spread out across over 13,000 acres of land, the DeGray Lake Resort State Park is Arkansas’s only resort state park. DeGray Lake is one of the area’s five “Diamond Lakes”, renowned for their beautiful, crystal clear water and the wide selection of water-based activities.
The resort itself is world-class, with just under 100 guest rooms featuring every mod-con you could possibly need for a relaxing stay. Additional extras include an outdoor heated pool, bike hire and gift shop, as well as the resort’s onsite restaurant – The Shoreline.
15. Grand Central Hotel & Spa
For a truly historic resort stay, check into Eureka Springs’ Grand Central Hotel & Spa. Originally built in 1880 as the town’s stagecoach terminal, the property was almost completely destroyed during a fire – later to be rebuilt as Eureka Springs’ first fire-resistant building.
Today, the Hotel & Spa combines its rich history and Victorian-décor rooms with modern amenities – such as hot tubs and flat screen TVs – and a deep love of excellent customer service. If you’re hungry for more than just history, the hotel restaurant – The Grand Taverne – serves up some of the finest local produce in the state.