Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort's Astral Spa is the only four-star spa in the state, according to the newest Forbes Travel Guide, which was released Wednesday, and the resort's hotel is one of just two in the state with a recommended rating by the guide.
Louis Cella, Oaklawn's president, said the ratings are "quite special."
"We wanted to create something that Hot Springs could be so proud and the state could be so proud and our tourism community could be so proud, because no one else has it, and I'll be darned if we became a four-star -- just by the way, two points shy of five star -- in the spa and recommended for the hotel," he said.
"I think only the Capital (Hotel in Little Rock) has the recommendation (rating) for the hotel, but more importantly, no other venue has a four-star spa, despite calling themselves resorts and spas. We're the only one, and isn't that great for not just Oaklawn but for Hot Springs and our community to boast that."
Forbes Travel Guide, which touts itself as "the only independent, global rating system for luxury hotels, restaurants, spas and ocean cruises," said more than 2,000 properties worldwide are on the 66th annual list. Astral Spa is one of just 201 four-star rated spas worldwide with Oaklawn Hotel joining the list of 503 with the recommended rating.
"This year's Star Awards reflects the forecasted surge in demand for more thrilling travel experiences," Amanda Frasier, president of Ratings for Forbes Travel Guide, said in a news release.
"They are delivering at the very top of their game and reimagining the future of luxury across design, dining and well-being. Our 2024 winners include more special places to visit across the Middle East and Africa, with a record number of list additions for the region. We commend all the 2024 winners for continuing to deliver a fresh new guest experience."