With 6 million tourists visiting Hot Springs each year, 3 million of those being overnight visitors, it’s no surprise that tourism is the No. 1 industry in our city.
Festivals, a theme park, the lakes, the shop- ping, the night life, the bath houses and the restaurants — there’s no shortage of things to do here, especially during summertime, especially for women looking to revitalize and feel renewed.
Since 2005, one of the most popular stops for stressed-out visitors has been Chrysalis Day Spa.
Owner Cathy Caver discovered her interest and love for skin care at the age of 25 and completed the Esthetician program two years later. In 2005, she opened a 5,000-square-foot facility offering all aspects of spa services at 4332 Central Ave. in Temperance Hill Square.
Dim lighting, tranquil music and a trickling waterfall welcome guests upon entering the spa, an atmosphere perfect for a day of rejuvenation.
In addition to a full-service salon, massages, body and facial treatments, nail treatments, waxing, permanent cosmetics, microblading, lash and brow and skin care treatments are just some of the services offered at Chrysalis.
A second Chrysalis location is currently under construction and is expected to open in historic downtown Hot Springs in the next few months.
“I’ve always wanted a second location, especially downtown because lots of the bed-and-breakfasts are kind of wanting us to come downtown and there’s really no full service that does everything we do downtown,” said Cathy. “I love the feel of downtown and I wanted to purchase a building and actually have something that my children can inherit because they want to get into the business. My oldest one,
especially, she’s starting to realize she kind of wants to follow in mom’s footsteps.”
Both of her daughters, Alexis Blade, 19, and Gabrielle Blade, 13, plan to help out at the new location.
In addition to all of the services offered at the first location, the second location will also serve as a medical spa, Cathy said, incorporating more medical services such as lasers, injectables and other treatments that doctors can offer. The second location will also feature a blowout bar for hair up-dos and blowouts instead of a full service salon.
Cathy also plans to open a wine bar next door to the second spa location and plans to name it Splash Wine Bar.
“It’s right beside the spa, at 325 Ouachita, because I actually purchased three buildings. It’s going to be a wine bar like they have in the big cities,” she added.
She recently returned from Scottsdale, Ariz., where she was certified in laser and micro needling and plans to incorporate those treatments into her menu at the new location.
Call 520-5400 or visit http://www.chrysalisdayspa.com to learn more.
After recharging for the day at Chrysalis, what would be more perfect than a shopping spree at one of Hot Springs’ shopping venues? The downtown historic district is full of quaint stores and boutiques, including Just Swanky Consignment Boutique at 340-A Ouachita Ave.
The need to have a yard sale is how owner Jamie Scott came to open Just Swanky in October of 2009.
“Before I opened this I was a stay-at-home-mom. My mom and I needed to have a yard sale, and it was really hot that summer, so we partnered up and said, ‘Hey, why don’t we just open up a store?’ It’s been growing ever since and here I am,” she said. “We just needed some- where to put our things. We had nice things, I had nice stuff,
kid’s stuff, she had her stuff — we just had this nice stuff and we said ‘what can we do with it?’ So we opened up a consignment business.”
A consignment shop provides customers with a place to display and sell their merchandise. Jamie decides what items she thinks will sell, and after the sale has been completed the customer receives a 40 percent commission from the item.
“Everything in here is on consignment. They have 90 days to sell it; anything that doesn’t sell, they can always come back and pick it up, so there’s really no loss,” Jamie said.
“Anything you can wear in some form or fashion” is what Jamie said she accepts at Just Swanky, such as clothes, shoes, purses, jewelry and accessories.
“We take seasonal items, so right now we’re taking swimsuits. In the holiday time we take lots of cocktail dresses. We don’t take any lingerie — it’s all used merchandise so that’s a big no-no,” she added.
Jamie said every day is “like Christmas” for her at the store because she never knows what kind of items will be brought in.
“You don’t know what it’s going to be or what sizes. You come in a consignment store and there’s one of each piece so you buy something out of here, chances are nobody else is going to have it, nobody else is going to be wearing it that weekend. I really love what I do,” she said.
Just Swanky is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.
A full day of shopping will most likely strike up a major appetite, and Hot Springs has a wide variety of dining options.
South Texas native Diana Bratton says that, because of the large family she grew up with, food was always part of her life and attending cooking school was always in the back of her mind.
Diana said her family has been in Texas for generations, back when the state was still part of Mexico.
“So the roots are deep there,” she said. “My mom made the best, most amazing flour tortillas I’ve ever had in my life and there’s only been one place that I’ve eaten with my husband in Texas where I said, ‘These are the closest to my mom’s tortillas.’ We started toying with the idea of a restaurant, ‘What are we going to name this, let’s do a Mexican restaurant,’ and my mom had already passed away so I said, ‘How about a little homage to my mother?’”
Diana opened her Mexican restaurant eight and a half years ago and
named it Taco Mama in honor of her mother.
A different, fresh approach to Mexican food is what she says keeps her customers coming back.
“I just have a different approach — our secret is just a fresh approach to Mexican food, very handmade, not a whole lot of canned anything. We make all our beans from scratch; they’re not canned.
We make our own tortillas. We use a local bakery for burger buns. It’s just very in depth with what we do to make it taste good,” said Diana.
According to Diana, Taco Mama’s fish tacos and the Mexican Green Chile Cheeseburger are both huge sellers. On the drink side it’s the margaritas, made with mixer from scratch from fresh squeezed juices, and the fresh hibiscus tea punch, made daily.
The restaurant features live music some Fridays, at least a couple times a month, and Diana said she also does a lot of catering.
Anything on the menu can be catered, “or, I can customize a menu for them,” Diana said. “Like the weekend before last, I did a wedding for 300 and then this past Saturday I did one for 200, so the catering is just growing and growing. I guess just because people that are kind of budget-minded on what they can spend, their only options have really been like barbecue and so this has been a good option; a lot of people love Mexican food.”
Another service offered at Taco Mama, Diana said, is, with notice, if a customer is having a birthday or special event, she will take orders for special desserts.
“I am a trained chef and I also like to bake as well, so if they’d give me a few days notice then I can make it happen,” she said.
Taco Mama is located at 1209 Malvern Ave. and is open from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and closed on Sundays. Reservations are recommended, especially on weekends.