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  • Writer's pictureArizona Contractor & Community


Castle Hot Springs in Morristown, Arizona, is pleased to announce it has been inducted into Historic Hotels of America®, an official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.


Castle Hot Springs is one of more than 300 hotels and resorts throughout the country that is recognized by Historic Hotels of America for preserving and maintaining its historic integrity, architecture, and ambiance.

“Historic Hotels of America is delighted to induct Castle Hot Springs, an all-inclusive luxury wellness resort built in 1896,” said Lawrence P. Horwitz, Executive Vice President of Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. “We commend Castle Hot Springs, Owner Mike Watts, and the leadership team for their careful historic preservation work, stewardship, and vision that will allow future generations of travelers to experience this unique historic destination.”


To be selected for membership in Historic Hotels of America, a hotel must be at least 50 years old; has been designated by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark or listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places; and recognized as having historic significance.

 “We are honored to have Castle Hot Springs recognized as an official member of Historic Hotels of America and to be included amongst the organization’s exclusive repertoire of historic destinations across the nation,” said General Manager Kevin Maguire. “As the first of its kind, the resort has played a pivotal role in shaping the Arizona hospitality industry, laying the foundation for what it has become today. To be able to preserve the history and culture of Castle Hot Springs for generations to come, is something we take great pride in. Our storied past is an aspect we proudly embrace, and this membership only further exemplifies our everlasting commitment to honoring the legacy of our treasured desert oasis.”


Castle Hot Springs was a western retreat of choice in the early 1900s for America’s wealthiest and most prominent families, such as the Cabots, Vanderbilts, Wrigleys, Roosevelts, and Astors. The destination weaves the rich and storied history throughout the resort, culminating in a tranquil desert oasis that encourages visitors to connect with their surroundings and unplug from the outside world.


Retaining the rich history was paramount during the site’s restoration to preserve the cultural integrity and historical significance of the iconic destination resort. Emphasis was then made on creating interiors that brought the grandeur of the surrounding landscape indoors, whilst maintaining cohesion between the past and a uniquely modern Arizona experience. Original paintings and Navajo rugs were curated over a two-year period and used throughout the resort, with the remainder of the art displayed featuring historic marketing pamphlets and photos dating back to early operations. 


At its inception in the late 1800s, owner Thomas Holland started operating the resort as Arizona’s first health retreat for guests who came to the Arizona Territory to “take to the waters” seeking mineral cures and the sought-after Arizona climate. As settlers made their way west, mining magnate Frank Murphy saw the seeds of a new economy born of water, sunshine, and leisure travel that would drive the region toward statehood. Their vision laid the groundwork for Arizona to play host to some of the wealthiest and most influential families of the early 20th century.  


The destination changed ownership many times in subsequent years before finally finding itself in the trusting hands of Mike and Cindy Watts in 2014, who restored the resort to its former glory, adding timeless appeal for today’s discerning guests. One building, the Stone House, was reconstructed using stone from the original building.  The Lodge now housing Bar 1896 and Harvest restaurant was carefully revived as a replica of the administrative building.


Shortly after the re-opening in 2019, the owners executive produced a documentary to showcase and honor the property’s rich history in Arizona, Castle Hot Springs: Oasis of Time by Kristin Atwell Ford, Narrated by Peter Coyote, the film features vintage footage by Cecil B. DeMille and Senator Barry Goldwater; paintings by Maxfield Parrish and Olaf Weighorst; and music by Pearl Django and singing cowboys Gene Autry and Dolan Ellis. Castle Hot Springs: Oasis of Time received the   2020 Emmy® Award for “DOCUMENTARY - HISTORICAL” from the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the prestigious National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.


Castle Hot Springs remains committed to preserving the natural, cultural, and aesthetic legacy of Arizona. 


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