Soaking in Gangster History at Hilltop Manor Bed & Breakfast

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Hilltop Manor Bed & Breakfast Review: Updated 11.20.2017

Gangsters once stayed at Hilltop Manor Bed & Breakfast.
Gangsters once stayed at Hilltop Manor Bed & Breakfast.

On a visit to Hot Springs, Arkansas, one activity you don’t want to miss is a soak in the famous hot springs mineral waters. But to completely immerse in Hot Springs’ history, stay at Hilltop Manor Bed & Breakfast, a member of Select Registry, Distinguished Inns of North America.

The craftsman style bed and breakfast sits on a hill on the outskirts of Hot Springs. Built in the 1890’s, Hilltop Manor includes 5 working fireplaces. The dining room chandelier and sconces were purchased by owners Mose and Billie Klyman on their Asian honeymoon around 100 years ago.

Supposedly, Al Capone and his gangster buddies socialized at Hilltop Manor, appreciating the six doors on the first floor that led to a quick getaway in case the law came calling. It’s also rumored that Capone enjoyed The Elms Hotel in Excelsior Springs, Missouri.

Breakfast with a garden view at Hilltop Manor Bed & Breakfast
On our last day, we had a sunny day for our breakfast with a garden view.

When Alan and I spent two rainy days in May at Hilltop Manor, the deep front porch was our pleasant escape. We enjoyed decadent breakfasts on the porch that included Hilltop Manor’s Triple Berry Cream, Scottish scones, quiche and cream brûlée french toast (that was just the first morning). And, as always, I appreciated the free wireless internet that reached all the way to that lovely front porch.

In the afternoons, Alan and I returned from our boomer travel adventures in time to sample the 4:00 p.m. snack hour. Innkeeper, Faith Kraemer, tempted us with homemade baked goods like homemade truffles or cheesecake bars and a choice of wine, beer, tea or soft drinks. Can you guess where we enjoyed these sweet treats? Right—that fabulous front porch.

Oak Suite at Hilltop Manor Bed & Breakfast
Oak Suite at Hilltop Manor Bed & Breakfast

Our accommodations in the Oak Suite included everything a jaded mobster would appreciate. A leather chaise rested in front of the rock fireplace while a whirlpool tub in the corner of the room provided another chance for a good soak.

But with grounds landscaped into lush, green lawns, waterfalls and flowers, it was hard to stay inside. Once the rain stopped, Alan and I roamed the back lawn looking for the stone spring house and the barn where it’s rumored that Jesse James and his gang hid out during their Hot Springs illegal activities.

Of course, we had to try the mineral hot springs that make Hot Springs, Arkansas the only town in the U.S. that is also a national park. At Quapaw Baths and Spa, Alan and I moved from one hot soaking pool to an even hotter one, taking a break occasionally to lounge in comfortable chaises. Later, we window shopped at antique stores along Central Avenue.

Even the fountains steam in Hot Springs, Arkansas
Even the fountains steam in Hot Springs

Hot Springs offers many dining choices. We followed Faith Kraemer’s advice to try Bohemia Restaurant and we weren’t disappointed. Alan raved about his baby veal dish while I enjoyed herb chicken over couscous. On the second night of our visit, southwestern food ruled the night at Colorado Grill and Bar. Oh, did I mention the margaritas?

The next time we stay at Hilltop Manor, we’ll be sure to arrive during horse racing season, January to April, for the action at Oaklawn Horse Racing. Or maybe we’ll come back to Hot Springs in the summer for jet boating around one of the area’s many lakes. And, of course, we won’t want to miss hiking several of the 26 trails in Hot Springs National Park.

Have you visited Hot Springs, Arkansas? Join the conversation at the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook or send us an email to ask a question or share your experience.

Disclosure: This travel experience was provided by Hilltop Manor Bed & Breakfast and Select Registry, Distinguished Inns of America. And affiliate links are included for your convenience. However My Itchy Travel Feet receives a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you. Thanks!

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