We had a chance to connect with Adriane Barnes, to talk about the beautiful Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa. If your family is looking for an outdoors experience in a beautiful setting Mountain Harbor has you covered. Read on for some great insights on popular activities at the resort, the array of area attractions and where the best place to stay in the resort is.
Adriane’s Favorite Thing To Do
Head to Micah’s Point and catch a lake sunset. Micah’s Point is a lovely lake vista over in our Harbor North area.
Adriane’s Favorite Place to Stay
I would stay in C18. C18 is a loft cottage with a King suite downstairs and a cozy loft upstairs and queen bed. A large deck and hot tub are outside, and a fully-equipped kitchen and wonderfully decorated living room are inside.
Get To Know Mountain Harbor Spa & Resort
How long has Mountain Harbor Spa been around? How did it start?
Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa has been proudly family owned and operated for more than 57 years now. It was begun by Hal Barnes, carried on by his son Bill Barnes (our current owner), and one day his son Chris Barnes will continue in the tradition. The resort comprises 950 acres of pristine Ouachita wilderness – all nestled against native lake shoreline. The crystal-infused waters, surrounding islands, and wildlife are all fairly untouched, as the U.S. Corps of Engineers protects most of the area from any kind of development. The same excellent customer service standards introduced by Hal Barnes all those years ago is continued in the day-to-day training and service of all of the Harbor Crew. It’s really a home to staff, more so than anything else … guests enjoy an informal environment with top-notch staff, care, attention to detail, and wilderness beauty.
What are the most popular activities on the resort?
The resort offers an array of activities for guests of all ages. Horseback riding through the Ouachita Mountains on hour-long trail rides is a “must.” The Mountain Harbor Marina is an award-winning facility with a 1,000 square foot floating patio, a full bait shop and ships store, a fleet of rental boats including party barges, ski boats and a fishing vessel, and professional fishing guides.
Just across from the Marina is Ocean’s Extreme Dive Shop and Dreamchaser Houseboats and Water Toys – offering scuba diving gear and lessons for Lake Ouachita, luxury houseboats, jet skis, tubes, and more!
Also on property is the renowned Turtle Cove Spa – recognized as a top spa in the Nation for three years in a row now. Turtle Cove Spa offers unique treatments and therapies that are infused with resources natural to the area – like the Crystal Energy Balance Therapy, which uses polished crystals, collected right here in Montgomery County to balance the seven energy centers of the body. Turtle Cove Spa offers an array of massages, facials, holistic therapies, custom-made body scrubs, a full salon, brow tinting and waxing services, and wonderful staff that are professionally trained to create a serene, relaxing experience of your spa time. Packages, bundled offerings for weddings and large groups, and constantly new offerings are all part of Turtle Cove Spa’s presence at Mountain Harbor.
Guests also enjoy nearby hiking and biking trails; three property swimming pools (open May-September each year); the Lodge Restaurant – offering lake view dining for all ages and appetites – including steaks, burgers, wraps, spuds, seafood, pasta, breakfast buffets, a kid’s menu, and more; the world’s only floating Subway restaurant at the Marina (open Memorial Day – Labor Day each year), tennis courts, basketball courts, and a volleyball net, a playground and child’s wading pool, and lovely surrounding wilderness.
Where is Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa located? What are some other attractions in the area worth checking out?
Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa is 25 miles west of Hot Springs on Hwy 270, and 12 short miles east of Mount Ida. (994 Mountain Harbor Road
Mount Ida, Arkansas 71957)
Montgomery County is the quartz crystal capitol of the world. The most local attraction are the nearby quartz crystal mines. Families can travel only 10 minutes from property to be part of harvesting these crystals that are completely unique to the area – and contain a special “energy” that has fascinated adventurers for centuries!
Just down the road in Hot Springs – Bathhouse Row and the historic Hot Springs National Park area in downtown has a wonderful array of historic activity and southern charm for sightseeing. The Mountain Tower, Gangster Museum, a collection of restored bathhouses and spas, Wax Museum, Aquarium, Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo, mini golf and go-carts, Oaklawn Gaming and Racing, Magic Springs Theme Park, Garvan Woodland Gardens, the Hot Springs Convention Center, two movie theaters, a mall and whole host of boutiques – are all right there in Hot Springs for the family, or couple to enjoy.
Also only an hour away is the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro – one of the only diamond mines in the world where guests can actually dig for and find diamonds and precious stones. Finally, Mountain Harbor is only 1 ½ hours from Little Rock, the state capitol of Arkansas and ALL of the nightlife and excitement there – and a short 1 ½ from Fort Smith, Arkansas, as well!
Which one of those is your favorite?
Crystal mining and seeing the lake via party barge are my two favorite activities. The mining is such a unique, exciting endeavor that puts you right in the middle of Montgomery County Wilderness – and allows you to participate in something that people have enjoyed for centuries! You always come home with something, and it’s just a little mystical – which whether or not you’re a mystic, you have to enjoy.
The party barge rides are wonderful, too, because Lake Ouachita has hundreds of islands to explore! You can choose to simply sunbathe, or get out and hike at each corner of the lake.
As a female – I do have to admit, too, that I would more or less live at Turtle Cove Spa if time allowed. It’s absolutely wonderful. I’ve never had a treatment there that wasn’t 100% excellent.
What type of lodging does the resort have? Is there any place for a campfire?
Mountain Harbor Resort offers lake view guest rooms, poolside cabanas, a newly remodeled vintage inn experience at the Joplin Inn – with a house and ten rooms, signature lakeside luxury cottages, cozy condominiums, and a small collection of houses … all of which are meant to make guests feel absolutely at “home” while on our shores. There are many, many places for campfires on property – and all cottages and condos boast large native-stone wood-burning fireplaces, so that you can bring the outdoors inside if you choose! Mountain Harbor Resort does offer RV spots, it’s also neighbors with the Joplin Campground, which is U.S. Corps of Engineers Campground, accessible from the Harbor North area. From almost any of our lodging accommodations, a fire ring is close by and accessible to guests.
If you could only spend one hour in the resort, what would you do?
I would head to Micah’s Point and catch a lake sunset. Micah’s Point is a lovely lake vista over in our Harbor North area, near our signature lake view luxury cottages. Many couples have taken vows there, many more have stopped there for a romantic moment, a family photo, or a moment of serene quiet. It’s one of the best places to experience the lake, its shoreline, and the skyline all at once from a high peak overlooking a wide expanse of water and wilderness.
If you could spend just 1 night in Mountain Harbor Resort, which cabin would you choose – and why?
I would stay in C18. C18 is a loft cottage with a King suite downstairs and a cozy loft upstairs and queen bed. A large deck and hot tub are outside, and a fully-equipped kitchen and wonderfully decorated living room are inside. C18, in my humble opinion, has the most private and larger-than-life lakeview. It’s tucked down at the end of Harbor North and when you stay there, and build a fire in that large living room, and snuggle up to your honey – you feel like you’re in another world all to yourself. That’s all part of the Mountain Harbor experience … feeling a lifetime away, with all the comforts of home right there are your fingertips. Order a wonderful steak, potato, fresh salad, sweet tea hot roll, and peanut butter pie from the Restaurant, arrange for a couple’s massage at Turtle Cove Spa for the morning after, have a party barge ready for an afternoon lake trip, and reserve LOTs of back deck time for sitting in one of the giant rocking chairs, soaking in the huge hot tub, and stealing some lake serenity.