Saratoga Hot Springs Resort, Wyoming review
Recently my wife and I traveled to Saratoga Hot Springs Resort in Wyoming with a couple of friends for some much-needed rest and relaxation. The Saratoga Hot Springs Resort is a historic location brimming with homey western charm. The property features an on-site restaurant and a pub with plenty of tasty happy hour offerings and craft beers. What we really came for was the 70-foot swimming pool and soaking tubs, all fed by mineral rich natural hot springs. As a visually impaired traveler who uses a guide dog, was the resort easy to navigate, and the amenities easy to find? Let’s talk about it.
Hotel/Resort: Saratoga Hot Springs Resort
Location: Saratoga, Wyoming
The check-in desk is located right inside the main entrance. I was asked if I needed assistance upon entering each time, I found this very refreshing. Navigation to the restaurant and Pub from the front desk was a bit tight and had quite a few obstacles, so I would ask for help the first time navigating the property. There was plenty of room for my guide dog to navigate the environment. Guests can travel from the front desk to the main central outside area (where the hot springs are) but the route is winding and even after spending a few days I still tended to get lost, even with my guide dog leading. We had a poolside room, so after completing the check-in paperwork we moved the car to the back of the resort and used the rear gate entry.
For those with a sensitive sense of smell, the Saratoga Hot Springs Resort offers some challenges. If you have not visited a hot springs before, the air surrounding the entire resort is pungent with sulfur (more on this later) and the sulfur smell persists even after you exit the hot tubs. The minerals are great for your skin, but might be a bit strong for some, requiring a shower after soaking. As this is an older resort, and because of the high levels of humidity around the tubs, the rooms have a distinct musty smell which was intensified with the use of the AC unit.
The Saratoga Hot Springs Resort boasts rustic charm over glitzy modern fare. There are a variety of room choices from a king suite to standard king or queen room and a deluxe double bed room which is where we stayed. Pro tip: book early because the resort was very busy, and rooms were often sold out. The rooms are small, and we found the beds a bit too firm for our liking. This is an older resort, so manage your expectations when visiting. The rooms are musty, and the walls are very thin. If you have sensitive hearing like I do, be aware that you can hear the television and anything else happening in the neighbor’s room. Earplugs are provided and were located on the side table next to the bed. The rooms were very clean.
We found the grounds very well kept at the resort, and it was very easy to find an out of the way place to relieve my guide dog. Trash cans were easily located throughout the central area and by the back gate.
There were a few options when it came to the hot spring fed tubs, a large swimming pool, large communal-style open air hot tubs and several semi-private soaking tubs covered by teepees. Water temperature for the swimming pool was in the low 90-degree range and the soaking tubs were over 100 degrees. The strong sulfur smell usually associated with natural hot springs was not as pronounced compared to other natural hot springs I have visited in Colorado and Wyoming. The springs still had all the minerals and healing benefits, but the subdued sulfur smell was certainly welcome.
The Saratoga Hot Springs Resort has a couple of options for food and drink, a café-style restaurant and a pub/biergarten. We ate breakfast in the restaurant and found the wait staff to be very personable. The food was standard breakfast fare with good portion sizes. We had some appetizers and a couple of drinks for happy hour in the pub. The nachos were good, and we sampled a few of the craft beer offerings which were interesting and had a well-balanced flavor profile. Food was delivered quickly in both establishments and the wait staff was friendly and attentive.
How was the accessibility of the Saratoga Hot Springs Resort from the perspective of a visually impaired guest? I would say average. The walkways in the central portions of the property (where the hot springs and pool are located) range from smooth recently poured concrete to older style uneven walkways. Chairs at the pool were placed precariously close to the edge of the water and posed a tripping hazard. The steps that led down into the covered soaking tubs were uneven but did have a handrail. Some of the steps were higher than others so judging safe entry into some of the tubs was difficult.
Compounding the uneven steps, the minerals in the pool and soaking tubs made the ground in the pool and tubs very slippery. There is little that can be done about this, it is an inherent issue of mineral rich hot spring fed tubs and pools. I only mention it in the event that visitors have not been to this sort of hot spring before.
Rooms were small and easy to navigate with few obstructions or protrusions, at least in the room we stayed in and the few we were able to look at.
The interior spaces of the main building were by far the toughest part of the property to navigate. It is an older resort, and not built for today’s accessible considerations. I had my guide dog, but if I were using a cane to navigate, would be wary of bumping into the large table in the common area and the chairs that were close to the walking paths that led out of the building into the main pool area.
Mobility Restricted Accessibility
While I do not use a wheelchair, I do like to mention accessibility concerns for the properties I visit for those who are mobility restricted. All of the rooms we saw required stairs to access, and were too small to comfortably allow maneuvering a wheelchair in the rooms. Getting into the soaking tubs would also be very difficult as there were no assistance devices available, and the stairs used to access the tubs were uneven and slippery from the minerals in the water. We stayed over a Tuesday at the resort, and found that the slippery-ness of the pool was significantly reduced after the weekly maintenance.
Things to consider
The Saratoga Hot Springs Resort is an older building with thin walls, a consideration for light sleepers or those with sensitive hearing.
The Large pool is closed for weekly maintenance from 7am to 5pm on Tuesdays.
The soaking tubs, including the ones with the Teepees are closed for weekly maintenance on Wednesdays from 7am to 5pm.
The soaking tubs with the teepees were first come first served, we found ourselves hanging out in the communal tubs until one became available.
Robes are available to rent but were very small. I would recommend bringing your own robe.
The minerals in the pool and soaking tubs can damage jewelry, so be sure to take off anything especially if it is plated.
Soaking in mineral rich hot springs have a multitude of healing benefits, and the low sulfur content of the tubs at the Saratoga Hot Springs Resort is a welcome feature and sets them apart from other hot springs. We found the tubs to be of exceptional quality and cleanliness. Guests with visual limitations need to be aware of the fact that this is an older resort but is easily navigated with guide dog or sighted guide. I loved the quaint and rustic feel of the resort, temper your expectations this is not a glitzy hotel, it is a historic getaway with some great hot tubs to relax away the stress of a busy day. We will certainly repeat.
For more information, and to book your stay visit:
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About the author
Ted Tahquechi is a blind photographer, travel influencer, disability advocate and photo educator based in Denver, Colorado. You can see more of Ted’s work at www.tahquechi.com
Ted operates Blind Travels, a travel blog designed specifically to empower blind and visually impaired travelers. https://www.blindtravels.com/
Ted’s body-positive Landscapes of the Body project has been shown all over the world, learn more about this intriguing collection of photographic work at: https://www.bodyscapes.photography/
Questions or comments? Feel free to email Ted at: email@example.com