Faith and Robert Kraemer are the owners and innkeepers of Hilltop Manor Bed & Breakfast in Hot Springs, AR. Besides operating an inn with incredible history, Faith serves superb gourmet breakfasts each morning. The five-room Craftsman style B&B was built in 1890 and beautifully restored in 2005. It sits on over 5 acres of land that border the National Park Forest. Read on for an interview we had with Faith about what makes Hilltop Manor unique and why the city of Hot Springs has so much to offer.
1. What do you enjoy most about being an innkeeper?
There is no doubt in my mind that it is our guests. When we chose to open the inn I thought it would be no commute, choosing my own schedule, working for myself, etc. But now that I have been an innkeeper I realize that by far I continue to do so because we have incredible guests. I love to hear where they’ve traveled and lived, what their special occasion may be, and I am honored when they retell their experience at Hilltop Manor to others through a review. It feels great to know that you’ve been able to make someone else’s day a little easier.
2. How long have you been an innkeeper?
Hilltop Manor is my first inn, and I opened it from scratch in November 2005. So the time has flown, and I now have over five years of innkeeping to my name.
3. What sets your B&B apart from others?
This is easy; it is the history at Hilltop Manor that no one can recreate and my food. Hilltop Manor is ensconced by the National Park Forest and the property has hidden gems of the spring house, barn, retail shop, stone horse trough and yards and yards of stone wall that creates a feeling you’ve step back in time.
4. What is your inn’s history?
Hilltop Manor was built in the Craftsman style in 1890 by a bachelor named Mose Klyman. Mose lived in Hot Springs during the time that the gangsters ran the city. He was involved in gambling and was even said to have Al Capone over to the property to gamble when the officials weren’t cooperating. Before Mose purchased the property, it was used as a dairy farm. It is said during the 1870s that Jesse James hid in the barn to get away from the cops during one of his stagecoach robberies.
5. What makes your town worth visiting—are there any interesting local attractions or activities?
Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas is a great place to visit. First of all, we are a city and a National Park wrapped into one; needless to say we have miles of hiking trails for you to explore at all different levels. Historic bathhouse row can’t be missed; there are still eight original bathhouses situated in the historic downtown waiting for you to enjoy them. The Fordyce is a city museum, the Ozark is a contemporary art museum, the Quapaw was completely renovated and now offers mainstream spa services but also the soak in the Thermal Pools of Hot Springs Mineral Water that the city is named for. The Buckstaff is the only bathhouse that has been continuously running since 1912 and still performs the bathing experience much as they did back then. Garvan Woodland Gardens is also a place that can’t be missed, with gorgeous botanical gardens and an incredible holiday lighting display with over 1.8 million lights. Oaklawn Park is another gem that has entertained guests for over 100 years, offering live horse racing January-April and simulcast racing plus a casino year round. We also have several lakes closeby for boating, swimming, fishing and relaxing. Add the convention center, hilarious St. Patrick’s Day Parade, documentary film festival, and music festivals of all kinds, plus great restaurants, and you have a place that you shouldn’t miss.
6. Do you have any food specialties?
Breakfast is always an event at Hilltop Manor, but I believe our most requested item is our French vanilla crème with triple berries on top. I believe in a making breakfast recipes that are a notch up from basic--for example, instead of scrambled eggs, I will make a frittata. Instead of an omelet, I will make a quiche with escalloped pineapples and Chambord strata. The items are just a step up from the basics, so you still feel comfortable with the food. Recipes are created from scratch each morning with the best ingredients; this changes my meal from breakfast to an event.
7. Do you have any special offers coming up?
We always have specials coming up. A great one for a cozy winter retreat is our “Roasting & Toasting Marshmallows and Our Love at Hilltop Manor” special. Enjoy delightful, delectable s’mores! You will be served a tray which includes all you need to make s’mores in your private suite by the fireplace. There is no better way to relax into the evening than with chocolate dripping off your fingers and a special person by your side. This package includes a complimentary bottle of chilled champagne, wine, or non-alcoholic sparkling cider. Based on a two-night stay in the deluxe suite of your choice (based on availability) with two-person Jacuzzi, elegantly plated breakfast and afternoon snack each day. Restrictions may apply. Expires February 10, 2011. Call 501-625-7829 to book.