The Kah-Nee-Ta Hot Springs Resort in Warm Springs is undergoing renovation and a “reimagining.” The geothermally heated pools are being upgraded with new features designed to enhance the visitor experience.
“How do we take something that was great and make it better?” asked Jim Souers, CEO of the Warm Springs Economic Develop Corporation.
Souers is leading the $4.5 million dollar investment into the venerable resort that opened in 1962 and closed in 2018.
“The pools were gone. We couldn’t re-use them. We had to do something different.”
In the footprint of the original Olympic size pool, seven pools are taking shape.
“This is the recreational piece: A lazy river and then a pool inside of it. There will be a volleyball net, a basketball net in the corner. The pool on the left, that’s a zero entry pool for children. Pool engineers said for kids, you let them walk in and experience it at the level they want to experience that. There will be play features in that.”
There’s also three natural, mineral-enriched hot springs soaking pools with temperatures ranging from 92 to 103 degrees. One side of the pool deck will be lined with cabanas for shade, furnished with couches and lounge chairs.
The project is behind schedule due to a severe thunderstorm in May that damaged buildings with powerful winds, gravel size hail and 5 inches of rain in about an hour.
“We are sitting under a 2,500-pound cabana, all solid wood structure. It took three of these and just threw them 30 or 40 feet. It destroyed three others. Blew out four or five 60-foot trees. Just tore them out of the ground or snapped them in half. We were fortunate no one was on site when it happened,” Souers said.
With a renewed focus on the therapeutic benefits of mineral-rich hot springs, plans are to offer 20-private soaking tubs overlooking the Warm Springs River.
“You’ll be able to sit in your own hot spring soaking tub. You are looking down on the river, hearing the river, seeing the river. In the evening, you’re looking out seeing the stars. That’s another way we are going to add the hot spring reimagined experience to the resort.”
The 30 room motel has been remodeled. There’s a new RV park clubhouse with showers and laundry facilities, a new bar and restaurant under construction, but some of the family favorites, teepee camping and mini golf, remain.
Kah-Nee-Ta plans a soft opening this year for lodging-only customers. A grand opening is planned next spring.
“We can’t say exactly when. The storm slowed work down.”