Making a splash at Lithia Springs

The couple known for reviving the Ashland Springs Hotel downtown have bought a majority share in the Lithia Springs Resort on Ashland's northern outskirts.

Doug and Becky Neuman, who bought a 75 percent share of Lithia Springs, are in the midst of remodeling the sprawling property that includes a hotel, lounge, dining room, cottages and 4 acres of gardens and ponds.

The resort has remained open during the remodeling, which should be complete by May, said Becky Neuman.

The Neumans bought the shuttered Ashland Springs Hotel in 1998 and reopened it in 2000 after a major remodel using an early 20th-century European theme. They also bought and remodeled the Lake of the Woods Resort between Ashland and Klamath Falls, although they later sold that property.

The Lithia Springs Resort, near Exit 19 past a row of car dealerships outside town, features suites and cottages with hot mineral water Jacuzzi tubs. The exit number in this story has been corrected.

Becky Neuman said the remodeled resort will have a fresh, modern feel that she calls "cozy chic." At the same time, the resort will emphasize the history of mineral waters in the Ashland area.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Ashland attracted visitors by promoting the healing properties of mineral water found in the area. Also popular was Ashland's Chautauqua series of lectures and entertainment, a precursor to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

"This property is so special in Oregon because of its mineral springs," Becky Neuman said of the Lithia Springs Resort. "People came to Ashland at the turn of the century for the curative waters and the Chautauqua lecture series. It's such a thrill to be a part of this property. We'll be celebrating these waters in a new time. You'll want to see great theater, but you'll also want to partake of the waters."

For the remodel, Becky Neuman said she is buying furniture from Terra Firma, which has a furniture store in Medford. She also has teamed with Rogue Valley design duo Jennifer Bright and Laurel Walter of Twist Design, who have been featured in Country Living magazine and other publications.

Ashland Springs General Manager Don Anway said 17 of Lithia Springs' 26 cottages are being completely remodeled. Signs that direct people to the resort will be improved, he said.

He said the resort will complement the Ashland Springs Hotel.

"The way we look at it, it will be our sister property. If people want the close, convenient, downtown experience, we'll promote the Ashland Springs Hotel. If they want the country experience, we'll promote Lithia Springs," Anway said.

He said the Ashland Springs Hotel already hosts numerous weddings and has an English-style garden, but the large garden spaces at the Lithia Springs Resort will provide ample outdoor wedding space.

The Lithia Springs Resort will continue to offer fresh, hot breakfasts, but the Larks Home Kitchen Cuisine restaurant at the base of the Ashland Springs Hotel will cater events at the resort, Anway said.

The Neumans also own the Waterstone Spa & Salon across First Street from the hotel, and Anway said Lithia Springs guests will be encouraged to use the spa's services.

He said bookings at Lithia Springs have been steady, but the north Ashland resort has huge potential for doing more business.

"The staffing has remained the same. We're hoping as we grow the occupancy that we can grow the staffing," Anway said.

Doug Neuman said he did not have an exact figure on the cost to buy a 75 percent stake in Lithia Springs. He said the cost was about $2 million and the deal also involved property transfers.

Lithia Springs founder Duane Smith retains a 25 percent stake in the property, Anway said.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or

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