Ladies and gentlemen may I please have your attention. I would like to introduce you to an oasis in the
middle of Indiana meadows; it has been attracting guests since 1845. Please without any further delay let’s begin to acquaint you with French Lick Resort located in French Lick Township, Orange County Indiana.
The allure began with “miracle waters” from the natural sulphur springs inspiring people to travel over 100 miles back in the 1850’s. The resort has been visited by hundreds of famous individuals including Tony Bennett, Bing Crosby, Elizabeth Taylor, Bob Hope, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and several US Presidents. The Chicago Cubs hosted their spring training here for several years including 1908 which is coincidentally the last time the Cubs won the World Series.
Unfortunately due to economic hardships the hotels had lost their luster; however in 2007 a $500 million project restored both hotels to their glory days and beyond. While the renovation has restored the buildings I think the largest asset the resorts currently have is their staff.
The staff at French Lick Springs and West Baden Springs Resort possess a rare trait of providing the highest quality customer care imaginable which is the cornerstone to their success.
West Baden Springs Resort
I had the pleasure of staying at the West Baden resort this past weekend. The resort greets you with a long cobbled stone driveway where the valet service is ready to assist with your luggage. The valet offers parking services so get ready to say farewell to your beloved car for the duration of your stay. There are shuttles and trains available continuously throughout the day to both resorts, golf courses, casino, sports & exhibit complex, and the stables.
Upon entrance to the hotel you will probably find yourself speechless in the lavish palatial atrium utilizing European architecture. In this breathtaking atrium you marvel at the creation built in 1901 showcasing the world’s largest free-span dome which was dubbed the “Eighth Wonder of the World”.
The hotel rooms are extremely spacious with a wet bar that included a small fridge that was stocked with complimentary bottled water. The bathroom was enormous and nearly the same size as the bedroom with a shower, seperate tub, private enclosed toilet and closet areas.
A daily resort bulletin summarizes key events with upcoming 3 day weather forecast and detailed information on the variety of activities including times, prices, etc. The resorts have over 100 things to do so get ready to have some fun! I would recommend advance reservations for Afternoon Tea with live harp music to relax you during the afternoon. While there are no reservations required the rocking chairs on the patio are pure childhood joy. There is also live jazz music in the library every Friday and Saturday evening which was a splendid surprise.
I would make an appointment at the West Baden Spa to partake in some classic luxury indulgence. The spa offers a variety of services and the hot stone massage will melt away any stress. The spa has won numerous awards including Top 20 List of Top 100 Resort Spas, Condé Nast Traveler. Trust me it is divine!
French Lick Springs Resort
While most of the weekend was spent at West Baden we visited French Lick Springs twice. Historically the only transport option between the two hotels was a train which still operates today on a regular basis. The train station has been modernized providing a GPS map including visual update on current location. The French Lick Resort is designated as a National Trust Historical Hotel of America and has actively operated the current building since 1901.
The front door entrance to the hotel has a lovely patio complete with rocking chairs to enjoy. The hotel lobby is intimate and ornate which encircles you like a warm blanket. You instantly feel comfy and relaxed. The Neoclassical paintings on the ceiling provide a view beyond delight.
French Lick has a casino which includes Vegas-style gaming facility including a non-smoking section! In addition French Lick offers a six-lane bowling alley, game arcade, and a 60,000 sq ft Sports & Exhibit Complex. This hotel has something for everyone.
The outdoor recreation options are limitless including 4 golf courses with impressive golf course awards:
- Pete Dye Course
- Donald Ross Course
- Sultan’s Run Course
- Valley Links Course
- Hiking including 5 miles of trails
- Indoor & Outdoor pools
- Mountain Biking including 6 miles of trails
- Horseback riding
- Bike rentals
- Carriage rides
Ready to go?
This is a resort where you can achieve ultimate relaxation and I recommend spending a few days. Simple and pure bliss. My only regret for the weekend is not leaving Chicago earlier in the day to spend more time at the resort.
Seek your adventure!