Whether you’re choosing to visit French Lick, Indiana for a golfer’s trip, a wild weekend at the casino or a romantic getaway, there are more options than you can imagine. With two distinctly different hotels within a short trolley ride from one another you will not be limited. I have been fortunate enough to visit French Lick on multiple occasions and was excited to stay at the French Lick Springs Resort where I had never stayed and experienced SOOO much more than just a golfer’s weekend.
The French Lick Resorts Hotel was built in 1845 by Dr. William Bowles with the hopes of allowing people far and wide to experience the “miracle waters” of the natural sulfur springs. The design was a Classic American feel that was elegant but felt comfortable for families to to enjoy. The resort has 443 guest rooms and suites as well heated indoor and outdoor pools, numerous restaurants, bowling alley and arcade and a spa that was added in 1901.
The French Lick Resort was a prominent hotel for over a hundred years and hosted presidents such as Franklin Delano Roosevelt as well as numerous other figures in the Democratic Party due to the ownership of Indianapolis’s Democratic Mayor, Tom Taggart. In November 2006, the resort was refurbished and the new addition of a casino opened.
As I pulled up to the hotel, I was impressed by the size and scope of the hotel but was drawn to the intricate architecture and spacious wrap around porch that adds a quantness that you don’t usually feel in such a large hotel. The long stairway leading up to the front door is lined with a red carpet that makes you feel like royalty as you enter the hotel.
Of the 443 guest rooms there are a variety of options from traditional guest rooms, premium guest rooms, suite guest rooms and specialty suite rooms. The French Lick Resort even has a limited number of Pet Friendly rooms available should you want to bring the family pet along. I was able to have a premium guest room which consisted of 450 square feet elegantly decorated in a sophisticated European feel with a large king size bed. I had a sitting area to relax and watch tv as well as a desk and formal work area. The large bathroom had a huge walk in shower as well as ample vanity space to spread out all of my toiletries. Inside the bedroom where two large windows with a view that overlooked the beautiful gardens below.
Five years later, another doctor by the name of John Lane saw the success of French Lick Springs Hotel and decided to build his own health resort just a short trolley ride one mile up the road and named it Mile Lick Inn. He later changed the name of the hotel, and the town, to West Baden Springs after the famous mineral springs in Wiesbaden, Germany. The West Baden Hotel has a rich history from being a military hospital to a circus. Once called “The Eighth Wonder of the World” the focal point of the hotel is a beautiful atrium that spans 200 feet.
The West Baden Hotel is a mix of Old World charm and modern amenities. The hotel has luxury rooms and suites as well as pet friendly rooms. Much like the French Lick Resort there are also beautiful gardens, amazing architecture and a variety of things to do. The West Baden Hotel is home to a 28,000 square foot spa as well as The Stables at French Lick which is home to 27 horses that have been trained to pull carriages throughout the property. You can choose to take a tour of the stables, enjoy a private carriage ride or partake in many hotel sponsored events such as an evening Hoe Down.
Just as the the French Lick Resort, the West Baden Springs Resort is surrounded by lush gardens and historical lands. Still an important part of the history at West Baden Springs is the Jesuit cemetery which is visible on the hillside just beyond the hotel. This cemetery goes back to the 1930s when the Jesuits purchased the then declining hotel and turned it into a seminary called West Baden College. They removed many of the intricate details and architecture but to this day there are remnants such as the stained glass windows in the atrium to remind of the history.