We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. This helps support what we do and in no way costs you a thing.
When visiting French Lick Southern Indiana for the purpose of covering the Select Traveler Conference, I had time to explore the area and enjoy a large portion of the Historic French Lick Resort. It was fun to discover that there really is luxury in the heart of the Midwest – a facility that has all encompassing entertainment for multi-generational family travel.
Park and Play
The Resort is comprised of 2 historic hotels sitting about 1 mile from one another; French Lick and West Baden (pronounced Bay-den) and it is kind of cool that the Historic Hotels of America named the entire Resort Best Historic Resort in America. This place is totally “park and play”. You park your vehicle in the lot when you arrive and then don’t really have to get back into it until you are leaving. There is a 24 hour complimentary shuttle service that runs between the two properties, so getting between the two properties is no trouble at all. But that is not all – the shuttle service will take you any where you want to in the area! Their friendly drivers make sure you have a number to call for the ride back to the resort after you have had your dinner or museum visit.
West Baden Springs Hotel is a National Landmark that was once referred to as “The Eighth Wonder Of The World” for good reason, the hotels Atrium spans 200 feet that you’ll get to see in all of its splendor. The tiled floor just blew me away – it is from the days where each piece was laid by hand. Now, we have netted sheets to make it so much easier and just look at that ceiling!
French Lick is on the Historic Register
The French Lick Resort is also listed on the National Historic Register as the hotel was established in 1845. While it now renders all of the amenities and comforts of a modern hotel, it is so much more by blending the fascinating history.
The French Lick Resort also offers self guided historical tours leaving you immersed in the more than 170 years of existence and transformation. A man named Dr. William Bowles started it all when he built a three story wooden frame hotel and thrived under other various owners ever since. Dr, Bowles used the abundant mineral springs to his physician advantage as well.
Tom Taggart, then the mayor of Indianapolis, brought innovative direction and with it brought excellent strides in developments like enlarging the east wing which is now the spa, decor, and daily train transportation. Tom bought the property in 1901 along with a small group of investors, The hotel has switched hands 5 times over 60 years until 2005 when the hotel was bought by Cook Group. The benevolent new owners, based in Indiana, then took The French Lick Resort and fully restored to return it back to its splendor as it once was. They helped build the resort, and in turn, the local community as it is the largest employer in the area.
Pride in their work
Having the honors as the largest employer in the area, many local residents are incredibly loyal. Everyone I saw was taking great pride in their work. From the moment Robert checked me in, he remembered my name and referred to it through my 5 day visit. Shuttle drivers taking an extra minute to show you the school Larry Bird went to, or his childhood home. I already talked about the spa experience I had – and then there were people hiding in the background, cleaning and polishing the facility to make the best first impression on any guest. I even saw something that I have never seen at any hotel: hand sanitizer and tissues paired together on almost every community horizontal surface.
An all Encompassing Facility
In the age of all inclusive resorts, The French Lick Resort is the perfect destination for relaxing getaways or your next celebration as an all encompassing facility. With family friendly activities like swimming, biking, hiking, and golfing with free luggage and golf club storage everyone is assured a great experience. The over 400 guest rooms and suites offer amenities like heated indoor and outdoor pools making the resort enjoyable all year round, and the complimentary WiFi with speeds fast enough to keep up with a video chat or checking business emails.
Take a little time out to smell the flowers in the gardens between activities or meetings, get your blood moving with walking and jogging trails, or visit the riding stables and see the beauties that await.I already shared how that shuttle service will take you any where else in the community you want, free of charge. They really have a great community relationship to showcase the Hoosier Hospitality that Indiana is known for. It is easy to see why people have flocked here for years to relax, unplug, and escape their normal routine for a bit. They have an impressive collection of photos from past presidents to Hollywood icons on their walls of fame.
Delectable food at every turn
The hotel offers the choice of casual dining or fine dining for each night of your stay. I have had amazing food at hotel restaurant or hotel catering functions, but rarely at both. Having dined at Ballard’s at the West Baden Hotel of the resort and taken many meals from the conference schedule, the foodie in me was constantly blown away. From the ripest fresh fruit at breakfast to the most tasty southern pulled pork and cornbread meal, they nailed it at every bite with taste, texture, presentation and service.
Add it to your travels
The next time you plan to visit Southern Indiana, add the French Lick Resort to your agenda. You can let the kids explore through the KidFest area or play on the playground. The forward thinking French Lick Resort has two charging stations making the hotel electric car friendly for Tesla’s and other electric cars. Given advance notice the hotel is also pet friendly so you can bring the entire family along…seriously, they think of every little detail you could possible need, before you even think of them!
Check out these other fun things in the area we talked about: