West Baden Springs Hotel – French Lick, Indiana


Walk through the doors of French Lick’s West Baden Hotel and it’s not uncommon to stop, drop your bags and pull out your camera!  It’s truly spectacular and was once called the 8th Wonder of the World.

Not to worry that you may have never heard of French Lick Resort or French Lick, Indiana for that matter, you are not alone!

The fact of the matter is that for those of us around the Great Lakes States, including Ontario, who make their annual pilgrimages to the warmer winter golf destinations by car – you are passing one of the finest golf resorts in America’s Heartland located slightly over an hour northwest of Louisville, Kentucky.

Where to begin? The golf of course! There are three courses – two of which are multi-award winners, ranking with some of the finest in the nation, by legendary designers Pete Dye and Donald Ross.  12 restaurants including the elegant 1875: The Steakhouse.

Two hotels nothing short of spectacular remind me of the Hotel California tune, “where you can check out but never leave” – once here, believe me, you do not want to leave!  Did we touch on the award-winning spa here yet?  The casino, conference facilities, and a winery are close by!

Just a wedge away from the resort you will find that in addition to eagles and birdies on the course, the quaint little town of French Lick West Baden was once home to one of the biggest birds of all, NBA superstar Larry Bird.  This little town is loaded with options to wine, dine and shop!

Let’s start with getting rid of any thoughts of French Lick having anything to do with naughty!  The name French Lick came about as the valley in which the resort is situated has an abundance of mineral springs.  The mineral water left a residue of salt on the surrounding rocks which attracted deer and buffalo to lick the salt off the rocks!

The resort is recognized on Conde Nast Traveler’s Golf List as one of the “best places to stay in the world.”  In addition, the Historic Hotels of America have named French Lick as “Best Historic Resort.”

Anything But Ordinary

The West Baden Springs Hotel is an architectural marvel and one of many crown jewels of the resort.  The National Historic Landmark was originally built in 1902 and restored in 2007.   The hotel features six circular stories with rooms and suites that offer views of the spectacular atrium.  The hotel’s atrium was the largest free-span dome until the Houston Astrodome was built in the 1960’s.  Thus dubbed the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”

French Lick Springs Hotel was originally built is 1845 and in the day attracted guests from around the world to experience the “miracle waters” of its nearby sulfur springs.  Renovated in 2006 it now combines the original historic charm with modern conveniences and amenities and, for the gamers – a casino within.  Both hotels offer the absolute for relaxation and rejuvenation with spas named on Conde Nast’s Travelers Top Spas.

The Golf

Pete Dye Course at French Lick

Pete Dye calls this course his “Crown Jewel” built on his best inland site!  Host to the 2015 Senior PGA Championship where it proved to be more than enough for best of the 50 plus.  No surprise that in 2013 Golf Digest named it 17th on its list of America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses with the Donald Ross course making it a daily double!  Just for fun and macho men and PGA professionals, Dye stretched this layout to 8,100 yards making it one of America’s longest courses with one of the highest USGA ratings – 80, and one of the highest slope ratings – 150.

Situated on one of the highest elevation points in Indiana you know that you are in for a day that has more ups and downs than a toilet seat!  From just about any spot on the course, spectacular panoramic views can be seen in every direction.  When your day on the Dye Course is over your foursome is greeted with a nice gift of cigars and Woodford Reserve.  Come find out for yourself…I am now hooked on Woodford!

The Donald Ross Course is just good old fashion golf on a parkland style course originally built in 1917.  Rejuvenated in 1996 and was the site of the 1924 PGA Championship won by Walter Hagen.  Don’t let the views and the rolling hills get the best of you.  You will need to be on your game with the classic Ross greens which are heavily sloped from back to front.

You need to add French Lick to your Bucket List… one resort with two courses that have made it onto Golf Digest’s Top 100 Public Courses in America.

PROS:  Class and comfort. Clean and Spacious rooms. Beautiful views. Fantastic Dining Options. Top notch golf. 

CONS:  Expensive

By Claudio DeMarchi – Traveling Golfer

One thought on “West Baden Springs Hotel – French Lick, Indiana

  • February 14, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    Beautiful hotel, love it there.


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