West Baden Springs Hotel in Southern Indiana is a soothing oasis
It’s fitting that the West Baden Springs Hotel, a beautiful domed resort built in 1902 in the style of Europe’s grand spas, sits along an Indiana Historic Pathways route. The roads tell the story of Indiana and the country, beginning with the hoofs of the bison and traveling through time to the wheels of the stagecoach, the tracks made by the railroads and the cars winding through today looking for a historic resort that looks more like Bavaria than America’s crossroads.
Located in the southern part of the state, West Baden Springs’ own history begins in the mid-19th century with a stretch of marshland, a hidden natural spring, and one man’s dream of creating a vacation destination that would eventually eclipse the prestigious French Lick Springs. Resort, built in 1845 and located just one mile up the road.
It’s the story of intense rivalry between two visionary hoteliers, devastating fires, and large-scale renovations and expansions that propelled each resort to national prominence as luxury spa resorts. Both properties have taken advantage of their location amidst the natural mineral springs of the region, promoting the springs for their medicinal value and successfully marketing “healing” water like Pluto (French Lick) and Sprudel (West Baden).
Classic old-world charm
Today, the hotels are part of French Lick Resort, a classic family destination with three golf courses, two spas, and plenty of activities and entertainment to fill a long weekend. While the on-site casino, bowling alley, arcade and children’s activities give French Lick Springs a more vibrant vibe, West Baden Springs is a soothing oasis that retains its old-world charm with European architecture, high-rise towers fairy tale and a brick entrance road that runs alongside the hotel’s formal gardens.
Favorite West Baden Springs pastimes are lounging, dining, sipping cocktails and afternoon tea in the huge atrium, a light and airy gathering space once known as the Pompeian court name, with comfortable, plush seating scattered throughout. It is topped by the clear-span dome, a marvel of steel and glass measuring 195 feet in diameter and 130 feet in height and the reason the hotel was touted as the “Eighth Wonder of the World” when it opened. .
Guests naturally gravitate to this stunning space, where they can see remnants of the terrazzo mosaic floor which, when first installed in 1916, consisted of two million squares of marble, plus a fireplace that looks like a work of art. art and passages that spoke. to various parts of the hotel, including check-in, dining, and the pool and spa.
The hotel’s six floors and their 243 rooms and suites surround the atrium, with around 40 of the inviting retreats featuring balconies that open to incredible views of the dome and all below. Like the atrium itself, the balcony rooms are a perfect nook to kick back and listen to a live piano player as his fingers run through a playlist of familiar melodies each evening.
You can also unwind with a visit to the spa, designed using historic photographs to capture the original layout of the resort’s two-level natatorium. Like the resort itself, the spa combines that Old World sensibility with European elegance to create a tranquil retreat. The spa offers a number of different treatments, including massages, facials, and body scrubs.
Hidden away from the registration area is the library, a hushed place reminiscent of Agatha Christie novels, cognac glasses and hunting dogs dozing by the fire with its plump chairs, dark wood paneling and ladder. classic wheeled bookcase. Another: the museum gallery is tucked away in a hallway on the first floor. This is a history lesson, displayed in display cases and on walls, of West Baden Springs through its hotel decor and tableware, promotional posters and vintage photos.
The West Baden Springs Hotel offers many activities: on-site shopping, historic and horse-drawn carriage tours, strolling through the formal gardens, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and indoor hot tub, access to the fitness center, horseback riding, golf and a variety of scheduled activities and concerts.
It also encourages you to slow down, savor the moment and appreciate all the stories told through the architecture, activities and traditions of one of the most beautiful and historic seaside resorts in the country.
Plan your trips
The AAA Four Diamond West Baden Springs hotel is a National Landmark hotel and a member of Preferred Hotels and Resorts. Its 243 luxury rooms and suites are each individually decorated. The room rate includes a number of complimentary items: valet and self-parking, resort-wide shuttle service, two bottles of water per day, and Wi-Fi/Internet. This is also a pet friendly hotel. Please note that daily housekeeping and evening turndown service are currently suspended.
A trolley, operating seven days a week, transports guests between the West Baden Springs and French Lick Springs hotels. In West Baden, the depot is located next to the gardens; at the French Lick, it’s near the casino.
Information and reservations: 888-936-9360; www.FrenchLick.com/hotels/WestBaden.
The resort offers a number of special packages (see www.FrenchLick.com/hotels/packages for details), including these:
• Mother’s Day (May 7 & 8): Includes overnight accommodation in West Baden Springs on Saturday or Sunday and Mother’s Day Brunch for two in the Atrium on May 8, with gas stations omelets, waffles and cutouts, a fresh seafood bar and more.
• Romance: Includes resort accommodations, red rose upon arrival, bottle of house wine and special welcome gift, plus $105 dining credit at French Lick Resort.
• Happy Birthday: includes resort accommodations, welcome gift, birthday cake, $20 ice cream credit and $75 dining credit.