Courtesy French Lick Resort
Published April 01, 2017
Nestled among the central hardwoods of Hoosier National Forest, French Lick Resort encompasses two properties, the French Lick Springs Hotel, with 443 rooms, and the West Baden Springs Hotel, with 243 rooms. The history of French Lick Resort reads like a rubble-to-riches story: The hotel rose from piles of ash and debris on more than one occasion before becoming what is now known as one of the top-rated resorts in Indiana. Multiple fires and economic hardships have tried to dampen the resort’s resolve over the past century, during which the West Baden Springs Hotel was once sold for $1, but the spirit of the property has always prevailed.
The French Lick Springs Hotel first opened in 1845, when physician William Bowles constructed a three-story, wood-framed hotel that would act as the home base for his patients who came to the area to soak in the healing waters of French Lick’s sulfur springs. Noting the success of the hotel, another doctor, John Lane, decided to build his own health resort one mile away, just five years after Bowles’ hotel opened.
The two hotels operated separately until 2005 when Indiana Landmarks, the largest nonprofit preservation group in the nation, partnered with philanthropists Bill and Gayle Cook to make a permanent, positive impact by breathing new life into the properties and polishing them up as to be the crown jewels they had always been at their core.
After a $560 million renovation, the resort now boasts two nationally historic hotels, four challenging golf courses with 63 playable holes of golf, two rejuvenating spas, more than a dozen dining facilities, a state of the art casino with Vegas-style gambling and more than 163,000 square feet of flexible meeting space. The meeting and event center at the resort debuted its own $20 million renovation in 2015; it featured 38 meeting rooms, among them boardrooms, conference rooms and large-scale ballrooms.
Whether it’s an industry conference, a private party, a charity event or an executive golf retreat, events and meetings at French Lick Resort are planned with precision, passion and a lot of personality.
French Link Resort features more than 163,000 square feet of flexible meeting space spread throughout 38 rooms and spaces of varying sizes. At the French Link Springs Hotel, the spaces include the Exhibition Center, with up to 200 booths; the Hoosier Ballroom, for up to 2,260 guests; the Windsor Ballroom, for up to 1,568 guests; the Clifton Ballroom, for up to 700 guests; and 18 breakout rooms. The West Baden Springs Hotel features 11 meeting spaces, including the Atrium, maximum 3,000 guests; the Hotel Lobby, the Veranda and the West Baden, maximum 200 guests each; the EB Rhodes, maximum 180 guests; the Caddy Sinclair, maximum 75 guests; the Dolly Ballard, maximum 70 guests; the Oliver Wescott and the Lillian, maximum 48 guests each; the Harrison Albright, the Caldwell and Drake, maximum 12 guests each.
French Lick Resort is a golfer’s paradise, with three challenging golf courses designed by what can only be referred to as the perfect trifecta of prolific course designers: Pete Dye, Donald Ross and Tom Bendelow. Golfers from all over the world travel to southern Indiana for the chance to play the rolling hills that make up these stunning and challenging courses. The courses include the Pete Dye Course, established in 2009 with 18 holes; the Donald Ross Course, established in 1917 with 18 holes; Valley Links, established in 1907 with nine holes; and Sultan’s Run, established 1992 with 18 holes.
Each event held at the French Lick Resort comes with a dedicated conference concierge who can help arrange custom menus tailored to match the occasion. The culinary team in charge of catering offers menu options that range from gourmet French cuisine to hearty Amish dishes for all meals throughout the day. Along with healthful wraps, deli sandwiches and an assortment of freshly baked breakfast pastries, the resort offers an eclectic menu with international options, including Vietnamese meatball skewers, German bratwurst steeped in beer and onions, Caribbean spiny lobster, Italian chicken bruschetta, Thai chicken spring rolls with sweet chili sauce and Mexican three cheese enchiladas. Alcohol is available.
Fun at French Lick
Along with complimentary shuttle service to and from all resort venues, the resort also offers comprehensive event planning where the events team can arrange for a variety of group experiences or team-building activities. Favorite group options include culinary challenges such as company chili cook-offs and cooking classes, wacky Olympics, geocaching and Roaring ’20s murder-mystery parties held after a day of meetings. The resort’s casino and award-winning spas act as a playground for adults before and after events, but for the younger guests ages 6 to 12, KidsFest is the place to be, with its exciting and educational events supervised by trained counselors.
French Lick Resort
Location: French Lick, Indiana
Size: 686 rooms
Meeting Space: 163,000 square feet of flexible space
Access: The resort is one hour from Louisville International Airport, one and a half hours from Evansville Regional Airport and two hours from Indianapolis International Airport.