FRENCH LICK RESORT
French Lick, Ind.
BACKSTORY: Built in 1845 to accommodate people seeking the healing properties of local mineral springs, this Indiana landmark later fell into ruin. In 2005, business mogul Bill Cook spent $500 million to restore the two hotels that now comprise the French Lick Resort. He also built a casino and brought in homeboy Pete Dye to design a golf course.
BEST PLACE TO HANG OUT: On a mild day, there’s no better spot than the porch of the yellow-brick French Lick Springs Hotel, a family-friendly property listed on the National Register of Historic Places. With its rockers and stuffed sofas, the porch is a fine place to idle away the hours to the accompaniment of a live Dixieland band.
ROOM WITH A VIEW: Billed as the “Eighth Wonder of the World” when it opened more than a century ago, the enormous domed atrium at West Baden Springs is something to behold—particularly from the hotel’s interior-facing rooms. Room décor takes its cue from vintage European spa hotels: heavy damask curtains, embroidered silk pillows, antique furnishings.
IDEAL GUEST: The history buff will appreciate this slice of Americana, along with the extensive (and expensive) updates. Then, for the golfer, there’s the Donald Ross Course, site of the 1924 PGA Championship, and the Pete Dye Course, which crowns a treeless summit, affording panoramic 40-mile views across the Hoosier National Forest.