French Lick, Indiana, is most famous for being the birthplace of NBA legend Larry Bird, but it’s also famous for one of its landmarks as well, the French Lick Springs Hotel. The original French Lick Springs Hotel dates back to 1845.
This is not a part of the country that would tend to attract tourists, being located in the Indiana countryside in the middle of nowhere essentially, and even today, French Lick has a population of less than 2000 people.
Aside from the salt lick which the town was named after, it also had a sulphur spring and that was the reason why the resort was built and why a lot of people came here to benefit from the reputed health benefits of this. The resort was a big success in fact, and was quickly rebuilt after it burned down in 1897, and this time on a much grander scale.
In the early 20th century, French Lick’s resort spa also attracted some casinos, attracting such famous guests as boxer Joe Louis and gangster Al Capone. The original casinos eventually were shut down although the resort remained.
The French Lick Resort not only includes the French Lick Springs Hotel, but also the West Baden Springs Hotel, a mile down the road in the neighboring town of West Baden, Indiana. It was built in 1902, another resort capitalizing on the sulphur springs in the area.
At one time, the West Baden Springs hotel held the title of the largest freestanding dome in the world, and is recognized as a national historical landmark.
The casino at French Lick opened in 2006, and at the time the license required that it be over water, so a small pond was built and the casino area of the resort was floated on a raft. After Indiana gaming regulations changed and no longer required this, the moat around the casino was filled in and this became Indiana’s first land based casino.
The resort features three championship golf courses, the first of which was designed in 1917 by famed golf course designer Donald Ross. It hosted the 1924 PGA Championship and several other championships since. This course, like the resort itself, is well steeped in history.
A second course was added in 2009, this one designed by a leading course designer as well, Pete Dye, and has hosted the 2015 Senior PGA Championship. Sultan’s Run offers players a third championship course on the property to experience.
There is also a fourth course on site, the 9 hole Valley Links, conveniently located adjacent to the casino and hotel at French Lick.
The resort is owned by Orange County Holdings, a company set up by the Cook Group of Bloomington, Indiana, a leader in the manufacture of medical devices.
The French Lick Resort Experience
The French Lick Resort bills itself as the Midwest’s premier resort destination, and they do have an AAA four diamond award to boast about as well as being named the best historic hotel by USA Today. These are historic hotels indeed, but they have been well renovated and have remained a very popular destination for travelers for 170 years now.
The French Lick Springs Hotel offers guests 443 rooms and suites, and has been ranked as the number 5 hotel in Indiana. Guests can choose between a traditional or premium guest room, with a long list of amenities, including a coffee machine and an ironing board with iron, with the premium room providing a little more space.
Suites are also available, which are even larger and feature even more amenities. Pet friendly rooms are also offered, and they also have accommodations for RVs, as well as charging stations for electric cars.
The West Baden Springs Hotel has 243 rooms and suites, focused more on luxury, and this hotel was once called the eighth wonder of the world. The casino is located at the French Lick hotel, but there is free trolley service between them.
Guests can choose from several room options as well as several suites, and the accommodations here are even nicer and more luxurious. Both of these hotels feature a décor true to the historical nature of this hotel, what it would have been like to stay here many years ago.
There are three fine dining restaurants here, The Steakhouse at the French Lick Springs Hotel, and Sinclair’s and Table One at the West Baden Springs Hotel.
For more casual dining, there are a total of 11 different options at the hotel and golf courses, with a good variety of selections. The Power Plant Bar and Grill and the West Baden Atrium also offer live entertainment and concerts, as well as an entertainment lounge off of the casino.
This complex is most known for its spas, and there is a spa at each venue, and both are highly rated and offer a full selection of spa treatments.
The golf here is another big feature of this resort, and the four golf courses that they offer guests here will delight any golfer.
The list of activities here is a long one, with pools, tennis, basketball, bowling, an arcade, hiking and biking, stables, carriage rides, and historical tours available.
The Casino At French Lick
The casino here is modestly sized at 51,000 square feet, but they do pack a lot of gaming into this space, and there is more than enough here to satisfy any casino gambler.
The casino here features 27 foot ceilings and is a beautiful venue overall, decorated in a manner that does justice to this property’s very rich history. While smoking is permitted here, it also features Indiana’s largest non smoking gaming area of 9,500 square feet, so everyone is taken care of well here.
Their 1000 slot and video poker machines cover everything from classic mechanical slots to the hottest video slots of today. They also have video keno, and plenty of progressive jackpots as well, offering play in all denominations.
They also offer a high limit gaming area with slots running up to $100, and higher limit table games as well, for those who have bigger bankrolls to play with.
The table game selection here is quite good for a casino of this modest size, with a total of 37 tables, offering Blackjack, Roulette, Craps, Mini Baccarat, Sharp Shooter, 21+3, Mississippi Stud, Texas Holdem Bonus, Three Card Poker, Crazy 4 Poker, and High Card Flush.
The poker games here all offer progressive jackpots, to go along with the progressive jackpots with their slot games. You can play for big jackpots or even a new car.
French Lick also has a rewards program, with 3 levels, depending on your level of playing activity. Players accumulate a rating and this leads to credits at the resort. There are also a number of promotions that run here that provide even more value for your stay with them.
French Lick Resort is an experience unto itself and does attract a lot of people to the Indiana countryside to enjoy not only their famous spas, historic hotels, and top golf courses, but is home to some of the best gaming in the Midwest as well.