Midwest Living Review
The approach to this National Historic Landmark is along a winding 100-year-old brick driveway. Inside, a glass dome spanning 200 feet towers six floors above you. Built in 1902, that dome still stops people in their tracks. West Baden Springs Hotel, part of the French Lick Resort, has been a destination since the first hotel opened in the late 1800s. When the hotel was rebuilt in 1902 to capture the look of the grand spas of Europe, well-heeled patrons began arriving from all over the country to enjoy the scenery, Pluto Mineral Spring (renowned for healing properties) and the outdoor activities, including golf, hiking and horseback riding. At the time, West Baden was called the Eighth Wonder of the World because of the glass dome topping the atrium.Today, a $500 million restoration has restored West Baden to its glory, including the tile mosaic floors beneath the dome and a faithfully reconstructed Natatorium (indoor lap pool, full-service spa, salon and fitness center). But the dome is literally the center of it all. The atrium beneath it has cozy sitting areas where guests can sit and admire the dome. On Friday nights, a pianist plays during happy hour. And at night colored lights create a hypnotizing show on the dome that guests enjoy while reclining on plush chairs. Tours explain the history of the place; it has been a Jesuit seminary and a college between stints as a hotel. It is largely this history that sets the resort apart from so many others.Old-world styling influences decor in the rooms, which are large, comfortable and feature modern amenities. Many have balconies onto the atrium. Extras include free Wi-Fi, daily newspaper and turndown service with two cookies. The hotel has several restaurants, boutique shops, indoor and outdoor pools, and more. The resort offers even more amenities: gorgeous hiking/biking trails in the surrounding Hoosier National Forest, concerts, entertainers, supervised kids' and teens' activities, riding stables (horse and pony rides, seasonal carriage rides), a casino and a piece of golf paradise. Guests have access to three dynamic and unique courses, one each designed by Pete Dye, Donald Ross and Tom Bendelow. Free shuttle service gets you to all the attractions. From $309.