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“Enthralling and rejuvenating girlfriend getaway....long review”

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West Baden Springs Hotel
Certificate of Excellence
Dallas, Texas
Level 6 Contributor
106 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 93 helpful votes
“Enthralling and rejuvenating girlfriend getaway....long review”
Reviewed August 6, 2011

The West Baden Springs Hotel was a refreshing and rejuvenating girlfriend getaway weekend in the midst of a scorching hot summer. The green canopy of trees surrounding the hotel was enough to help envision being someplace cooler, even though temps were in the 90's at this respite, located deep in the Hoosier National Forest.
I flew into Louisville Kentucky and my girlfriend, a resident, whisked me away to a place she said I just had to see to believe. Her great-Aunt had visited the West Baden Springs Hotel frequently in its heyday and my friend's mother had grown up, hearing marvelous stories about the aunt's glamorous getaways to both West Baden Springs and the French Lick mineral springs resorts. When they had heard the hotel, shuttered and abandoned for years, had been restored to its glorious past, my friend and her mother were intrigued and spent a weekend at the nearby historic French Lick Hotel and Casino. Now, my friend wanted to check out the ambiance at their sister property, the West Baden Springs Hotel.
As we drove through the quiet Indiana countryside, it was hard to envision throngs of motorists venturing to French Lick without the aid of high-speed highways, which can get you there from Louisville in 45 minutes. We opted for the roads less travelled (Hwy 150) and were thus forced to slow our "big city ways" and begin relaxing as we traversed the wooded hilly lanes of southern Indiana. The rows of corn and emerald hills were a refreshing change of scenery and before I knew it, we came to a turn in the road and voila! Towering amongst the pines was an enormous dome, flanked by towers, announcing our arrival at the historic West Baden Springs hotel.
The lushly landscaped flowerbeds lining the original cobblestone road led us past an ornate Greek rotunda, sunken formal gardens, fountains and an inviting rocking-chaired verandah, to the Porte cache, where a uniformed valet and bellman welcomed and greeted us. A container holding complementary iced water bottles was next to the bell stand; it was an appreciated gesture in the heat and humidity of the summer.
Even though we had no reservations at the hotel, we were optimistic there would be plenty of rooms in this remote corner of the world. We strolled through the cavernous atrium, where a quartet played, guests lounged in the numerous sitting areas and everyone basked in the opulence of this architecturally magnificent structure. The hotel was billed as the "Eighth Wonder of the World" when it was originally built in 1907; even today, the lobby was astounding
The lavish Victorian-era front-desk reception area was cool, dark, quiet and evocative of a turn-of-the-century resort. You almost expected to see gentlemen in waistcoats and pince-nez strolling arm in arm with cinched, bustled and bejeweled ladies in their motoring coats. This welcoming reception area set the stage for gracious Hoosier hospitality and the front desk reception staff was cheerful, professional, friendly and helpful.
Although it was late in the afternoon when we arrived, we were dismayed to find there were only suites available. The hotel, in its vastness, didn’t seem crowded or full. The front desk kindly checked and determined that the French Lick Hotel was likewise sold out, as was the nearby Comfort Inn and Suites. After some deliberation, we were offered a suite at a discounted rate, though it was still more than we had budgeted; any thoughts of indulging in the hotel spa faded as we opted to stay the night rather than drive back to Louisville, leaving the hotel unexplored.
Photos of the hotel a few years ago and one hundred years ago adorn the walls of the reception area and give you an appreciation for the restoration of this landmark hotel. Little expense was spared to return the hotel to its prime and the care and attention to detail is remarkable. Kudos to the current owners for their superb efforts in historic preservation!
The wood-paneled library, off the reception area, was inviting and filled with books to borrow and comfy reading places and furnishings, including big tables to spread your work. A computer and printer were handily provided for printing out boarding passes or surfing the web. Magazines and newspapers would have complimented the reading area….but who has time to read when there is so much to explore?!
Cyndia, the hospitable front desk receptionist, was preparing to take a break and offered to give us a mini tour around the property; we retrieved our bags and met her after settling in and discovering her surprise for us: a beautiful red rose, which contrasted nicely with the cool light green and silvery tones of the room’s luxurious custom bedding and rich furnishings. The nightstands and dressers, with their wooden medallion depicting the hotel image, Venetian mirrors, and custom lighting were all expertly coordinated and the room décor was soothing and refreshing.
The West Baden Springs Hotel has numerous shops circling the lobby rotunda, including a storefront for the Indiana Landmarks non-profit historic preservation organization, which conducts an informative and worthwhile hour- long tour a couple times a day for an $ 8 donation. There is additionally an ice cream parlor and Starbucks coffee shop, a museum and several other shops filled with resort wear and gift items. The hotel has three restaurants, a poolside snack bar, two or three other bars, and an eating area in the lobby; live artists/bands performed throughout the day on Saturday, in front of the enormous and artistically crafted colorful Rookwood Pottery fireplace.
After our mini tour of the indoor & outdoor pools, spa and grounds, we took the complimentary hotel shuttle over to the French Lick Hotel and Casino to check out the restaurants. We strolled through this lively hotel (with its very different atmosphere), exited the grand staircase, and stopped to enjoy the Dixieland band playing on the verandah, then caught a shuttle to Hagen’s, a restaurant at one of the three resort golf courses, where we dined alfresco and watched the sun set overlooking the panoramic Donald Ross course. The food was good and the portions were ample—we shared a delicious bowl of Indiana corn soup and selected the prime rib special, with fresh asparagus. My medium-rare prime rib was a bit overdone for my taste; my friend’s was fine. We returned to our hotel on the air-conditioned shuttle, pumped the driver for ghost tales and relished our moments of being chauffeured around.
Once darkness enveloped the domed lobby of the West Baden Springs Hotel, the atmosphere was transformed. It was as if we had entered a grand ballroom and the Belle of the ball was no longer around us, but above us, posing as the stunning original Victorian brass (?) chandelier dangling high in the air. We hadn’t really noticed the elaborate light fixture in daylight hours. With my eyes glued to the ceiling, I would have walked into one of the 20’ Greek goddesses populating the atrium if my friend hadn’t steered me to one of the sumptuous velvet chaise lounges. We weren’t alone as we sat mesmerized by the splendiferous display of light and color,each transition more spectacular than the preceding one.
Adventure and more fun beckoned though, and we tracked the sounds of music to the Jazz Bar, where a trio of musicians performed. Several couples danced to the lively jazz tunes; a bar in the back of the room was open for drinks. We probably would have had more than one drink if a waiter/waitress circulated; we were too comfortable and immersed in the music to get up and order another.
The evening went by too quickly and we happily retired to our elegantly appointed and spacious suite, looking forward to a morning on the verandah with a cup of coffee and a stroll through the hotel’s exquisitely restored gardens and grounds.
The West Baden Springs Hotel was an extraordinary hotel experience. Kudos to the Cook family of Indiana, and to the Indiana Landmark organization, for their dedication to preserving one of America's finest historic hotels.

Room Tip: Ask the front desk to show you the rooms; they will do so gladly. Be sure to check all the publishe...
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank fkmcja
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (767)
Date | Rating
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English first
Louisville, Kentucky
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed August 4, 2011

We have stayed here several times and wil go back again and again. It is not easy to get to, being about 20 /25 miles off the interstate but it is well worth the drive. You cannot find a more unusual and beautiful hotel, outside as well as all the inside furnishings. The casino is very nice as well and the the Pete Dye golf course...unbelievable.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank cwhelan136
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ohio
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed August 3, 2011

My friend & I just got back from a girls weekend at West Baden. We were very excited to see the resort because of the history. It is truly beautiful. We enjoyed learning about the history & noticing the beautiful elegance from the 1900's. Our main complaints were pretty bad. Some of the front desk staff were not really nice. I feel that they should go out of their way to be nice. The daytime servers at the bar in the dome were very rude. We left & ate lunch at the cafe instead (it was nice). There were many problems with our room but when we finally got into our room the floor sloped. I thought I was loosing my mind. I walked from the window to the door & there truly was a noticeable slope. I spoke to the front desk & was told all of the room as like that because of the old age of the hotel. Are they serious!? Just FYI - our room was on the 5th floor interior. Anyway, I got used to it after awhile. I heard someone say that the rooms on the 2nd floor have very low ceilings. The spa is nothing special at all. I had a massage that seemed to be way shorter than it was supposed to be. I also had a pedicure that was supposed to be a "zents pedicure" with aromatherapy - but the tech forgot about that & so did I until I got to the room. I have been to much better spas. We walked on a trail from West Baden to French Lick - that was nice. We ate dinner at the restaurant at the Donald Ross golf course - it was nice. If you want to go to a destination spa - go somewhere else. If you want to see a beautify restored building - this is for you.

Room Tip: don't stay on 2nd floor
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank travelwriter-3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed August 3, 2011

Worth a detour but lacked energy and attention to details for the price. The floor of our room was slopping and felt like we were on a boat! Was told that all rooms have this settlement issue.

  • Stayed August 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MrsLauderdale
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Indiana
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed July 31, 2011

The hotel itself if beautiful. The restoration is worth seeing and a true southern Indiana gem. The grounds are beautifully manicured, providing the feeling of old-world charm. The upgrade rooms are atrium facing. The view from these inside rooms provides a fantastic view of the atrium, but the noise travels from the floor of the atrium right into the room and we stayed on the fifth floor. The hotel lets itself down on service. The staff were friendly enough, but the service was slow, inaccurate, and several staff members were clearly disinterested in helping customers. Sadly, this was true from the spa to the restaurants to the casino at French Lick. The shuttle drivers were delightful, but the shuttles do not run on any schedule and attempting to get information on the next expected shuttle was a nightmare. The bell staff were especially lacking in customer service on this dimension. The absolute worst part of our stay, however, was the spa. The front desk staff was visibly lacking in energy or enthusiasm and these staff members gave the distinct impression that they couldn't have cared less if we were there or not. Three of us scheduled massages, manicures and pedicures. Only one technician provided the expected level of service, Pat. She was terrific. Setting aside Pat, the other service providers were certainly pleasant, but the quality of the services was so far below expectations. This is not a resort spa. It is more like a cheap strip mall level of service and attention to detail. Our advice...enjoy the hotel and its beauty, but do not expect a resort experience on any level and avoid the spa at all costs.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank Indiana2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FrenchLickResort, General Manager at West Baden Springs Hotel, responded to this review, August 3, 2011
Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. We appreciate opportunities like this to help us fine tune our customer service.

We will certainly review all the areas you mentioned but we would like to personally address your spa comments in particular. We apologize that you did not have the experience that you deserved. As with all of our amenities, the spa strives to offer a world-class experience to every guest. We are disappointed to hear we did not deliver 100% in this case.

The Spa at West Baden is nationally recognized on Conde Nast Traveler’s list of Top Spas and was recently bestowed a World Luxury Spa Award. These types of accolades come directly from guest feedback which, we are happy to say, has been overwhelmingly positive. This experience will allow us to look for even more ways to better serve our guests.

Again, the West Baden Springs Hotel apologizes for your experience and would appreciate the opportunity to serve you again.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, GA
Level 5 Contributor
65 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed July 28, 2011

What an amazing place in Indiana. The atrium is breath-taking and room exquisite. Staff is very friendly. Sometimes service can be a bit slow, but it is a resort staffed by locals.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank JubaFoodTravelFun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ohio
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed July 28, 2011

I have always wanted to visit and stay at The French Lick Resort. For some reason, my husband and I were booked into West Baden Springs Hotel. Well, let me just say the luck was on our side. This hotel is beautiful and quiet. The architecture is amazizng. We had an outside room overlooking the gardens. It was big, spacious, and CLEAN! The amdnities in the room were extra special. This hotel is very safe. You need your key card to enter the elevators and pool area. We spent our early mornings walking the beautiful grounds and reading in the rocking chairs on the front porch (and checking our e-mail on their computer in the library). Afternoons were spent by the pool and evenings we visited the French Lick Casino. We also got in horseback riding and a visit to the French Lick Winery. (Free wine samples!) The free hotel shuttle leaves the hotel lobby every 15 minutes to take you the French Lick Resort and the Casino. It is less than one mile away and is a easy walk on a paved walkway.The food at the two restaurants were very good, but pricey. If you are traveling with children, I would suggest staying at The French Lick Resort, It is more of a casino type, loud hotel with more activities. One great advantage, besides the beauty, charm, elegange of the West Baden is that as a guest you can use all of the admenities of the French Lick Hotel (swimming pool, etc), but those guests do not have the same privledge to use West Baden Springs Hotel (because of lack of key cards!)

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank SilverLakeOh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about West Baden Springs Hotel

Property: West Baden Springs Hotel
Address: c/o French Lick Resort, 8670 W. State Road 56, West Baden Springs, IN 47432
Location: United States > Indiana > West Baden Springs
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in West Baden Springs
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — West Baden Springs Hotel 4.5*
Number of rooms: 243
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Also Known As:
West Baden Springs Resort

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