Small Market Meetings

APR 2017

The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.

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Page 19 of 39 20 Hospitality Showcase By Kristy Alpert N estled 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 breath- ing 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 meet- ings at French Lick Resort are planned with precision, pas- sion and a lot of personality. A Retreat in the Hoosier Hills Photos courtesy French Lick Resort

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