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My Night at the West Baden Luxury Resort

Matt Goodrich '09 - I entered the 3,000,000 cubic foot atrium of the grand luxury resort West Baden Springs and let the never-failing pull draw my eyes up to look into the stunningly beautiful dome. 

My amazement had an undercurrent of relief as the climate controlled room cooled me off from the blistering summer day outside. This was not my first trip to the majestic structure, but this time there was a new emotion coupling the familiar ones. That emotion was excitement, and lots of it. 

I was to be a guest at the “Eighth Wonder of the World” on this occasion, and boy was I ready. I had heard endless accounts about the glamour awaiting those who stayed a night at the resort yet this time I was going to experience it first hand. I immediately noticed a difference in the way that even I, a 20-year-old kid in a striped polo, was treated as I approached the help desk. It was remarkably easy to find a suitable place for me to conduct my interview of a leader in the reconstruction of the two resorts. I was not only allowed to set up a video camera in their library but I was able to tape anywhere in the resort I pleased. 

The staff never failed to smile and greet me and were always eager to assist me to ensure I was enjoying my stay. I already felt as if the staff really did care about my comfort but was very surprised later that day when I visited the bar for a drink of water. As I made conversation with the bartender, Marilyn, she came to recognize my name saying that I had been mentioned in a staff news letter as a student doing a history on the two resorts and was to be expected and  accommodated in any way possible. After hearing that I knew it was no show and really felt valuable.  That evening following check in, I sat in the astonishingly ornate atrium with one of our PIP advisors, Howard Hewitt, and made conversation with the hotel staff while awaiting our reservation at Sinclair’s.

We sat and watched the bustle and wide-eyed stares of the other guests for amusement and began to unwind. It was exactly as Marilyn had mentioned earlier that day when she said that people tend to really relax and “mellow out” during their time there. 

Finally the time for dinner rolled around and we made our way to encounter the fine dining at Sinclair’s high class restaurant (classy enough to require a dress code before entering). Not surprisingly, the service was terrific and our server knowledgeable. 

To try and describe the taste and quality of the food would be like attempting to explain a color to a blind person. Let me just say it was very, very, good. Somewhere in the middle of my incredible Osso Buco I couldn’t help but smile. I truly felt like I was experiencing  a piece of history. I was dining and staying in the world renown resort enjoyed by others such as Al Capone and Ed Ballard in its hey day of the Roaring Twenties. It was as if the Titanic had been raised and I was catching a ride. Needless to say, I slept quite well that night swathed in the furnishings of a luxury hotel room. 

After a wonderful cup of coffee and blueberry danish form the Xanadu Coffee Shop and Ice Creamery I hit the road back home. I felt relaxed, joyful, and rejuvenated. One night of R&R can do little more. I took a deep breath realizing I had never felt as important or well taken care of as I did during my stay at West Baden.  I can’t wait to go back.

In photos: Top left, Matt on the circular porch overlooking the gardens. Center right, a night-time look at the incredible atrium dome. Bottom left, the gardens adjacent to the West Baden Hotel.


As an alumni of '61 Wabash class and a 4 time visitor to West Baden, I enjoyed your article and I too was amazed at the changes of the hotel over the years. The history is also amazing. The covered track that was destroyed; the purchase by the Jesuits and their changes they made; the converting into a college; the history of the mineral water and the mud baths and many other events were all very interesting to me. History of the Springs Hotel continues. Good job ! Best wishes !