(WHAS11) -- The $500 million investment to restore the historic French Lick Resort in Orange County, Indiana appears to be paying off.
"We're seeing people from Indianapolis, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Nashville, all coming to this area, really rediscovering it." said Dyan Duncan of the French Lick Resort. Duncan said while visitors come from across the world, most are within a five-hour drive of the resort.
In the first half of the 20th century, French Lick was a haven for illegal gambling. In 2006, casino gambling was brought back to the resort - this time legally. It's a critical part of the area's revival, yet Duncan said the casino does not overwhelm the resort.
"It really is a family destination. We do have a casino which a lot of people know about, but it's separate," Duncan explained. "It's not like a Vegas property where you have to walk through. You can choose to visit it or you can choose not to."
Two golf courses have proven to be a draw. And, the resort's roots as a place of rest and recuperation are also a big part of its current success.
In a new ranking, Condé Nast lists both of the hotel's spas as among the best in the country -- a combined 55,000 square feet of marble inlaid indulgence. Where once the local mineral springs encouraged a healthy break, the health of French Lick itself has been transformed.
"It's a whole new French Lick," Duncan said.
The increase in resort visitors is spurring other business. Other area attractions now include mini-golf, laser tag and indoor go-cart. The Indiana Railway Museum offers excursions.
The spa at the 21c Museum Hotel in downtown Louisville is also on the Condé Nast list.
For the Reader's Poll list of the 100 top spas in North America, go to CNTraveler.com.