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Benchmark Hospitality International Takes Over
Management the French Lick Springs Resort


THE WOODLANDS (HOUSTON), TEXAS, April 19, 2005 - Benchmark Hospitality International, which manages 29 award-winning resorts, conference centers and hotels in the United States and Japan, has announced the addition of French Lick Springs Resort to the company's management portfolio. Sam Haigh, chief operating officer for Benchmark, made the announcement.

"I am extremely pleased to welcome French Lick Springs Resort to the family of Benchmark-managed resorts and conference centers," stated Mr. Haigh.  "Located in French Lick, Indiana, the property has been the focal point of this historic resort town since 1902. Two companies with deep roots in Indiana, Cook Group, Inc., and the Lauth Group, have joined forces to form a joint venture, which will develop a $240 million destination resort, conference center, spa, and casino. Benchmark is honored to have been selected as the resort's operating partner."

Cook Group, Inc., located in Bloomington, Indiana, is the world's largest privately held medical device manufacturer, and the Lauth Group of Indianapolis is one of the nation's leading development and construction firms.

Benchmark assumed management of French Lick Springs Resort effective April 13.  The company immediately began assisting in the planning process for Phase One of the overall project development to completely renovate and restore the existing resort at an estimated cost of $80 million.  Completion of the partially restored historic West Baden Resort, located near the French Lick property, will follow in Phase Two. 

Existing French Lick Springs Resort amenities include 471 guestrooms and suites; more than 60,000 square feet of function space; seven food and beverage outlets; two 18-hole golf courses, including a historic Donald Ross-designed course (which hosted the 1924 PGA Championship) and a driving range; 18 indoor and outdoor tennis courts; a large equestrian center; several pools; six bowling lanes; a croquet court; five retail outlets; fitness center; a spa featuring 21 treatment rooms, and the famous mineral springs.

A casino will also be added to the property development, which includes more than 3000 acres.  Plans currently include the construction of a second championship golf course and a world-class golf instruction academy, plus numerous other amenities to attract guests and visitors to the secluded, scenic and historic resort community.

Built in the grand style of the turn-of-the-last-century, the French Lick Springs Resort and its mineral springs have tremendous historical significance.  The extensive financial investment by Cook and Lauth will ensure the historic preservation and total restoration of the property and related amenities, with the vision to develop the Midwest's finest resort, gaming, and conference destination.

Haigh concluded with, "Benchmark is proud to have been selected to work with the Cook and Lauth organizations on this exceptional project.  We're very pleased to welcome the 300-member team of dedicated professionals at French Lick Springs Resort who have been providing warm Indiana hospitality to guests over the years."

French Lick Springs Resort is located in French Lick, Indiana; two hours from Indianapolis and Evansville, Indiana; three hours from Cincinnati, Ohio; four hours from Nashville, Tennessee and St. Louis, Missouri.  The resort is easily accessible by air through the Louisville Airport, located in Louisville, Kentucky, an hour from the property, or by charter or private plane through the French Lick Municipal Airport.  For more information on French Lick Springs Resort, visit

About Benchmark Hospitality International
Benchmark Hospitality International, an independent hospitality management company based in The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, operates resorts, conference centers and hotels both domestically and internationally.  For locations of Benchmark Hospitality properties and for additional information, visit Benchmark's Website at

About Cook Group
The world's largest privately held medical device manufacturer with international headquarters in Bloomington, Ind., COOK® ( is a leading designer, manufacturer and global distributor of minimally invasive medical device technology for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Cook Group also owns and operates real estate, retail management, and transportation and travel services businesses.  Cook has had extensive experience restoring and renovating historic structures throughout Indiana, including the partially completed West Baden Springs Hotel.

About Lauth Group
Since 1977, Lauth has developed billions of dollars worth of facilities throughout the United States. A licensed general contractor in 49 states with projects completed from coast to coast, Lauth is one of the nation's leading development and construction firms. With offices in Indianapolis, Charlotte, Denver, Nashville and Orlando, Lauth delivers all types of facilities including healthcare, industrial, office and retail properties.  Additional Lauth information is available at People. Trust. Experience. (SM)


The Woodlands (Houston), Texas

Ken Ellens
201-758-2864 / 201-758-2865-Fax 

Also See: Indiana Companies Cook Group and Lauth Group Join Forces to Develop $240 Million French Lick Casino and Resorts Project / April 2005
French Lick Springs Resort & Spa Web Site Puts Historic Resort Ahead of Its Time / July 2002

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