Located less that an hour from Chicago USA, along the bottom of Lake Michigan is the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. If you’re looking for a hotel close to the dunes, Spring House Inn in Porter, Indiana, is a great option! The hotel is sandwiched between the I-94 and HWY 20 and less than a 10 minute drive from Indiana Dunes National and State Parks! The towns of Porter and Chesterton are just a short drive away.
Hotels Near Indiana Dunes
Spring House Inn
My stay at Spring House Inn was one of those ‘judge a book by its cover’ type decisions. Flicking through booking.com it was a decent price and we liked the look of the outside of the building. It had an Austrian chateau type look to it, which made it unique from the other hotels that were listed!
We were impressed with this little woodland hideaway! Spring House Inn has a small indoor swimming pool and fitness room (on the lower levels) and free breakfast. The main reception area has sofas and chairs to relax and a connected breakfast area. The breakfast was a typical light breakfast (cereals, muffins, juice, coffee etc) with a hot breakfast option (waffle machines during my visit).
Woodland View Double Room
We had a woodland view double room (2 queen beds, up to 4 adults). There are also ‘front view’ rooms, king rooms and whirlpool rooms. The beds were comfy and there was an in-room TV, microwave and a coffee maker. There is also free WiFi but we found the signal to be quite weak in our room, it was stronger in the main reception area.
Despite being on the ‘ground floor’, our balcony which looked out into the woods, was actually on the 2nd floor up. There were more rooms on the lower floor which can’t be seen from the front of the building! There are no elevators in the hotel so keep this in mind if you get placed on the lower or upper floors.
As Brits, we thought it was brilliant but Americans may not feel the same way. The room next to us had left a leftover pizza box on their balcony…at 5.30am we were woken up by scratching noises. On inspection we saw 2 racoons playing around on our balcony! We opened the curtains and sat on the floor watching them through the glass for ages until they disappeared! To us they were like 2 cute, furry bears that were there for our entertainment that weren’t causing us any harm!
Address: 303 N Mineral Springs Rd, Porter, IN 46304, United States
Speakeasy at the Spa
We stumbled across this place completely by accident…and then found out about its hidden past thanks to my obsession with taking photos! Spring House Inn is right next door to Speakeasy At The Spa. We saw the ‘open’ bar sign so decided to check it out for a quick drink before bed. At first we struggled to find the entrance, the only door we could find was for a barber’s shop that was in darkness. After pulling on the door it did in fact open.
The bar had an old school look to it. With a fancy horseshoe shaped bar, an old juke box in the corner and tin ceilings. There was even a guy playing a piano in the corner. It then started to click. At first we didn’t realise the bar was called ‘Speakeasy at the Spa‘ and when we found out, it then clicked that the barber’s shop was obviously a hidden entrance/part of the theme of it being a speakeasy.
I thought it was novel and as we left, I tried to take a couple of pictures of the darkened barber’s shop. The lady behind the bar had seen the flashes from my camera and wondered what was going on so had come to see what was happening. She then switched the lights on for me and went ‘Oooo make sure you get one of the door shut!’ and when she did so, what had been the doorway had turned into what looked like a solid wall!
She then shared with us the history of the place. It was in fact a real 1920’s speakeasy bar that was frequently visited by Al Capone (unintentionally I seem to be following him around the USA, what with his stays at the Hotel Julien in Dubuque and then going to Alcatraz Island in San Francisco!).
She told us about the secret pass codes and pointed out features of the building, such as a secret watch tower where they could keep an eye out for police. They used to use the Little Calumet River, that runs behind the Speakeasy (and can’t actually be seen from the road), as a way of delivering and sneaking alcohol into the basement of the building! Such an unexpected find! We did try to explore and find the secret entrances and a way down to the river but it was really overgrown so we didn’t have much luck!
Check opening times before visiting. In normal times they are open Fridays and Saturdays 5pm-11pm and there’s also an attached event centre (by appointment only).
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
Indiana Dunes National Park and State Park are less than a 10 minute drive from Spring Lodge Inn. You can find out more information about visiting the Indiana Dunes State Park in my post: Indiana Dunes: Things To Do – The 3 Dune Challenge!.
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