By Linda Jarrett
Travelers, whether business or pleasure, are becoming more discerning
when selecting a place to stay.
No more “I really only need a place to sleep and shower.” The
days of getting excited over HBO and an in-room coffee maker
are long gone.
St. Louis has always boasted its share of luxury hotels with
such venerable institutions as the elegant Chase Park Plaza
and the Roberts Mayfair Hotel. Now, with the need for hotels
tailored to a particular traveler growing exponentially, others
are either under construction or on the drawing board.
The hotel stock in St. Louis is soaring with over 7,600 rooms
within a mile of America’s Center Convention Complex, and this
growth shows no sign of slowing.
The Hilton Downtown
The 112-year old Merchants Laclede bank building houses the
new Hilton St. Louis Downtown. Built in 1888, this eight-story
building, one of the oldest examples of St. Louis’ first fireproof
buildings, exemplifies old elegance and comfort for guests.
Located in the heart of downtown St. Louis at 4th and Olive
Street, The Hilton is 15 miles from Lambert International Airport
and within walking distance to many attractions, including Busch
Stadium, The Gateway Arch, Edward Jones Dome, America Center,
and the historic Laclede’s Landing
One of downtown’s premier historic buildings with its intricate
stonework, the Hilton’s first floor lobby features much of the
original marble and plasterwork from the original structure.
The old bank vault is now a gift shop and Internet café.
Each of its 195 rooms, many of which were originally offices,
opens off angular halls keeping in the character of an old office
building. The high ceiling rooms with crown and base molding
give visitors the sense of being in a 40’s hotel room, but with
all the amenities of the 21st century.
These amenities include complimentary high speed Internet access,
The Serenity Bed by Hilton, an in-room refrigerator, 27” television,
two telephones with voice mail and data port, coffeemaker with
complimentary coffee and tea.
General Manager Doug Johaningmeyer says their niche is the “heavy
corporate traveler and small business meetings Monday through
Thursday, but when the weekend comes, we have adults who are
in town going to baseball or football games.”
With 5,000 square feet of meeting space, The Hilton fills a
need for smaller meetings and social functions.
“We also do a lot of small business meetings, and rehearsal
dinners for people who have their weddings downtown,” he adds.
Johaningmeyer says that the “hands-on” service separates the
Hilton from other hotels. “Our guests get a lot of privacy and
they recognize our service as outstanding. We take care of everything
at any service level and people appreciate that, from social
to business meetings.”
Owned and managed by Drury Development Corporation, the Hilton
also offers covered parking, a state-of-the-art business center,
full-service restaurant with above average food offerings, fitness
center with circuit training strength machines and cardiovascular
equipment, whirlpool tub, and same-day valet dry cleaning.
The Parkway Hotel
Adjacent to Washington University Medical Center, The Parkway
Hotel serves the special needs of the medical community.
A skyway connects the hotel to the Barnes-Jewish Hospital which
puts it in a unique position to house relatives and friends
of hospital patients.
“We have folks coming in for diagnostic tests, and we house
family members of patients being admitted to the hospital,”
Rob Cardwell, director of sales, says, “That was where we found
our niche, working in that area. Now, we’ve grown to meet other
The hotel’s proximity to the hospital and university complex
has made it a focal point for medical meetings. It also partners
with the Eric P. Newman Education Center, a 30,000-square-foot
education facility which provides space for medical meetings.
“That’s been a part of our business that has grown since we’ve
opened,” Cardwell says. “We serve the medical center in several
ways, such as servicing visiting researchers. We actively solicit
corporate meetings and in this area, we have biotech companies,
medical equipment companies, and some start-ups.”
Cardwell says that while the Parkway is not a corporate affiliate,
“we make up for it in other ways. Some travelers may want to
collect points, but we are convenient to this campus, and if
you want to get to a pharmaceutical or medical meeting, we and
the EPNEC have the value of being on the campus.”
Opened in November 2003, The Parkway with 220 guest rooms, features
28 rooms that are ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant.
All rooms including 14 suites, feature custom furniture, high-speed
Internet access, microwaves, refrigerators, coffee makers, irons
and ironing boards, multi-line phones and voice mail, VCR and
hairdryers, all the amenities that make for a pleasant stay
during circumstances that could be difficult for some customers.
Other amenities include two morning newspapers, complimentary
evening hors d’ouevres and continental breakfast. The 8th Floor
Concierge Level includes a unique section of ten rooms and suites
that can be reserved as an exclusive wing and features a private
kitchen to allow guests to bring their own chef. The hotel is
located in St. Louis’ Central West End near Forest Park with
its multitude of attractions.
The Loop’s Moonrise Hotel
University City visionary and entrepreneur Joe Edwards will
soon be adding a boutique hotel to his list of accomplishments.
“I’ve always felt over the last decade that it was time for
the Loop to have a hotel,” Edwards says. “It’s one of the last
major pieces in the puzzle. There are the wonderful restaurants,
the Pageant Night Club, Blueberry Hill. There are 10 places
where people can hear live music in this six-block area.”
Edwards went on to list the St. Louis Walk of Fame, the Crafts
Alliance, COCA, Washington University’s E. Desmond Lee Auditorium
and the Regional Arts Commission as having a major presence
in the area “with more things to come.”
He says the hotel is in response to questions from Loop visitors
about where to stay after they’ve seen music groups perform
at the many venues in the area.
“I think a lot of musicians will also stay here,” Edwards says.
“Even if they’re playing the Amphitheater, or Scottrade in addition
to The Loop. Many of them come here to go to different restaurants
and music clubs, maybe see Chuck Berry or a band at the Pageant,
and they want to know where they can stay that’s close.”
The seven-story boutique hotel, estimated at $23 million, will
be constructed between the Pageant Theater and Pin-Up Bowl at
6177 Delmar Blvd. At 95,000 square feet, it will have 130 rooms
with suites, a restaurant and bar, and rooftop patio.
“It will be a fun, interesting hotel as opposed to the chain
hotels,” Edwards says. “It will be unique to St. Louis with
its own design, feel and theme, and will add to the scene. I
think people will find it interesting to stay here. It won’t
be your typical hotel.”
He hopes to open the Moonrise by the end of 2008.
Late this year, Pinnacle Entertainment will debut their $495
million casino and hotel in the Laclede’s Landing entertainment
district providing a destination place for business travelers
and tourists alike.
The hotel, currently referred to as the Luxury Hotel at Lumiere
Place, according to Pinnacle Spokesman Mack Bradley, will feature
a casino, two restaurants, 200 rooms and a 12,000-square-foot
spa and workout facility overlooking the St. Louis skyline.
Mario Maesano, senior director of marketing, says, “The casino
itself will feature 2,000 slot machines, 50 table games, and
Pinnacle has also acquired the former Embassy Suites which it
will renovate at a cost of $15 million and rename the Suites
at Lumiere Place. It will be attached to the new casino and
hotel and spa by an elevated skywalk across Second Street.
“Although the luxury hotel will be unique in this market with
the quality,” Bradley says, “the quality and amenities at that
hotel will set a new bar in this market. We’ve been talking
with the Four Seasons Hotel and resort, and they are an industry
leader in terms of quality of service. So what I will call the
‘fit and finish’ of the building will be a class leader in this
“We are shooting for a five star hotel,” Maesano says. “There
is not one in this region. The average hotel has a staff to
guest ratio from .5 to 1.25 staff per guest. We’re targeting
for two to three staff per guest. It’s really hands-on personalized
service for each guest. When you think of a five star hotel,
they’re known for overservicing and attention to detail which
you can do when you have that many employees per guest.”
The hotel will employ 1,200 staff.
Bradley says that there will be a 20-acre subsequent development
that would include residential, retail and office space that
would bring the total cost of the project to almost $1 billion.
“We’re focused on Phase one,” he says. “Then we’ll turn to the
To Sleep, Perchance, To Dream
Whatever the reason, visitors to St. Louis will have their chance
to sleep and dream at these top-notch hotels in the arms of
luxury. No one would expect less of Our Town.