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Gateway to the West: 8 Coolest Hotels for Experiencing the Spirit of St. Louis

By , June 27th, 2018

St. Louis isn’t often recognized for its historical significance, but it should be. From following in the footsteps of legendary adventurers Lewis & Clark to walking on the grounds of the 1904 World Fair, the Gateway City is full of rich and compelling national history just waiting to be explored. It’s also home to the largest beer-producing plant in the country, the birthplace of the ice cream cone, and the host of one of the largest Mardi Gras celebrations in the country.

What sets St. Louis apart from other large cities, however, is its focus on community. It’s one of the only cities in the country to offer free admission to their largest public attractions, including the incredible Saint Louis Zoo, Saint Louis Art Museum, Forest Park, and The Muny theater. Factoring in other must-do’s like City Museum, Missouri Botanical Garden, and Busch Stadium, there’s no shortage of things to do or places to see. Suffice to say, zeroing in on a spot close to the attractions you’re interested in is key.

Let’s take a look at the eight coolest hotels in St. Louis for experiencing the Gateway City to its full potential.


8 Coolest Hotels in St. Louis

Our “Coolest Hotels” series is written for travellers driven by the hotel experience. They want a hotel with a theatre featuring live performances, a cocktail bar with the best rooftop view of the city, or a restaurant featuring local cuisine cooked up by the region’s preeminent chef. Each hotel of the 8-10 selected should have a unique, timely hook with the hotel playing a deciding role in the traveller’s experience in the city. Each boutique hotel should be under 150 rooms and can be part of a chain. min 1500 min 1500


St. Louis Union Station Hotel

With historical roots dating back to the 1890s, this hotel was a working train station up until 1978, seeing some of its highest traffic during the World Fair of 1904 and World War II.

Offering a unique balance of both nostalgia and renovation, the St. Louis Union Station Hotel was a working passenger rail terminal until its final train departed in 1978. Fortunately, the awe-inspiring Grand Hall was converted into a mixed-use complex featuring a hotel, dozens of restaurants, and, most impressively, a captivating 3D Fire and Light Show in 1985.

With frescoes, gold leaf detailing, mosaics, and stained glass windows, it’s hard to beat its charming interior design and history, which explains why St. Louis Union Station Hotel is a member of Historic Hotels of America. It’s also located in the heart of downtown St. Louis, making it an ideal location for anyone hoping to visit some of St. Louis’ prime attractions.

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The Chase Park Plaza Royal Sonesta St. Louis

With all its luxurious amenities and close proximity to the city’s premier attractions, it’s no wonder that this historic “city within a city” has hosted the likes of Frank Sinatra and former President Jimmy Carter.

When it comes to choosing a central hotel, you won’t find anything better than the Chase Park Plaza. Built in the early 1920s, it’s within walking distance to Forest Park and St. Louis’ eclectic Central West End. If you’d rather stay in, the hotel offers an impressive array of entertainment, including live music by the pool, an in-house movie theater, full-service salon and spa, four restaurants, and one of the most impressive, 18,000-square-foot Santé Fitness Centers you’ll ever lay eyes on.

If fine dining is on your wishlist, you’ll also want to experience the eclectic and constantly-evolving collection of unique shareable dishes at Preston’s. Named after the original architect of The Chase Hotel, Preston’s is one of their premiere onsite restaurants that employs a “Food Is Art” approach to its menu. Whether it’s your drink or your dinner, something is bound to be on fire, and it’s a lot of fun to witness.

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Moonrise Hotel

Featuring iridescent lobby walls that change colors, a lighted staircase, and an impressive collection of rare space memorabilia, this stylishly modern, eco-friendly, and pet-friendly boutique St. Louis hotel is the definition of cosmic comfort. The Moonrise Hotel blends contemporary design with quirky sophistication seamlessly. From the moment you walk into the lobby to the elevator ride up to the rooftop bar, you’re in awe of the whimsical (and totally non-tacky) cosmic atmosphere.

The Moonrise Hotel is located on St. Louis’ Delmar Loop, which was named One of the 10 Great Streets in America for its sustained efforts in achieving successful physical and economic revitalization by the American Planning Association, and features ten Celebrity suites, all of which are individually-themed and named after stars from St. Louis’ Walk of Fame. Plus, it boasts both pet-friendly and eco-friendly policies for anyone traveling with their furry loved ones or anyone concerned with sustainability efforts.

For the foodies, the Moonrise Hotel is also home to the Eclipse Restaurant, an award-winner for both its modern American cuisine and cocktail program. Going hand-in-hand with their eco-friendly efforts, the regularly updated menu features only locally-sourced, seasonal, and organic ingredients. Oh, and let’s not forget their inventive hand-crafted drinks, like the citrusy Denny’s in the 90’s gin cocktail or the bold End of the Century margarita.

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Lodge at Grant’s Trail

An unusually appealing combination of quaint bed and breakfast and rustic Alaskan lodge, this unorthodox hotel is one of St. Louis’ best-kept secrets. The Lodge at Grant’s Trail offers a more personal and undeniably unique experience than the other hotels on this list. It’s located at the head of Grant’s Trail, a family-friendly (i.e. flat) 7.9-mile trail with easy accessibility to and from downtown St. Louis, making it an ideal spot for runners, bikers, and outdoor enthusiasts. Just off Interstate 55, making the trek downtown a breeze for those traveling by car.

Stemming from an intimate bed and breakfast theme, its small staff, including the original owners and innkeepers, go above and beyond in hospitality. With your choice of nine distinctly decorated rooms and suites, all complete with a fireplace and luxury bath, you’ll be welcomed with wine and cheese and, when you wake up each morning, a complimentary breakfast. And, with all the peace and quiet you’ll enjoy at this small mountain lodge, it’s hard to believe that you’re just a 10-minute drive from downtown St. Louis.

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The Cheshire

Quaint English charm and classic literary enthusiasm find their way to Central Missouri with The Cheshire. Originally a casual hamburger diner, The Cheshire Inn, and Lodge evolved into a local treasure in 2011 after undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation preserving its English charm and character.

From the stained glass lattice windows to the beige and dark brown Tudor Revival architecture, its British Colonial style transports guests back to the Old World for a night or two. Ideally located on the edge of Forest Park, The Cheshire Inn is adorned with cozy wood burning fireplaces, eighteenth-century antique furniture, Renaissance-era paintings, and a hand-carved mantle in the living room. Each pet-friendly guest room and suite is also named after a famous British writer, making it a fitting choice for Shakespeare, Agatha Christie, and/or Beatrix Potter enthusiasts.

The Cheshire Inn offers impressive dining options, as well. In addition to a fantastic complimentary breakfast buffet, Fox and Hounds Tavern is located on the side of the hotel and is served poolside. It’s a cozy pub that prepares small plates featuring traditional English favorites. Fox and Hounds is the perfect place to grab a pint of beer, enjoy some fish and chips, and listen to great live music on Friday and Saturday nights. Just get there early to for a chance at a seat!

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Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch

Looking for a room with a view of St. Louis’ most famous landmark? The Hyatt Regency is literally located in its shadow. It’s hard to beat both the view and the location of the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch. If you’re lucky enough to reserve a room facing the river, the only things standing between you and The Arch are air and opportunity. It’s also worth noting that the Hyatt Regency is a fitting spot for both pet lovers and Cardinals fans since it’s located only blocks from Busch Stadium.

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Hotel Ignacio

From vacant building to $10 million boutique hotel, Hotel Ignacio is a cultural urban oasis that proudly pays homage to St. Louis’ Grand Center Arts District.

Hotel Ignacio adds a unique visual element to a traditional St. Louis experience. Designed by the award-winning architectural-design company The Lawrence Group, Hotel Ignacio proudly celebrates the fine arts and defines the vibrant art scene of the Grand Center Arts District, so much so that each floor is named after a different artist. Guests will find themes of performing arts, fine arts, contemporary architecture, and music consistently present throughout the modern yet minimalistic interior of the hotel. Located in the Midtown neighborhood, right across the street from St. Louis University, Hotel Ignacio is within walking (or biking– guests enjoy free bike rentals from the front desk) distance of The Fabulous Fox Theater, Circus Flora, and the Chaifetz Arena.

Oh, and for any motorcycle enthusiasts, Hotel Ignacio is connected to The MOTO Museum, a public museum with free admission housing over eighty vintage motorcycles from twenty different countries.

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Magnolia Hotel St. Louis

Who doesn’t love a late night snack? Conveniently located less than a mile from the Gateway Arch, this classic and hospitable boutique hotel offers its guests complimentary bedtime milk and cookies and downtown Tesla rides.

Originally built in 1924 as the Mayfair Hotel by Charles Heiss, the Magnolia Hotel is a pillar of historic downtown St. Louis sophistication that resides on the National Register of Historic Places. While boasting a beautifully updated lobby and bar with grand chandeliers, ornate white columns, and double-height ceilings, this vintage “boutique” hotel still features its original elevators and timeless stained glass windows.

With a prime location within walking distance to the Busch Stadium, Gateway Arch, and the convention center, it’s unlikely that you’ll need to use their complementary downtown Tesla transportation, although it’s available to all hotel guests, including furry four-legged friends of all breeds and sizes.

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Feature image courtesy of McElroy Fine Art Photography, St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission