Where to Stay in St. Louis

Old Jul 16th, 2003, 06:55 AM
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Where to Stay in St. Louis

My husband, two boys (11 & 6), and I will be in St. Louis in a couple of weeks for a vacation. I'm looking for a hotel. Is it safe to stay downtown or should I look to the western suburbs? Is parking terrible and expensive downtown? Any suggestions?
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Old Jul 16th, 2003, 07:21 AM
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Downtown I'd recommend the Westin Cupples Station. New, very nice, very clean, good location as far as access to other downtown attractions (it's across the street from the baseball stadium). Parking is free if you simply park on the street to the south within a block of the hotel.
The other (best) place to stay is in Clayton, which is a 10 minute drive west. The Ritz Carlton is very nice among others.
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Old Jul 16th, 2003, 07:41 AM
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I'm sure someone else will say it so I might as well do it. Use the SEARCH feature and you'll find a lot of info. Just type in St. Louis.

Parking is not bad or expensive. Like most midsize downtown cities you might have to pay something. But it's not like Chicago,San Fran, Miami, NY, Boston etc. where it's always $25 or more a day and tough to find.

One hotel that I haven't mentioned before is the Chase Park Plaza. It's in the neighborhood called the Central West End. Forest Park is across the street, there are numerous restaurants nearby, Metrolink is a 4 block walk away and downtown is a 5 to 10 minute drive away.
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Old Jul 16th, 2003, 08:41 AM
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Let me second the Chase Park Plaza. We've stayed there several times and think it's wonderful. In addition to regular rooms, they have 2 bedroom suites with fully equipped kitchens. They also have a great restaurant and a movie theatre on the property. There's a great hands-on science center (the name escapes me) close by that would be fun for you and your children.

The Central West End is safe...my son and daughter-in-law lived there several years and really liked it.
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Old Jul 16th, 2003, 10:23 AM
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I'm in St Louis 3 or 4 times a year visiting friends. The problem with downtown St Louis is the lack of a focal point. There's some activity around Union Station, a little in the LaClede's Landing area and a little more around the Arch.

The Westin, the Ritz and the Chase Park Plaza are three of St Louis' more expensive hotels. If you're concerned about parking costs you might not want to stay at those. I know I never do though I love the restaurant at the Ritz. If you don't care about costs, there's also the Seven Gables Inn in Clayton.

Staying downtown with kids your age I'd recommend the Hyatt in Union Station. It's getting a bit tired, but it's hard to beat the location. On off weekends I've stayed there for as little as $79 a night. Its lobby (one of my favorites) is the old rail station lobby and is gorgeous. After that I'd take the Sheraton at the Savvis/Kiel center. It's fairly new, an easy 3 block walk to Union Station and less expensive than the Westin. The Embassy Suites in LaCledes's Landing might be nice too. If you factor in the breakfast for 4 sometimes the room rate is pretty good. There's some funky shopping in the area and you can walk to the Arch and along the riverfront.

If you stay in the Western 'burbs the Clayton area is nice. That's where the Ritz is located. The huge Galleria shopping mall is there along with lots of dining options. I've heard decent things about the Radisson in that area but I've never stayed there.

I don't know anything about parking costs because I fly in and take the light rail MetroLink downtown. (I've gotten great hotel rates at the airport and just used the light rail to get downtown.) You might try the MetroLink with your kids one day. It's usually fun for them to ride a train. The all day pass is $4 per adult. I don't know about kids. With the pass you could ride to Forest Park and walk across the bridge to the Historical Society Museum and see Lindberg's plane. It's not easy to walk from there to the Science Center or zoo though. They're across the park and pretty far.

With two boys the age of yours go see the St Louis City Museum. It has the coolest looking maze/contraption built outside it and some really nifty exhibits inside for kids to play with. They have a website: www.citymuseum.org. A lot of people don't like the area it's in, north of Union Station a few blocks. It's being revamped but has a ways to go. I've walked there and back several times during the day from the MetroLink and haven't had a problem. In fact it's kind of weird, there just aren't a lot of people around until you get to the museum. Maybe that's what bugs other people. I guess I like the privacy.

Downtown is the bowling hall of fame museum. You can combine it with a tour of Busch Stadium. It might be worthwhile because it's going the way of all the big baseball stadiums in a year or two: torn down and replaced with a retro-style facility a la Camden Yards in Baltimore.
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Old Jul 16th, 2003, 12:27 PM
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I live here and am not sure what to tell you hotel-wise since most of the attractions that are going to appeal to your kids are so spread all over town.

The Drury Plaza Hotel or Drury Union Station, both downtown (very close to the arch), cater more to families than the others. Free breakfast, indoor pools, parking is $10/night at Plaza - free at Union Station, microwaves and fridges in every room. High-speed internet connections if your taking laptops. These are 2-room suites so your 11yo can escape to the sleeper sofa.

The zoo/science center is 5 miles away. Your kids would probably love to do the boats at Forest Park, too. Eat at Max & Erma's in the Plaza hotel. Their website usually has free dessert coupons. Kids love this place. (How many restaurants have hot chocolate chip cookies on the appetizer menu? They time them to come out of the oven, still on the cookie sheet, just as you finish your meal) The Tortilla Soup is all any mom needs to recharge herself. The Hard Rock is at Union Station as well as a movie plex.

If you are coming in August, they have a Lion King (musical) deal with the Fox Theater.

See http://www.druryhotels.com/propertie...plazahotel.cfm
They have web-exclusive pricing going on right now.

http://www.explorestlouis.com/ (The CVB Visitors website, town calendar)

http://www.explorestlouis.com/visitors/ticketsDeals.asp (Must-have Ticket Deals)

http://www.druryhotels.com/drurydeal..._vacation3.cfm (Drury Inn Ticket Specials)

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Old Jul 17th, 2003, 10:34 PM
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Native St. Louisan here. All good suggestions, so far. I only recently moved away from the St. Louis area, due to work. Don't know the budget, here, but the Westin is easily the best of the downtown hotels. And, it's right on top of a light rail station.

The Central West End - well, yeah I like it. It's an eclectic, and interesting neighborhood, and the Chase is a classy old standard, but I just don't see the CWE as being a place your boys would enjoy beyond an hour or two. Think cafes and trendy shops.

I'd stick with downtown, personally. It's safe. And, one a recent return visit, we stayed at the Sheraton City Center on S. 14th. I was very pleasantly surprised. It's quite nice and we had a suite for less than the price of a standard room at the Westin. And, another light rail station across the street. Savvis Center (Kiel) is right by the hotel and Union Station is one rail stop away. The same rail line goes straight to the airport terminal, if you're flying in. You can see the Metrolink stop from the hotel check in. They have their own private parking garage. Suites had tons of room. Convenient and recommended!

I was going to paste in the web address for them, but it's way too long. Check on www.starwood.com under St. Louis. Pics there. Suite is $159 for a king + a queen sofa bed.
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Old Jul 17th, 2003, 10:41 PM
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Oops, I see indytravel had already suggested the Sheraton and Metrolink. As far as going to Forst Park, if you head west on the train to the Forest Park (may also be announced as DeBalivier), there is a "Shuttle Bug" bus that runs circles through the park and stops at all the attractions.
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Old Jul 18th, 2003, 06:43 AM
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Alas the shuttle bug service was discontinued a year or so ago. it was really nice. Now you have to try to catch regular busses that are going through the park to points beyond and it's a pain. The "Garden Bug" is a thing of the past too.

Also the movie theaters at Union Station (Wallace Theaters I believe) shut down early this summer.
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Old Jul 18th, 2003, 02:55 PM
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You miss out on so much when you leave home! Thanks for the update, indytravel. I hadn't heard about the demise of the shuttle and think it's really a shame.
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Old Jul 20th, 2003, 11:51 AM
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Forest Park has lots of free stuff: Zoo, Art Museum, Science Center, History museum - all free. for food, "dogtown" next to it has several good local eats, ask a local because you won't find that name anywhere I know. If you can catch a "Muny" outdoor theater evening show that would be a wonderful bonus!

How long will you be visiting? that will help determine where to stay. My vote is also for Clayton - central to everything (yes, you will need a rental car, try Enterprise who's home office is based there) safe day and night. CWE is a bit more "adult" oriented, and downtown is nice but not central (what type of activities do you want to do?)

If your there a week or more, the kids will LOVE you to take them to Six-Flags (and drive thru Lone-Elk park), and there's also Grant's Farm (think Anheiser-Busch, so adults enjoy a free beer at the end of the tour too), or Onondaga/Meramec caverns.

If you do stay downtown, don't walk to Arch, etc at night - just to be on the safe side. If you do downtown, check out the Crown Candy Kitchen (circa 1900's) for eats, or one of the riverboats floating on the Mississippi (in front of the Arch) - I think McDonald's is still there, and several others take a short 1 hour steamboat cruise.) Try and catch a Cardinals baseball game (bleachers seats are fun!) too. Also downtown is Anheiser-Busch, which I just recently went on a tour with a 16-year old. She really liked it too.

Since I'm a "foodie" I suggest these that are local, several locations, & affordable: Rich and Charlies (italian), St. Louis Bread Co., Talayna's Pizza. Most places have "toasted Ravioli" which are meat-filled appetisers and oh-so-yummy! The restaurant districts are: The Hill (italian, $-$$$$, reservations); The Loop on Delmar (sidewalk cafes, charming, eclectic/funky); Downtown; Central West End; Soulard; and Clayton.

Looking for historic? Old Cathedral, courthouse, drive around Lacledes landing, Soulard Farmers Market, drive around Washington University.

Now I can't wait for my visit back in Septermber!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2003, 06:59 AM
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Thanks, everyone. We are sure to have a great vacation next week!
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