Like many other cities with a vivid history, St. Louis is recognizing the value of its classy old, buildings and preserving them. One of the better ones has recently opened as a downtown hotel. Called Hotel Saint Louis, this elegant place to stay is in a Louis Sullivan designed landmark building within walking distance of The Arch, Busch Stadium, and other major attractions. At 705 Olive Boulevard, this old and new hotel has become the 1st Marriott Autograph Collection property in this Midwestern city that ranked #8 in the nation by population in 1850. Today the #8 city is San Diego, CA.
Louis Sullivan’s design genius is prominently featured throughout this hotel. Called the Father of Skyscrapers, Sullivan collaborated in the design of more than 100 buildings by 1895. Many of them had several levels because the invention of the elevator made such buildings possible at the time when Sullivan was especially productive. Many of his best buildings are in Chicago. His most famous structure in St. Louis and considered one of his most notable works, the Wainwright Building remains but is not a hotel. Because Hotel Saint Louis is in a Sullivan building, it has many visible late 19th century design features. My favorites are the many still-existing lions.
Proud General Manager Steve Butcher showed Ruth and me around. I liked what Marriott has done to preserve the dignity of Sullivan’s design while creating a truly warm and comfortable 21st Century hotel experience. I was expecting to learn that it’s prohibitively expensive to stay here but that is not the case. The Hotel Saint Louis’ meeting rooms are named for St. Louis born celebrities like Vincent Price and Maya Angelou. Its ballroom for up to 300 guests is lit by many sparkling chandeliers that would make any gathering soar. The 13th through 15th levels are becoming penthouses and apartments. Above them is a Skybar that was being put together as we toured. Below them are 140 well-thought-through hotel rooms including 52 suites. Thirty of the guest rooms have balconies, some of which have lion views. Steve told us that there are 232 rooms available for hotel stays, and that Hotel Saint Louis is already planning to expand into the building west of it.
The lobby is adjacent to a huge bar and elegant restaurant. The best of Sullivan’s spirit has been well-preserved in this lobby, but the stained glass ceiling decoration is a modern-hotel update.