Saturday, May 3, 2014

Hilton St. Louis Frontenac - Hotel Review

Route 66 shield on the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge
For our recent trip to St. Louis, we went back and forth on location.  Do we choose a hotel downtown that's walking distance to the Arch, museums, and mass transit, or someplace a little bit outside of town where we won't have to pay extra for parking?  When visiting a large city, I usually greatly prefer to stay someplace centrally located to what we want to see with good access to rail so I don't have to mess with driving.  But in this case, while sketching out our itinerary, we wanted to hit a couple of things well outside of the city, which meant we'd have no choice but to have a car.  That made the decision easy, since downtown hotels would mean an extra $20 a day for parking at least.  We ended up settling on the Hilton St. Louis Frontenac, as they had a special for an executive level room at essentially the same price as a regular room for AAA members.


Hilton St. Louis Frontenac

1335 S. Lindbergh Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63131
Facilities:  Free wi-fi, completely non-smoking, free local area shuttle, business center and meeting rooms, free parking

Location

Just south of I-64, Exit 28 (US 67/Lindbergh Blvd.), 12 miles west of downtown (20 minutes without traffic).  Or go to the Brentwood Metrolink station (I-64 and Hanley Road, 5 miles east), and take the Blue Line downtown, approximately 25 minutes.  Approximately 10-15 minutes from Forest Park.  Approximately 15 minutes from Lambert - St. Louis International Airport via I-170 and I-64.  Approximately 1 hour to Meramec Caverns via I-64, I-270, and I-44.

Review

The Hilton St. Louis Frontenac is a fairly new property, built to mimic French-colonial architecture.


I have to say the inside of the hotel is mighty impressive for a mid-level property, especially the chandelier in the lobby (~$150 a night for an executive level room before AAA discount).




Our executive level room on the third floor was large, with separate work and sitting areas.  


These rooms also have a separate coffee maker/closet area before the bathroom, with marble fixtures throughout this area and in the bathroom.  The bathroom was a tad small, at least in comparison to the room, but my bigger complaint was no tub to go along with the shower.  This seems to be a growing trend, even in high-end hotels - presumably to burnish their "green" credentials - but it irritates me greatly.  Shouldn't it be the customers' choice on how green they want to be?


The executive floor comes with the added perk of access to the executive lounge, which includes complimentary breakfast in the morning and snacks/beverages in the evenings.  We came in too late on Friday, and we were out the entire day on Saturday, so we didn't have a chance to check out the evening reception, but we did stop in for breakfast both mornings.  The lounge is pretty small, with seating for maybe a dozen or so guests.  There was an Indian wedding going on Friday night, so it was pretty crowded when we were there Saturday morning (though we did find a table for two with no problem).  It was much less crowded on Sunday.  I couldn't get a good shot of the breakfast line, but the pickins' were kind of slim - a few cereals, some yogurt, self-service instant oatmeal, and one main dish (cream cheese blintzes on Saturday, fresh muffins on Sunday).  A small selection of breads was also available with a self-service toaster.  I'm not going to complain much since it was free, and the lounge attendant was friendly and kept what was there well-stocked, but the limited selection was somewhat disappointing.  




Service throughout the hotel was fine, though I can't say it was exceptional.  Everyone was friendly and efficient, though you definitely don't get the "wow" factor that you would at a more upscale property.  One downside:  the hotel does have an outdoor pool, but it is currently closed for renovations.  Not that the lack of a pool is a particularly large deal in the Midwest in the middle of April.  I'm guessing it'll be back up and running by spring.

The property's location is a plus.  The suburban area surrounding the hotel is fairly quiet, but being literally a block from the freeway provides exceptional convenience to just about everything.  Being close to the light rail is an added bonus if you want to explore downtown or Forest Park but don't want to drive in (though in reality, navigating St. Louis isn't all that difficult in comparison to other large cities).  There is also a mall (albeit a high-end one) and a supermarket across the street.  For you Route 66 buffs, Lindbergh Blvd. was an actual (later) routing of the Mother Road, providing a good place to stay in an important crossroads for the historic route.

Rating:  4 stars.  Not an exceptional hotel, but a good one with a good location in the St. Louis metro area.  And a great price, at least during the shoulder season.

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