St. Louis offers a surprising number of specialty, boutique hotels in addition to affordable chain options. From library- to train-themed rooms, you’ll find that lodging choices here are a gateway to fun!
1/Magnolia Hotel St. Louis
421 N. 8th St., Downtown
Ah, the Magnolia. What a lovely overnight stay we had here! My family enjoyed a 2-bed suite, so inviting that my children nearly balked at having to leave… to attend a Cardinals game! There was mild whining about potentially missing the cold milk and warm cookies available at 8 p.m., which was averted by the front desk offering to "save some for us.” The cookies were, in fact, quite tasty, and the hotel is a safe, well-lit stroll from the ballpark.
The highlight of our stay (aside from cookies) was the helpful staff from the bell hop to the breakfast wait staff to the front desk clerk, who carefully curates a file on family-friendly St. Louis attractions. I also appreciated the text-valet option for car retrieval in the morning. Rooms start at $169/night.
KidTripster Tip: There's a Tesla vehicle with a driver for guests to utilize for short trips within three miles of the hotel.
6300 Clayton Rd., Richmond Heights/Forest Park
This place may be my favorite hotel ever. I've never been to London, but I can definitely pretend. And I do love books. From a check-in where guests receive a bookmark to room assignments where each guest room is named for an author, and that author's work is available to read, The Cheshire is not your standard hotel. The pool, for heaven's sake, has a dragon emblazoned on its bottom tiles.
My family enjoyed the pub, Fox and Hounds, even though, alas, our server didn't seem as thrilled with us as we were with the setting. The lamb sliders were yummy, and the cold beverage for a weary adult was exactly right. My mom and I later sampled the fare at Basso, another on-site restaurant. Though it was a bit loud, the service shone, and the food was a close second. When my thought bubble apparently displayed my disappointment with my beverage choice, the waiter suggested that I allow him to bring me a "better drink.” For the hotel's complimentary breakfast, we sat in a library-type setting with stained glass windows, enjoying tea and scones (and more). Rooms available from $127/night.
3/Drury Inn St. Louis Airport
10490 Natural Bridge Rd., Airport
Wow! We had a fantastic stay at the Drury Inn. The king bedrooms are especially spacious, and the two-queen room is just as nice. The kids enjoyed the pool and the freebies; Drury is all about the extras. They provide a free hot breakfast, free 5:30 p.m. "kickback" (rotating selection of filling snacks), free Wi-Fi, free parking, free soda and popcorn (my children literally cheered) from 3 to10 p.m., free adult beverages (of limited quantity, naturally), and free 24-hour airport shuttle.
KidTripster Tip: Make the morning of your flight easy by returning your rental car the night before. This property is close to several rental agencies and a gas station to fill up.
4/Hampton Inn & Suites St. Louis at Forest Park
5650 Oakland Ave., Forest Park
My family found this Hampton Inn & Suites more than satisfactory. Clean, comfortable, colorful, and featuring a local spin on decor. (If you think you know Hampton Inns, think again!) And you’ll find this property close to lots of recommended destinations on KidTripster's 10 Top Plays.
Breakfast was pleasant and free. Even with a bit of construction underway in the pool area, my kids were excited that there wasn't just an indoor pool but one with lots of pool toys available. Starts at $143/night.
KidTripster Tip: Without a GPS, I would be desperately confused in this area, and I'm nearly a local. Take the time to enter your destination before starting.
4550 Forest Park Ave., Forest Park
Cookies and popcorn at check-in were a hit for my “traveling circus troupe.” Despite a renovation-in-progress, Parkway Hotel offered convenient access to Forest Park attractions, a far-better-than-usual free breakfast, and was clearly accustomed to dealing with folks traveling to seek medical care. (It's super close to St. Louis Children's Hospital.) From $129/night.
KidTripster Tip: You definitely want to unload luggage (and tikes) at the front horseshoe drive as the parking structure-to-elevator distance involves quite a hike.
6/Home2 Suites by Hilton St. Louis Forest Park
920 S. Taylor Ave., Forest Park
Clean rooms. Pleasant staff. Great, free breakfast. For a family on the go, these are key features to lodging. But Home2 Suites offers larger families or families staying for a longer duration an affordable, spacious mini apartment, too. This location is close to many family-friendly attractions. Rooms start at $159/night.
KidTripster Tip: If noise is a concern for you, ask for a top floor room or a room that's some distance from the pool.
6177 Delmar Blvd., Delmar Loop
The Moonrise made my Top 10 Stays list because I have teenagers. I know the teenage soul. They want cool. And interesting. And lively. Located right in the heart of a fun neighborhood (and close to several of KidTripster's Top 10 Eats), this boutique hotel earns rave reviews. Like The Cheshire, it offers something different and memorable.
What it cannot offer families is access to its very popular rooftop terrace (due to liquor license rules). And it doesn't have a pool. But if you want a hip vibe and have older kids (especially ones who may be checking out Washington University or St. Louis University), then parents, you’ve earned a night under the stars! Younger kids also will enjoy the Planet Walk along Delmar Boulevard. Rooms start at $153/night.
KidTripster Tip: This property has only ten rooms (out of 125) with multiple beds, so it’s best book ahead.
8/Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis
999 N. 2nd St., Downtown
Your travel dollars definitely stretch further in St. Louis. The Four Seasons here is pet-friendly and kid-welcoming. The hotel, with at least 48-hours' notice, will arrange childcare for your offspring. Unlike many chains, this property will provide cribs, high chairs, and playpens. Kids (under 5) eat free not only in Cielo, but also via room service. There are games, puzzles, and special experiences for youngsters like pizza making, sundae creating.
Summer visitors will enjoy the exquisite pools and poolside cabanas against a backdrop of the Gateway Arch. Rooms start at $246/night.
KidTripster Tip: Check out available promotions, especially the "Kids in the City" offering.
9/Hyatt Regency St. Louis At The Arch
315 Chestnut St., Downtown/Riverfront
Location, location, location. If you are going to the Gateway Arch or an event at Busch Stadium, consider staying at the Hyatt Regency. No pool, but Hyatt offers PURE/Hypo-Allergenic rooms if you are traveling with someone who requires an extra level of cleanliness. Every mother everywhere sighs, "yes, please!” Rooms start at $139/night.
KidTripster Tip: If the parking fee seems steep (currently, $36/night), don't be afraid to check around a four-block radius. There are less expensive options.
10/St. Louis Union Station Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton
1820 Market St., Downtown West
With an hourly light show across the lobby's ceiling, historic St. Louis Union Station Hotel is pretty impressive. And it’s about to become even more impressive as new train-themed guest rooms are added, a Ferris wheel is installed outside, and guests are issued train tickets to their rooms. Those families with a train lover are sure to enjoy! Rooms star at $131/night.
Moira Allbritton was reared about three hours to the north and spent many memorable vacation days with her aunt and uncle in St. Louis. She has a new appreciation for St. Louis' variety of kid-friendly amusements and parent-worthy dining establishments as mom to five children.
This writer received some complimentary stays for the purpose of this review. However, all opinions expressed are solely her own.