Living Large in St. Louis, Missouri
The city of St. Louis, Missouri, awaits visitors searching for the finer things in life. The Chase Park Plaza Royal Sonesta, built-in 1922, continues to indulge guests in old-fashion hospitality. Fine dining establishments like The Preston and The Crossing surprise diners with innovative and tasty dishes, and the chef at Three-Sixty, the ballpark roof lounge, is dedicated to delivering spectacular appetizers to match one of the best views of the city. Relax with a cocktail at the Grand Hall in St. Louis’s Union Station, then stick around to watch the fantastic indoor light show.
The Chase Park Plaza Royal Sonesta | The Chase Park Plaza Royal Sonesta, steeped in history, lies in the central west end of the city. For almost 100 year this glorious hotel has welcomed numerous celebrities and influential leaders from Frank Sinatra to Jimmy Carter. The hotel boasts 389 generous rooms, one and two-bedroom suites, a stunning heated outdoor swimming pool, spa, fitness center, concierge services, four restaurants and much more. The elegant historic building is adorned with modern amenities to pamper today’s travelers.
My one-bedroom suite featured an enormous sitting room, large office area, comfortable bedroom and a walk-in closet. The outdoor pool was one of my favorite places in the hotel. I rarely get to stop and “do nothing” when traveling on business, yet I was afforded a few free hours one afternoon. It was deliciously hot, a balmy 85 degrees, so I set about to lounge near the pool and soon found myself swimming underneath the fountain that spouted into the pool. I felt like a child with the water splattering on my head. It was the perfect way to cool off and relax on a hot afternoon.
The Preston | It was time to grow up, get dressed and prepare for dinner. Little did I know that the chef at The Preston, one of the four restaurants in the hotel, loves to play with his food. Chef de Cuisine Nathan Sandknop says, “With this restaurant being about small plates, we can be pretty adventurous with our flavor profiles. I love this format and being able to play with everything.”
Jay, my hospitable and enlightening server, assisted me in selecting some of Nathan’s enticing dishes. He then proceeded to pair each dish with ciders and wines. I began my dining experience with a refreshing and herbaceous cocktail with greens that were from the restaurant’s indoor hydroponic garden. The pretzel croissants were light and flaky, and the pork belly with Brussels sprouts, peanuts, and ginger-soy glaze left me wanting more. The charred octopus with sunchokes and brown butter gnocchi made my top five all-time seafood dishes, and the Jamaican jerk chicken with coconut rice, pigeon peas, mango yogurt and plantains had just the right amount of spice.
The Spa | The menu at the spa in the hotel offers a variety of treatments. I was in the mood for something a bit different, so I chose the Chakra Balancing Massage. This treatment is said to soothe the mind and bring the Chakras back into balance. The massage therapist explained that she would provide a deep-tissue massage for part of the hour and energy work for the other part. After asking several questions about the tension in my body, she went to work. All I can say is that at the end of the hour I felt relaxed and whole. It was a delightful experience, and I would recommend the treatment.
The Crossing | My lovely host Nancy Milton and I each ordered from the Premium Tasting Menu at The Crossing where Chef Jim Fiala envisioned creating what he believes to be St. Louis’s finest “fine dining” restaurant. I began with an incredible roasted beet salad with creamy goat cheese, crunchy pine nuts and pesto. Next was delicate sautéed Spanish octopus over potatoes, saffron sweet-onion sauce and sweet peas that popped in my mouth. My third course was the black sea bass with pomme puree, asparagus and spinach served with a delicious shrimp butter sauce. To finish, I dined on a fried strawberry rhubarb pie.
Three-Sixty | Three-Sixty, the ballpark roof lounge, is a happening place. With panoramic views of the entire city, it is no wonder that it is popular with both visitors and locals. The lounge boasts a wide assortment of beers, wines and cocktails, and the chef puts out tasty appetizers like chicken skewers with Asian BBQ glaze and asparagus with smoked bacon and chardonnay vinegar.
While enjoying tasty bites, I walked around the inside of the lounge and out onto the deck to catch the best views. You can see the Arch from a dynamic perspective and the building’s height provides a stunning photo-op of the famous courthouse where Roe vs. Wade was decided.
Union Station | Gone is the era of elegant train travel, but the owner of St. Louis Union Station is making more changes and upgrades to the property. The Grand Hall boasts a 3-D panoramic light show projected onto the Hall’s vaulted ceiling. Comfy chairs and an enormous bar invite guests to relax and savor a cocktail. Sections of the building are under construction, and soon there will be 48 train-themed guest rooms, an outdoor plaza and an aquarium.
Arrange a trip to St. Louis to experience its finer side. Explore St. Louis is the perfect place to begin planning your upscale adventure in this lovely segment of the Midwest.