by Caroline Costello
When I walked into my room and peeked out the balcony doors, my jaw hit the floor. The Gateway Arch, rising from the bank of the Mississippi River, was so close it felt as if I could reach out and touch it. I couldn’t, of course — the hotel sits about a block away from the base of the Arch. But the skyscraping monument is so astonishingly large that it appears much closer than it really is.
Sleeping just yards away from St. Louis’ most famous attraction was hands-down the best part of staying at the Crowne Plaza. Sure, there are other hotels in the area (there’s a Hyatt Regency, a Hampton Inn and a Hilton all within a two-block radius). But at 29 stories tall, the Crowne Plaza offers plenty of rooms with fantastic views of the riverfront, the Gateway Arch, downtown St. Louis – and even Illinois.
Our Editor Loves
- Rooftop swimming pool
- Jaw-dropping views of the Gateway Arch
- Central location in downtown St. Louis
- Connecting Rooms
- Onsite Dining
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The Crowne Plaza boasts hundreds of rooms (440 to be exact), so it's no surprise there are lots of family-friendly room options here, from two-room suites to rooms with sofa beds to adjacent rooms with connecting doors. I recommended selecting a suite, which may have up to two rooms, and also feature microwaves and refrigerators.
All rooms come with cable TV, free Wi-Fi, desks, irons and a free morning newspaper. Keep in mind that cribs and cots are only available in guest rooms -- not suites.
If you're seeking a room with a view, be sure to request accommodations on a higher-level floor that's facing the Gateway Arch.
by Lisa S
A week before we were due to leave on vacation the City Place Hotel in downtown St. Louis cancelled our prepaid reservations telling us they had closed following Labor Day. So...I was very, very disappointed they had closed and I had to stress about finding new accommodations.
by Julia M
you have to wait an hour to check in only to await a gross room full of cockroaches and food crumbs. The lobby had two escalators in which neither of them were working, and it smelled. Not a great vibe even just by sitting in the lobby
Since the Crowne Plaza isn't necessarily a kid-focused resort (the place caters largely to business travelers), they offer few on-site activities for visiting families. But if you're looking to spend most of your time exploring St. Louis, then the Crowne Plaza, which is set near lots of great local attractions, may be a good choice for you.
There is one noteworthy family-friendly activity at the hotel: the rooftop pool. Spectacular views of the Gateway Arch surround the pool at the top of the Crowne Plaza. The pool is open during warm weather months, and it's a fabulous way to cool off if you're in town during a hot Midwestern summer.
Nearby, the gateway Arch is the obvious first attraction to visit, just adjacent to the hotel. Sports fans will love this hotel's location, as well. Busch Stadium, home of the World Series-winning St. Louis Cardinals, and Edward Jones Dome, home of the St. Louis Rams, are both less than half a mile away. Blues hockey at Scottrade Center is also a mile away.
Onsite dining is available at the Crowne Plaza's restaurant, the Union Grill. Food options are decent. There's a kid's menu with the usual suspects, and entrees for adults include salads, pasta and sandwiches. Room service is also available.
Beware: Breakfast at the Union Grill is a bit overpriced. The all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet for a family of four could have you paying more than $50 for your morning meal -- and don't expect made-to-order omelets or pancakes and French toast. The options available at the buffet -- scrambled eggs, potatoes, fruit, bacon and those tiny boxes of cereal -- closely resemble the complimentary buffets I've seen at other hotels. Unless you're desperate for the convenience of an on-site breakfast, skip the buffet and take the gang to one of St. Louis' many excellent restaurants.
The Atrium Lounge, open 24 hours, serves drinks in the hotel lobby and broadcasts sports games on large TV's.
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The hotel has coin-operated laundry facilities (which can be priceless on certain occasions), and there's a pretty nice fitness center on site too. In the lobby, there's a special computer set up specifically so guests can print their boarding passes.
When you leave your room to tour St. Louis, make sure you have absolutely everything you need. Here's why: The elevators at Crowne Plaza are painstakingly, almost unbelievably slow. Waiting for the elevator doors to open on one of the higher floors could easily take more than five minutes. Expect numerous stops on the way down, and an utterly packed elevator by the time you reach the lobby. If you get to the bottom and realize that you left a sippy cup in the room, factor 10 to 15 minutes in for the ride up and then back down again on a busy weekend (you probably won't be in a great mood by the time you get back down again). You can avoid this problem by booking a room on a lower level floor and taking the stairs, but you won't get the incredible views available from the higher floors.
If you're not renting a car, getting to and from the hotel is a cinch. Cabs are almost always lined up in front of the Crowne. There's a MetroLink station just a few blocks away that will take you to Forest Park and other attractions (tickets are very cheap: a day pass costs just $7.50). And the airport shuttle, GO BEST Express, stops at the hotel.
Driving? Parking costs $10 per day and $20 per day if you choose valet. It's standard practice for downtown hotels to charge for parking in St. Louis.