Great Getaway A review of Drury Plaza Hotel at the Arch
Spent two nights at the Drury Plaza Hotel in St. Louis as part of an extended weekend getaway, in which we spent a Saturday and Sunday night. Overall, just a great hotel experience. The staff of this hotel is among the friendliest and most accommodating I think I've experienced anywhere. We have two small children, ages 4 years and 11 mos., and we were made to feel welcome from the moment we signed in. A few little quirks...
The hotel garage was full when I checked in (happened to be a Saturday night that also coincided with a Cardinals baseball game--and the hotel was sold out that particular night). So, they gave me a discount voucher to use in the "Stadium East" parking lot, which is just a block away. Unlike a previous reviewer's experience, I didn't have to drive around and search out my own open garage or parking space--they directed me where to go, and it had available parking even though I arrived in the middle of a Cardinal game that was nearly sold out (~45,000 attendance). Plenty of room left on the roof of the garage. And honestly, the lot was so close to the hotel that I think I've parked in some hotel's own lots and STILL was farther from the main hotel than I was at this lot, which was literally a block away. Since I didn't need in/out privileges or access to my car during our stay, it was not a big deal, and turned out to be cheaper than the hotel garage rate: $8 per night instead of $12, which I paid directly to the garage attendent when leaving their garage prior to my checkout. (One thing to watch for: The copy of my bill that was slipped under the door after the morning of our checkout showed a charge of $24 for two nights in THEIR garage. However, when I brought this to the attention of the front desk they apologized and quickly refunded that charge.)
The pool is rather small for a hotel of this size, BUT, it was perfect for our needs (i.e., a 4-year-old boy who loved it.) It's only 4.5 feet deep at the deepest point. They have a lifeguard/attendent on duty at all times (pool hours are 8 to 10 p.m.), and plenty of clean towels to use, etc., plus a nice selection of pool toys such as noodles and balls, etc. Great pool for parents with kids. If you're an adult looking to get a few laps in, you'll be disappointed. But, they do have a nice exercise facility adjacent to the pool with treadmills and bikes, etc.
The hotel is actually composed of three old buildings that were renovated and joined together to form the hotel; each of the old building sections are accessed by different elevators. We had a suite in the south section, which is the smallest "building" at 4 stories high. The pool is on the 8th floor of another section. This means that we had to take the elevator back down to the main lobby, and take another set of elevators up to the pool area. This never was embarrassing as it might have been (we're in flip-flops, wet swim trunks, etc.), as the elevators are far-enough removed from the check-in and public lobby area that it wasn't that awkward. By the way, the elevators at this hotel require you to insert your room key to even call them--nice security feature, I suppose.
The free breakfast in the morning is very nice--pancakes prepared on an open griddle in front of you as you pass through the line, which has suasage and bread, fruit and cereal, etc.. The Sunday morning breakfast was very busy when we went, at about 8:30. In fact, it was difficult to find a place to sit. The following morning (Monday) was probably more typical. Nice assortment of food.
This hotel is very clean, with exceptional staff. However, and I happened to like this, there is not an entire bevy of porters and attendents eargerly waiting to assist you with your luggage etc. Instead, luggage carts are arranged at the front door, and you help yourself up to your room. If you needed help, I'm certain however that just mentioning this to someone at the front desk would get you assistance instantly. But you have to ask.
The room service meals are available through Carmine's, which is one of the restaurants in the hotel. As far as room service meals go, this was very good because the price was simply "expensive" and not "obscenely outrageous" which is more often than not the case with room service meals. In addition to a full menu of entrees, several sandwiches (excellent, by the way) can be had, with sides, for less than $10, including the 20% gratuity. I requested a corkscrew for a bottle of wine that I had brought from home, and they were more than happy to bring one up. In fact, the waiter actually told me that there was no need to give him a gratuity since it was already figured into the bill! When's the last time you ever heard that from a room service waiter?!? (I gave him a tip anyway since he actually opened the wine bottle for me with his corkscrew; plus I was so shocked by his request not to get an additional tip that I felt like he should probably get one! Nice tactic on his part, perhaps.)
Regarding the hotel rate, I booked the room through the Drury website, as the online discount hotel services ALL said that these two nights were not available. After booking the room, I discovered through more searching that I didn't take advantage of some special promotions that Drury was offering. At check in, I explained that I had seen a better rate offered, and the person at the front desk simply asked me what the rate should be. I almost felt like I could've named my own price, but I didn't. Still, it saved me $40 per night, and they accepted it with absolutely no hassles.
Is this a 4-star hotel? Nope, but frankly, when I'm traveling with my family that includes two young children, I don't really want that level of pampering or ostentation. I'd prefer cleanliness and comfort, attentive and friendly service, and a slightly more casual atmosphere that still has the potential to make you shake your head approvingly and go "hey, nice lobby!"
A great place. Not perfect, but certainly one of our better stays.
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