Need HELP choosing a hotel for summer trip to St. Louis

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by sleepymomof4, May 25, 2010.

  1. sleepymomof4

    sleepymomof4 Mouseketeer

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    SO overwhelming with all of the nearby areas and hotel choices!
    If we are planning, zoo(for sure), Grants Farm, The Arch and some shopping(St. Louis Mills looks good?) What hotel or areas are good and bad, not super picky but want clean(and pool is a must) It will be 4 adults, 3 children. Also with kids ages, 8, 6, and almost 3 which would you choose, Science Center or Magic House? or City Museum because of The World Aquarium? Thank you so much I can mapquest until I fall over but maybe someone who knows the area can help!
     
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  3. Melynny

    Melynny DIS Veteran

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    Dont' forget the Butterfly House, The St. Louis Botanical Garden, The St. Louis Science Center. Also, a bit out there is Purina Farms and Lone Elk Park. I don't have any idea about a good hotel.. maybe some other posters can help with that.. The Mills are ok... it's pretty nice.. not spectacular. I would think a hotel that is centrally located would be good, but the ones downtown would be more expensive.:hippie:

    Adding,the Planetarium is fun too!
     
  4. robinsegg

    robinsegg DIS Veteran

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    I would choose the Science Center (my family has a membership). It's close to the zoo, free to get in (there are fees for some things) and has lots and lots to do! The Magic House is good (don't get me wrong), but for the price, I prefer the Science Center.
    St. Charles has a lot of good areas for hotels. Or you could look at a chain (like Ramada and Holiday Inn) in Illinois, but steer clear of East St. Louis (not a good area).
     
  5. robinsegg

    robinsegg DIS Veteran

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    I would choose the Science Center (my family has a membership). It's close to the zoo, free to get in (there are fees for some things) and has lots and lots to do! The Magic House is good (don't get me wrong), but for the price, I prefer the Science Center.
    St. Charles has a lot of good areas for hotels. Or you could look at a chain (like Ramada and Holiday Inn) in Illinois, but steer clear of East St. Louis (not a good area).
     
  6. deerhart

    deerhart DIS Veteran

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    your really all over the place. Are you familiar with St. Louis at all? If so that will open up your options. Otherwise, you need to stick close to your main targets and close to major roads.

    St louis is set up in semi circles (north south) flaring out in a cone shape (east west).

    The first circle is I-170 and is roughly the border between St. Louis city and St. Louis County. Forest park, which holds the science center, Art Museum, Zoo, and History museum which are all free to get in, sits along this border. If your focus is Forest Park, your going to want to look for a hotel in the Wash U, Brentwood area. Clayton will have nice hotels with a higher price but is also appropriate for that area.

    The Magic House is down in Kirkwood and can be fun to find if your unfamiliar with the area (though easier now with the expansion). Off hand I can't think of any nearby hotels.

    Grant's farm is really far south and you will probably not want to stay out in that area (its just too remote).

    If your interested in things in downtown St. Louis or Forest park, I wouldn't stay in St. Charles, its way to remote to be useful. As far west as I would go is Westport (which is about 10 minutes east of the St. Charles area). I also would not stay in Illinois as dealing with traffic crossing the river is way to much of a PITA. Especially since there has been tons of construction on the bridges. There is always traffic lined up coming across from Illinois.

    You might also check downtown St. Louis. I know the Hilton is always running specials as are other Downtown hotels.

    St. Louis Mills, is way out in the middle of nowhere, but is about 10 minutes from Westport. Where to go shopping really depends on what your looking to shop for. West County Mall is probably the best now a days and after that will come the Galleria in Brentwood or Chesterfield Mall in Chesterfield.

    The Butterfly house is out in Faust Park (near Chesterfield Mall) and also has the St. Louis Carousal.

    If your coming before June 28th, The Shakespeare Festival is free in Forest Park and runs almost every night. This year they are doing Hamlet.

    You might also check the dates your coming and The Muny (the cheapest guaranteed tickets are like $8 per person) to see if you would want to take in a show (it is a WONDERFUL experience!!).

    Downtown, Westport and I-44 seem to be the main thoroughfare for hotels that are right on the main roads. Hotels that are off the main roads can greatly increase your traffic times due to stop lights, rush hour etc..
     
  7. sleepymomof4

    sleepymomof4 Mouseketeer

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    Thank you for the replies so far. I knew that all of these places were not in one close area of each other, we don't mind driving a bit to get to places. That is why I wondered what the best area to stay was without getting one direction or another too far out. When doing a search I get such a broad array of hotel names and areas and without knowing roads to avoid and traffic situations Iam grateful for the opinions of people who know. Thank you so much.
     
  8. NotUrsula

    NotUrsula DIS Veteran

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    Your youngest is a bit young for City Museum; it can be dangerous for kids that little, and it's hard for adults to follow through some of the tunnels.

    For the most central location, I would suggest the Drury Inn & Suites at Hampton and I-44 (listed as the Drury Forest Park) for the Zoo, the Science Center, the Garden, and downtown; it is also on the Hill, which means great food nearby, and is less than 10 minutes to Ted Drewes, too. You can go a mile north on Hampton to the Zoo/Forest Park area to get on I-64 Westbound to head for the Butterfly House (in Chesterfield) or the Mills (in Hazelwood). You can also go west on I-44 to Kirkwood to the Magic house easily from there. (There is also a well-located Hampton Inn on I-40 near the Science Center, but they don't have as many guest freebies as the Drury.)

    Stay away from the 270/Dorsett area until the end of June; they are rebuilding the highway interchange.

    There are folks here who will suggest the Drury in the Chesterfield Valley; that is way west of most of the places you are going, and the area's big draw is the World's Largest Strip Mall (I kid you not; it is.) The only tourist thing out that way is the Butterfly House. If you like chain stores, chain restaurants, and a lot of highway driving, then you'll like Chesterfield; otherwise I'd advise staying inside the 270 Loop if at all possible.

    PS: There are a lot of specials running at the downtown hotels because they often have vacancies except on major event weekends, but other than the Arch and City Museum you don't seem to be focusing on the Downtown area. Mid-City would probably suit you best with kiddies in tow. There are several hotels in Clayton, as someone else pointed out, but those tend to be the highest-occupancy in the area, with consequently high prices, though there are sometimes decent specials on weekends. For a group this size, it probably is worth looking at the Residence Inn in Richmond Heights -- it is right at the junction of I-64 and I-170, across from the Galleria.
     
  9. deerhart

    deerhart DIS Veteran

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    There's a Drury Inn out at Boone's Crossing? I know there is one right in front of Chesterfield Mall at Clarkson, but the only hotel I have noticed out at Chesterfield Valley is the Comfort Inn (only because I pass by it twice a day M-F going to and from work).

    Chesterfield Valley shopping is nothing more then you get at home (target, walmart, best buy, michaels, lowes, home depot etc..) but its got some decent places to eat and (at least for me) easier to get to then anywhere else.

    The only problem with taking Hampton into Forest Park is the new round about they put in causing tons of traffic jams there when trying to get into Forest Park. As for the overpass at Dorset, its really to early to tell how its going to affect traffic. The news last night seemed to indicate that it didn't make a blip in rush hour (but 270 between Manchester and 70 is horrible during rush hour anyways).

    Oh someday we will be relatively free from Construction (not)!
     
  10. nexttrip4us

    nexttrip4us How many times is too many?

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    Another vote for Drury Inn & Suites...just find one that location wise works for you. We stayed at the Forest Park one I believe a few years ago when it was brand new. LOVED it and have since stayed at other Drury Inn and Suites and enjoyed them as well.

    Have fun!
     
  11. ICF

    ICF DIS Veteran

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    There is a Hampton Inn (Sunset Hills, I think it is) that is about 5 mins from the Magic House, straight down the road it MH is on.

    We've stayed a number of times in Brentwood at the Spring Hill Suites, and found that to be a good location and a nice hotel. We can be to the Magic House, downtown, Grantsfarm, Forest Park (Science Ctr, Zoo) in 15 - 20 mins tops....maybe even less now as the highway construction I think is done.
     
  12. NotUrsula

    NotUrsula DIS Veteran

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    Yes, I meant the one at Clarkson; AFAIC, that's the gateway to the Valley. (I'm a city girl. IMO, anything west of Clarkson and east of the Missouri River bridge counts as the Valley. Same flood basin.)

    The thing with the roundabout at the Zoo is a bit ridiculous, but it's easily avoided if you're coming north on Hampton from 44. All you have to do is turn left from Hampton at the Steak & Shake onto West Park Avenue, then right on Tamm (2 blocks W). Once you reach Oakland (4 blocks North), check right in front of you at Turtle Park to see if there is any free parking open, and if not, turn left and go over the Tamm Ave. highway bridge to the Zoo's South parking lot.
     
  13. bop28

    bop28 <font color=green>Just Say No!...to the $12.00 Can

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    We love to go to all the places you mentioned, and like to stay west of I-270 in Chesterfield. Either the Doubletree or Marriott are great. We use Priceline to bid on that area and have never paid more than $45 a night [not including tax]. It is a straight shot East on 64/40 to Forest Park to the zoo and museum or science center and further east to the Arch. :)
     
  14. FoundMyPrince

    FoundMyPrince DIS Veteran

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    Another vote for Drury Inn. They have a good breakfast - and that can save you some $$ in the long run. And, they don't charge for parking!!
     
  15. Alesia

    Alesia DIS Veteran

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    Check hotwire.com - last month, we got a room at the Hilton at the Ballpark for $59. I would look for something in Forrest Park.

    The City Museum is awesome, but I wouldn't take a 3 year old. Honestly, I'd be iffy about the 6 year old. Also, I betting that the World Aquarium is not what you have pictured.

    Unless you really need to do some outlet shopping, I'd skip St. Louis Mills.

    How long are you planning on staying?
     
  16. MrsPooh

    MrsPooh DIS Veteran

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    Don't let these comments scare you off at all. There is not ALWAYS traffic lined up to get here from Illinois. The Mills is not "out in the middle of nowhere", St. Charles is not "remote" and the area around Grant's Farm is not really "too far south" or "remote". These comments make it seem like these places are sitting the middle of corn fields or something. While the things you are planning are not all close to each other they are not that far apart if you don't mind a bit of driving. For example, from "remote" St. Charles the Zoo is about 40 minutes. Downtown to Grant's Farm is likely 20 - 30 mintues. Really, if you stay anywhere near any of the highways, most of St. Louis will be easily accessible.

    The downtown hotels using priceline might be best but don't forget that you'll be paying for parking. Some of the airport area hotels are nice and although they charge for parking it is usually cheaper than downtown. Westport would be great except for the current road construction but that might not be too bad for you to deal with. Overall, I would suggest you look at a map and try to stay in the central area and not too far outside the Hwy 270 boundary for the best driving time situations. St. Charles is nice and does have some things to do that might be good for your family so if you don't mind the drive the Embassy Suites in St. Charles might be a good choice.

    Now truthfully, on the topic of The Mills, it depends if you are really wanting to shop or if you are looking for entertainment on top of shopping. The Mills has some great activities for families but if you are only shopping, West County or The Galleria are better choices.

    Have fun.
     
  17. Pastamom

    Pastamom DIS Veteran

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    Drury Inns are great - We've stayed at the one by Union Station. We also stayed at the Marriot at Union Station. That was nice too and had an outside pool.

    I vote for City Museum. Magic house is fun for young kids too.

    We've done the zoo and botanical gardens - both are nice.

    There are also some great restaurants near the arch (can't remember the name of the area though)

    We took are boys then 6 and 8 and they loved it - they still want to go back.

    Any hotel you choose you will have to drive. We didn't find the traffic all that bad...
     
  18. deerhart

    deerhart DIS Veteran

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    um the Mills IS in the middle of fields LOL. But yes St. Charles, Grants farm etc are all remote. Grant's farm is not easily accessible from a major thoroughfare. St. Charles is an ABSOLUTE disaster of construction right now and is a major pain to get around both 94 (1st capitol) and 5th street (I know I drive it multiple times every week)

    Heck where I live is really remote when it comes to getting to the places she is traveling to.

    40 minutes from St. Charles to the Zoo is pretty much 0 traffic. After rush hour, it takes me a good 35-40 minutes to drive from the Court house in Clayton to my office in O'fallon and that's without having to navigate Forest Park or all those stop lights (its straight small bit of Forest Park Parkway, to I-170 north, to 70 west).

    When considering driving, it's not pure distance, but also traffic, stop lights etc..

    As for the traffic coming from Illinois, I haven't driven across the river at any time recently that wasn't backed up coming from Illinois. Didn't matter time of day, day of the week, it was a mess. Especially the poplar and everyone lined up to try to take the 70/44 exit due to the nasty turn.

    Remote doesn't just mean desolate or empty. Remote also means far away or out of the way.
     
  19. deerhart

    deerhart DIS Veteran

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    probably lacledes landing, though its not family friendly after about 8:30pm.

    The Old Spaghetti factory there is amazing and always packed, especially if there is a day baseball game (no reservations)
     
  20. SarahKate

    SarahKate DIS Veteran

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    Another Drury lover here, and yes, I'm one of the ones who another said will recommend the one in Chesterfield. We don't even really do much in Chesterfield, it's just easy to get to off of I-64. There's another one on Olive right off of I-270 that was just remodeled a few years ago that would be a little closer to some of the attractions. We stay there (mostly Chesterfield) several times a year, do tourist activities all OVER the city and have no problem whatsoever driving a bit. Haven't stayed at the new one in Forest Park - I'm sure it's awesome, but probably more expensive because it's in the midst of tourist attractions. Most of the popular attractions are extremely easy to get to, especially if you have a GPS, and located right off of interstates. Grant's Farm is off the interstate a bit, but NOT hard to find.

    I personally have no inkling to stay downtown. There's not that much downtown IMHO and you'll have to pay parking.

    Magic House and Science Center for sure. I totally agree with other posters, City Museum may be a bit much for your 3 year old. Have heard of some kids getting injured there too.

    Here's an article I wrote a while back that has family friendly places to go, eat, shop, etc. http://springfieldmoms.org/st-louis-day-trips-and-attractions/

    You can find coupons for buy one get one free for Magic House & also Butterfly House. Be sure to get those printed!

    As for St. Louis Mills, it's ok. We've been going there since it first opened and there's been some amount of turnover. Don't go in the evening, because it really changes - lots of teenagers who aren't always very nice. It's not a bad drive at ALL to go to The Mills, however, someone previously mentioned construction in the area so that's something to look at.
     
  21. LizinSTL

    LizinSTL DIS Veteran

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    Check out Drury Inns.

    There's a newer location @ Hampton and I-44. Close to zoo, science center and about 20 min from Grants Farm and 10 min from the magic house.

    With a 3 yo in tow, I'd look at zoo, sci center, grants farm and magic house- skip the city museum.

    Shopping? The Mills is ok, but I prefer West County or Chesterfield. Don't bother with Crestwood (even if it's the closest mall on your gps!)

    What type of shopping do you want to do? What kind of malls/shopping do you have in your own area?


    Grant's Farm is only about 8 miles from the Drury at 44 and Hampton (Sulpher) (it'll take less than 20 minutes.) It's not remote, by any stretch of the imagination. No worries there. But there aren't great hotels very close to it.
     

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