Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A boutique hotel with old English charm that attracts repeat guests
The Cheshire is hard to miss, despite being on a busy road near Forest Park. The telltale beige and dark brown Tudor-style property has stained glass and latticed windows, and a British flag waves proudly over the entrance.
More British-inspired touches are found immediately upon entering: A version of the classic red phone booth (found all over London) is in the foyer. The lobby was barely touched during renovations, and the charming area is filled with antique furniture, Persian rugs and beautiful Renaissance-era paintings. A tea and coffee station is found in the breakfast nook -- guests can enjoy a free hot beverage any time of day. Historical photographs and knickknacks can be found throughout the hotel, and in the winter, the large wood-burning fireplace in the lobby is kept burning from early morning until late at night.
The hotel attracts all types of travelers, including people in town on business, families, couples, groups, and many repeat guests. In the evening, the Fox & Hounds tavern beckons with a cozy ambiance. On nice weather days, drinks can also be enjoyed on the outdoor terrace, or poolside.
A central location close to Forest Park and Washington University
The Cheshire hotel is situated in the upscale Clayton area of greater St. Louis -- about a 15-minute drive to the inner city, and a quick drive to Forest Park and Washington University.
Forest Park is a major draw for locals and tourists, thanks not only to its ample grassy space, but to its art museums, theaters, and golf courses. Guests can bike to the park using one of the hotel's free rentals.
The Delmar Loop is just north of Washington University and is part of a rejuvenated area (once quite seedy) that includes restaurants and music venues such as the Blueberry Hill, a place where Chuck Berry still performs.
St. Louis is a thriving Midwestern city, perhaps best known for the Gateway Arch -- the Gateway to the West. St. Louis has plenty of historic character, which can be experienced by visiting the city's distinct neighborhoods. These areas are quite spread out, and most people will find they need a car while visiting.
Decor successfully combines elements of old and new
For those who consider themselves Anglophiles, the Cheshire delivers, with sophisticated British-inspired style that blends old and new. Decor varies, but many rooms have sophisticated brown leaf patterns on the carpet, pillows, and curtains; dark wood furniture; Tudor-style latticed windows, and bold red color accents. Rooms were renovated in 2011, and come with king or two queen beds. Themed suites have particularly spacious bathrooms. Each room is themed after a different British writer, such as Jane Austen or William Shakespeare, and guests will find a framed summary highlighting the author on the wall, as well as copy of one of his or her books.
Some rooms look out over the pool area, while others look onto the street. Certain suites and rooms have direct pool access, which can be requested in advance.
A seasonal outdoor pool that has a lounge atmosphere on weekends
Next to the entrance of the hotel is the outdoor pool area that was renovated in 2011. It's a chic area -- the black Cheshire emblem is prominently placed on the bottom of the pool, and there are plenty of red lounge chairs and tables for relaxing. On the weekends, there is a bar for poolside cocktails, and live musicians play in the evenings.
During the day, the pool can get crowded with kids, but there are adult swim hours in the evening.
Some rooms open up to the pool area for easy access, while others on higher floors have views.
Great features for families, including a pool, treasure hunt, and kids' backpack with goodies
A cozy tavern serving casual American and English-style pub food
The Fox & Hounds Tavern -- a candlelit room with British-themed decor -- hasn't changed very much in the past few decades and that's how the locals prefer it. During renovations in 2011, the new owners decided to keep much of the original decor and artwork the same, and it remains a charming place to enjoy a meal and drink. A selection of American and English favorites are offered (such as fish and chips, and burgers) for lunch and dinner, as well as options for late-night snacks. Room service from this menu is also available.
The Restaurant is an intimate wine bar and restaurant specializing in locally-sourced menus. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner, as well as Sunday brunch.
Basso is a basement pub with rustic decor, serving up Italian-style gastropub fare. Basso is open for lunch and dinner, and has extensive wine and beer menus.
The Market is the on-site cafe which serves breakfast and lunch, as well as take-out items and novelty treats.
The breakfast room offers free continental breakfast for guests (hot breakfast selections, pastries, juice, tea and coffee) every morning.
Beverages can be served in the cozy tavern, poolside, or on the terrace
Drinks are served nightly at the Fox & Hounds Tavern, and can be enjoyed at the bar or at a cozy table or booth for two. Low lighting, a fireplace, and flickering candles give this space great ambiance for drinks, especially on a chilly night, and it's popular with locals as well as guests. In addition to the normal wine, beer and liquor selection, there are a number of British ales, as well as Irish, American and Scottish whiskeys. The Restaurant and Basso also have plenty of wines and beers on offer.
For warmer months, drinks can also be served on the outdoor terrace adjacent to the breakfast room. During weekend evenings, the outdoor pool and lounge offers a smaller selection of drinks, as well as live acoustic guitar music.
Friendly staff and a number of special touches
A fitness center, free bikes, and easy access to Forest Park
One 14-seat boardroom, and a few less formal spaces for events
There is one boardroom next to the lobby that can seat up to 14 people. It is decorated in the same British theme as the rest of the hotel, and offers audio/visual capabilities.
For small business receptions and gatherings, the lobby and breakfast area (leading to an outdoor terrace) can also be reserved. There is also an outdoor pool and lounge area that is available for private events, as well as a banquet space, Upstairs, which can seat up to 200 people.
Business travelers have use of free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, and there is a free business center located on the first floor.
A boutique hotel with touches of charm and history
The Cheshire's distinct British charm, and special touches in the common areas -- such as antique furniture, classical music, free tea and coffee, and a wood-burning fireplace (a constant in the winter) -- help create a romantic atmosphere. Fox & Hounds Tavern, next to the front desk, has a low-lit ambiance of offers cozy booths.
The hotel can block off rooms for weddings and host pre- or post-wedding events
For couples holding a wedding in the area, the Cheshire -- with 108 rooms and suites -- can offer large blocks of rooms for wedding parties. Guests in the party can also request poolside rooms (including the Romeo & Juliet suite) for direct access to the outdoor pool and lounge area -- this area often has bar service and live music on weekends. During the winter season, the Fox & Hounds tavern is an atmospheric place to hang out after the big event.
The Upstairs banquet area, which can seat up to 200 people, can be booked for weddings and receptions. Bridal showers, luncheons and brunches can also be arranged in various areas of the hotel, depending on preferences and time of year. The events team at the Cheshire can help make arrangements with local catering companies.
The Cheshire has long been a familiar name in St. Louis
There are plenty of photographs and historical knickknacks around the hotel that can help tell the property's history. A St. Louis family by the surname of Apted first opened The Cheshire Inn restaurant (inspired by a visit to London's Ye Old Cheshire Cheese Tavern) at this current location back in the 1960s. Evolving from this, the family sought to recreate the British feel they had experienced abroad, and soon added hotel accommodations. The Cheshire Lodge was furnished with antiques and collections from the family's world travels -- many of which are still in use today. It was a successful venture, and the restaurant, in particular, earned a loyal local following.
In December 2010, the property was purchased by a local company called Lodging Hospitality Management, who envisioned restoring the hotel to its former glory (while adding modern amenities to appeal to a new generation of travelers).
Renovations and additions came in the early 2010s
This historic property went through a major renovation in 2011. Rooms received pillow-top mattresses, flat-screen TVs, and granite bathrooms.
The Cheshire renovated the space directly across from the parking lot that houses a members-only cigar club, called the The Back Room, and The Market, which serves breakfast and lunch. The facility also has two restaurants, Basso and The Restaurant, that opened in 2012, in addition to Fox & Hounds Tavern in the hotel.
ADA-compliant, and able to accommodate groups with special needs
The hotel is located in an upscale area, and has a range of security measures
The Cheshire has long been a St. Louis institution, and the historic property was thoroughly rejuvenated after multi-million dollar renovations in 2011. The classic decor in the lobby and cozy Fox & Hounds tavern were preserved during the overhaul, and the 108-room property retained charming British-inspired elements throughout. Yet modern additions -- such as the chic outdoor pool and terrace, as well as luxe amenities in rooms (flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, pretty duvets) -- add a fresh boutique appeal. Free extras including a continental breakfast, coffee/tea (at all times), use of a fitness center, a business center, free bicycles, and Wi-Fi, help make it a great value.