The New Spirit of St. Louis

Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia - - CONTENTS -

One of America’s most overlooked destinations offers hospitality and the arts on the mighty Mississippi River.

The Midwestern city is one of America’s most overlooked yet vibrant destinations, distinguished by its hospitality, embrace of the arts, and picturesque spot on the mighty Mississippi River. Right now, St. Louis is in the midst of a growth surge, with new hotels, an increasingly global restaurant scene, and reborn cultural institutions offering more reasons than ever to visit.

A Relic Reinvented

After St. Louis’s opulent Union Station debuted in 1894, it served for almost 60 years as one of the country’s busiest railroad terminals, with up to 100,000 passengers rushing through its gold-leafed Grand Hall every day. In the 1980s, the space morphed into a shopping and dining hub. After a US$40 million renovation, the National Historic Landmark building was converted into the 539-room St. Louis Union Station Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton (curiocollection3.hilton.com; doubles from US$229). Now the hotel’s lobby and lounge space, the Grand Hall is still a popular meeting place, where visitors can sample local microbrews and seasonal small plates. Its ornate 20-meter-high ceiling and extensive mosaics draw eyes during the day and serve as a backdrop for the hotel’s 3-D light show at night. Over the next few years, visitors will notice more of the city’s iconic buildings reemerging as boutique hotels— the Angad Arts Hotel takes over the former Missouri Theatre in the fall, and the Last Hotel moves into a shoe manufacturer’s former headquarters in spring 2019.

— SARAH BRUNING

The historic St. Louis Union Station Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton. ABOVE: The Grand Hall’s golden archways form the lobby of the restored St. Louis Union Station Hotel.

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