*Editor's note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Carl Essen's city of residence. He is a Ballwin resident. This article has been updated to reflect the correct city.
Earlier this month, curious St. Louis residents descended on hotel in Richmond Heights to take advantage of an open house and tour the newly renovated public spaces and guest rooms.
They weren't disappointed. The facility opened and St. Louis City.
Guests first gathered in the main lobby and breakfast area. They sipped lemonade and complimentary . The portion of the hotel in which they stood opens out onto the covered Clayton Court Yard.
In the adjoining Captain Burnaby's Travelers' Den—named after an 18th century travel writer—attendees listened to live harp music and admired the standing guard over the room.
Outdoors, visitors gathered around the newly renovated and heated swimming pool. They took advantage of mild temperatures and food service from the Fox & Hounds Tavern, which also offers food service to the Clayton Court Yard.
The highlight of the tour: The guest rooms. Each of the 108 rooms bears the name of an English writer. Six novelty suites are individually decorated in the theme of famous novels or characters. The E. M. Forster Passage To India suite, for example, features period décor and decorations from the Far East, while the Ian Fleming James Bond suite sports retro modern décor accentuated with Bond artwork that hangs on the walls. Several of the suites open directly onto the outdoor pool area.
The Fox & Hounds tavern remains intact and features English manor décor, overstuffed chairs and a warm fireplace. The menu is new though, and features traditional English pub fare such as Nottingham Cheese and Pate ($14), Bangers and Mash ($9), Bristol Lamb Sliders ($9) and the Cheshire Burger ($12).
Visitors liked what they saw.
“It's a fine improvement from years ago,” said Carl Essen, a Ballwin* resident who stopped by to tour the renovated inn. “It's bringing excitement and openness to the neighborhood. It connects Richmond Heights and Clayton with the city.”
The owners are excited by the renovations and future of the hotel.
“It's a great location, which makes us attractive to any area,” said Robert O'Laughlin, who is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM). The company owns The Cheshire. “It's a unique hotel, one of only two boutique hotels in St. Louis—the other being the (in Clayton), which we own as well.”
LHM also owns several other hotels under the Hilton, Sheraton, Doubletree and Holiday Inn banners.
The renovations so far have cost $8 million, and work on the restaurant portion of the facility could bring the total cost to $24 million, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The owners plan to develop a restaurant village with a destination dining establishment, a breakfast location and possibly a market. They have been in negotiations about the possibility of moving nationally recognized Tony's restaurant from downtown into the new facility, which lies in St. Louis City.
The projected cost of the project was the farthest thing from O'Laughlin's mind during the open house. He beamed like a proud father.
“The Cheshire has a great history, and this renovation is bringing it back,” O'Laughlin said.
The Cheshire Inn is located at 6300 Clayton Road, St. Louis, MO. For more information call (314) 647-7300