The Magnolia St. Louis, an SPG Tribute Property
St. Louis, MO | 8th and St. Charles St. | Hotel Review | December 2016
“Stay Independent”, that’s the slogan for Starwood Hotel’s Tribute Portfolio of hotels. Until my stay at The Magnolia in St. Louis, Missouri, I’d never stayed at an SPG Tribute property nor did I ever really consider booking a Tribute property. Independent hotels scare me. Though I might act like an authentic thrill-seeking traveler, when it comes to overnight lodging, I value consistency. Even when SPG Tribute properties were competitively priced and located near the airport, I still booked more expensive Starwood hotels all because I’m terrified of finding myself at some corky independent hotel. However, I broke my longstanding tradition of avoiding SPG Tribute hotels when I came across a fantastic rate at The Magnolia, right here in my hometown of St. Louis, MO.
Why did I need a hotel if I live fifteen minutes from Downtown St. Louis? I was attempting to reach SPG Platinum status by the end of this year, however sadly, my efforts were in vein. Failing to reach Platinum status aside, The Magnolia looked like an appealing hotel located in the heart of Downtown St. Louis. With some Christmas money, I booked a two queen suite and embarked on a fantastic staycation with my parents.
About the Area
Before I delve into the review portion I’d like to take some time to add a very unfortunate disclaimer about the hotel’s location. No, it’s not concerning safety, the central corridor of Downtown St. Louis is quite safe rather, I don’t want visitors to think the area surrounding The Magnolia reflects the Greater St. Louis Area.
My family and I knew that Downtown St. Louis only sees action during Cardinals and Blues games, however, we were still in awe when we drove around the depressing and desolate downtown area. Downtown St. Louis is not like other major cities, it’s not where one goes to enjoy nightlife or take in the local scene. There is some rebirth near Locust and Washington, however, that’s the extent of nightlife and tourism in the Downtown area. If you find yourself in needed of accommodations in the St. Louis area, I recommend either Clayton or the Central West End. Both areas are very lively, border the fantastic Forest Park, and are adjacent to the hip Delmar Loop neighborhood. Downtown St. Louis is not St. Louis!
After a very productive day after Christmas, my parents and I drove east from our suburban home to check-in to The Magnolia. The original plan was to use my Gold status and check-in around 12 o’clock, however, we all went our separate ways throughout the day running errands. So, we ditched the early check-in and checked in around 4:30 in the afternoon.
The desolate, depressing, and deserted landscape made the entire experience of checking into the hotel much less exciting. There was a single person outside in a two block radius of The Magnolia, the valet. Though 4:30 PM is typically a busy time in a hotel lobby with guests checking in or visiting the hotel bar, The Magnolia lobby was empty. There was a single employee at the check-in desk. He was extremely professional and to my surprise, knew a lot about the SPG program. One concern I had initially was that, with The Magnolia being such a new SPG property, the staff wouldn’t know much about SPG benefits. I was wrong and the front desk agent (who shares a name with me, Max 😉 ) offered me a choice of a welcome gift, late checkout, and thanked me for being Gold at SPG Hotels.
2 Queen Beds Suite
The lowest standard rate at The Magnolia was a little under $100 with taxes. Because we had to accommodate three adults, I had to book a room with two beds of course. That brought the rate up to over $200 with taxes and fees. A little steep, however, worth the price as I was table to take 10% off of the rate of a suite and earn a bonus 0f 3000 Starwood points as part of SPG’s suite promotion.
The room was located on the 17th floor (out of eighteen floors, woohoo! high-roller!), which was labeled as an SPG floor. I wouldn’t be surprised if the entire 17th floor was occupied solely by my parents and I. We didn’t see a single guest throughout the hotel and upon checkout, we didn’t see a maids cart cleaning any other rooms on the 17th floor.
The room itself was generously sized, super clean, and had to have been recently furnished. The room was split into three sections; the parlor, the bedroom, and the bathroom. The room reminded me a lot of a much nicer Sheraton Suites room.
The parlor or sitting area was actually quite large. I expected a much smaller area, however, a large couch, lounge chair, desk, TV, and wet bar were all comfortably fit into the parlor area. All furniture was in great shape and the entire room felt clean. I did, however, find the color scheme to be a little underwhelming and boring.
The bedroom features two fairly small queen beds. My mom actually made the comment a few times that “This bed is barely big enough for two people”, prompting her to, in the middle of the night leave my dad for the couch in the parlor area. I also found the beds to be somewhat small. Though small, I managed to get a great night’s sleep. Other than two beds and a TV, the bedroom wasn’t too special though again, I did find it to be very clean and well maintained.
One other complaint was the lack of outlets. There was a single outlet embedded on the bedside lamp and an outlet adjacent to the bed nearest the bathroom. Other than those three total plugs, there wasn’t a single plug adjacent to my bed (nearest the window). I had to remove the power cord to the alarm clock in order to charge my phone. This is by far one of my biggest pet peeves at hotels.
The bathroom actually consisted of a gigantic walk-in closet, vanity, and separate room with the toilet and shower. The vanity was a little dated, as was the shower. However, both areas were clean and I can’t ask for much more than cleanliness when it comes to the bathroom. The toiletries were also interesting as I didn’t recognize the brand, though, the fragrance of all toiletries was amazing.
The Magnolia Hotel Property
The hotel was quite small. I’m not sure it even had a gym which is very odd for a hotel with this many guests rooms in a major city. Though small, the hotel was well kept and incorporated much of the old architecture and structure into the modern furnishing and design. The original windows also remain in place and provide a unique ambiance to the communal seating area adjacent to the front desk. The crown molding upon entry also makes the property appear much more luxurious than the nightly rate would indicate.
Though I couldn’t find a gym or any other facility for that matter, there is a restaurant located in the far back of the lobby. It’s a pretty small space, however, features a full bar and full menu throughout the day. I had breakfast in the hotel restaurant and found both my pancakes and sausage links to be phenomenal.
All-in-all the historical property and well-maintained crown molding and stained glass windows make The Magnolia feel like a fancy boutique hotel which is probably what Starwood Hotels is going for with The Magnolia.
This was a very enjoyable staycation. I was pleasantly surprised with my stay at The Magnolia and was happy to find out that Starwood Hotels recently opened a new property in St. Louis. My family and I enjoyed a fantastic dinner at Cielo with a view of the Gateway Arch and I caught up on some sleep. However, the unfortunate state of Downtown St. Louis can’t be overlooked as this fantastic SPG Tribute property is located in one of the most boring areas of the St. Louis Metro. Still, with standard room rates often under $100, it’s a great value if you ever find yourself in the St. Louis area.