"Urban Chic & Comfy Sleek"
These words on the hotel website, were supposed to lure me. But, I'm usually more drawn to words like, quaint and cozy.
The prices I found on a Groupon Deal for $369.00, also didn't convince me to book a room! But darn I wanted to stay at this place!
I was so drawn to the photos and descriptions of this totally unique, 7-year old hotel. I was determined to find a good price online. I did and I booked a night.
Both Don and I were curious. The Moonrise Hotel didn't exist, back when we lived in St. Louis. We had always loved the quirky Delmar Loop area. In 1979, I did my student teaching at nearby Delmar-Harvard Elementary. Don lived just blocks away when he attended Washington U. But neither of us would have wandered east on Delmar Blvd, past Skinker... where the hotel now sits.
Back in the Day
In the seventies, things got pretty sketchy on Delmar, when you headed east towards the city. A funeral parlor sat on the property where the hotel was later built.
Joe Edwards, who created this whimsical lunar themed hotel, had a big vision and he was good enough to preserve some of that original building. It became the hotel's Eclipse Restaurant.
Don and I arrived last April and were thrilled to have self park options in back.
We grabbed bags and headed towards the lobby in the newer, 8-story building. As soon as we walked through the door I had to grin, when I spotted the glowing, blue staircase on our left.
Floating in Space
As we moved towards the desk, the illuminated stairway changed colors.
I didn't capture the movement of the color change in my photos, but it was quite a lively thing to see. In fact the whole stairway seemed alive, as it floated upward in the clean, spacious lobby.
I love a theme, but many theme related hotels are just corny.
This space theme was so complete and so sophisticated, it did not allow for eye rolling. Just smiling. After all, I was raised on The Jetsons cartoons in the sixties. I love this kind of decor.
Even the desk area was space age.
The light fixtures were obviously cool, but even the design on the front of the desk reminded me of something retro and futuristic. Wait, how is that possible to be both?
More Lamps and Lights
Everywhere we looked there were lights twinkling and colorful, glowing fixtures.
I felt like I was 6 years old again... all bug-eyed, at General Motors Futurama, at the 1964 World's Fair!
There were lots of places for travelers to lounge around, with their newspapers or computers.
And there were goodies for traveling pets as well.
I loved Astro the Dog, steering the nifty chalkboard spacecraft! The names of the V.I. Pooches and Celebri-Kitties were written in chalk.
Joe & His Collections
Owner, Joe Edwards is an avid collector and there were a lot of his goodies and photos and write ups on display! I loved seeing the photo of Joe with astronaut, Neil Armstrong.
It was taken in 2011, 42 years after Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon! I remember being 12 and watching that famous step, on my grandmother's TV!
Toys and Trinkets
I was born in 1957, just months after the Soviet Union's launch of Sputnik. I guess that means I was born during the birth of the space age, so maybe that's why I loved all the lunar toys... dolls, patches, rockets, figurines, and even lunch boxes.
Don and I both grew up watching liftoffs and splashdowns on TV. It's as if this hotel had been designed, just for our generation.
The Retro Stuff...
... just made me smile.
The Modern Stuff...
... was just plain cool! I loved this mirror of circles, near the elevator.
Up to the Fourth Floor
Our hallway was glowing and peaceful.
Our little moon & stars door sign, greeted us.
Just inside the door I began spotting moon art, in our modern room.
To the left, I chuckled when I noticed the sliding glass door that covered the closet. Or did it cover the bathroom? Hmm? It covered both, but not at the same time.
My biggest pet peeve of modern hotels is the glass bathroom door. I don't care if they're frosted or not, the early riser is forced to blast light on the late sleeper in the morning.
But I decided to ignore that complaint, when I saw the sleek chaise lounge chair! Woohoo! I had me a nice time relaxing on that thing, under the moon photo.
The bed was heavenly. Or should I say, Out of This World!
The cushioned headboard was a treat. The huge flatscreen TV and the "sound machine" were extra nice to have.
Our room had a glass corner, which was fun. There was an unsightly roof below, but I chose to look across, at the old storefronts on Delmar.
The best part was peering up at the rooftop lounge. Even with cloudy skies, we were sure to see the spotlight on the rotating moon after sunset!
Don and I checked out the rooftop bar in the evening.
There were some curious crescent moon chairs and a closer view of the funny moon.
New Moon Room
At the east end, there was an enclosed bar with planets hanging from the solar panel ceiling.
That would have been a good option, if the temps had been any cooler.
Evidently they offer moontinis, but we went for some wine. The people-watching was interesting. There seemed to be more young locals than middle aged hotel guests.
Don and I were probably the only Baby Boomers on the scene. I was glad it was Sunday, since I had a feeling the place could get pretty hopping on weekends.
St. Louis View
Before heading off to enjoy The Loop, we took in the view.
What a treat to spot the Arch, out beyond Forest Park. It was beginning to cloud up or we would have waited to watch the moonrise!
This festive-funky area known as the Delmar Loop, was just outside our door.
It was fun to visit our old favorite, Blueberry Hill, where Don and I have enjoyed many a beer, surrounded by rock-and-roll memorabilia. Joe Edwards opened Blueberry Hill in 1972 and has continued building and refurbishing the whole area since.
We wandered and enjoyed more new-retro additions to the Loop, thanks again to this mystery man named, Joe.
Don and I enjoyed the evening, then we enjoyed a late Thai meal, at a sidewalk cafe before turning in.
Next morning, I stepped outside early, to peek at the street before heading to the hotel's gym.
I was just getting started on the treadmill, when I noticed something on TV. I laughed and jumped off the treadmill and dashed right out to Delmar Boulevard.
Walk of Fame
I stood out on the sidewalk right beside TS Eliot's star, on the Delmar Walk of Fame. The St. Louis Star Walk is yet another festive addition, brought on by Joe.
I stood next to the street, which was free of cars, due to barricades for road work. I watched the local Fox TV news with their cameras and lights.
There Was Joe
I had seen him on TV moments before and there he was standing in the street wearing a flowered shirt and holding a vintage model trolley. He was being interviewed about his latest project. The Fixed-Track Trolley, that would soon be traveling from The Loop to Forest Park!
The news crew took a quick break and Joe looked up and waved with a big smile. I laughed over to him about how I'd been in his hotel gym and spotted him on TV. "I LOVE YOUR HOTEL!" I hollered. He laughed and got back to his interview.
It's just a cool, fun place! I'm sure there were many clever people who had fun brainstorming ideas for creating the Moonrise Hotel. But I loved the hotel much more, just knowing it was one person's passion that made this happen... not a corporation... not Disney... not Marriott.
Even if I had not had my brief encounter with Joe, I still would have felt like we'd met! Being a collector of oddball stuff myself, I felt connected to this person who filled the display cases in the hotel!
I love a theme... done well!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!