A Little Bit of England... in St. Louis
The Olde Cheshire has been holding down this corner in St. Louis since it was just a hamburger joint in the 1920's.
Olde World Charm
The Cheshire underwent big renovations a few years ago and I was afraid it would lose some of its kitschy charm. I remembered the place being jam-packed with large European furniture, dark woods and fireplaces... stuffed wild animals and lots of British red!
It did still feel like the old Cheshire. I could smell the smokiness of the fireplaces and I loved spotting the bear in the corner, ready to pounce! From my photos, the atmosphere looks almost formal or stuffy. Really the place is totally relaxed. I'm even tempted to use the word playful. When I stepped into the "business room" where 4 computers were available for guests, I just grinned.
Queen Elizabeth was everywhere. She was posing in old black and white photographs on one wall and staring down from a trio of colorful Warhol-ish images, from another. Besides all the fun Queen stuff, there was a useful assortment of office supplies, at the ready for business travelers.
I could have taken about 15 photos of halls, because they were all so curious and different. Each hall was filled with collections of prints and furniture and interesting molded work on the walls. Every room was named for an author and how I wish we could have had the room with the impressive door frame. The room was named for Beatrix Potter and there was an additional plaque that read: Tale of Peter Rabbit Suite.
Our room was actually very comfortable with quite the grand bed frame. I did however knock my knee into the bulky sharp corner repeatedly. The room was clean and nicely updated, with some clever book related bits here and there.
..like a reading chair, with a good reading lamp. And just in case the room guest should feel a little troubled when it comes to recalling H.G. Wells and what he wrote... there was an actual copy of The War of the Worlds sitting on the table... with a complimentary H.G.Wells bookmark! And look at the bookshelf on the wall. How cool is that? Actually, it's not a shelf. It's a picture of a shelf.
When I tiptoed into the bathroom, I was jolted by the glaring light. So was Don, who woke to the bright spotlight shining through the glass! Who started this glass door trend in hotel bathrooms?
Now Let's Be Positive
A Comfy Evening
I love a hotel where you really don't have to leave for food or entertainment. The Cheshire has a few dining options and we stayed put in our hotel building to enjoy the Fox and Hound pub. There were so many cozy sitting areas and quite a festive atmosphere. (It had just opened when I took this quiet looking photo) Don and I found a corner in the far left and waited for our St. Louis friends Mark and Jeff to join us for the evening.
Talk and Food
Luckily we didn't chose a corner with hard benches, like the picture above... or we wouldn't have been able to sit and talk for a couple hours! The cushy chairs that we did enjoy made it feel like we were sitting in my mom's old house in St. Louis. Mom didn't decorate with strange metal tools and deer heads, but her house was just as comfortable and we needed that for all our catching up. We ordered drinks and a feast of food from our very nice waiter. He got a brief chuckle (or nicely pretended to) out of seeing the Cheshire's recipe for "Spanish Onions en Casserole" from the Ford Cookbook.
It's hard to enjoy everything a hotel has to offer when you only stay one night. In the morning I hurried around peeking at things we didn't have a time for. The pool looked pretty relaxing with lounge chairs and umbrellas and man, how I wish I'd had time for a swim with that lion in the bottom of the pool.
Worst of all we had to be off at 11 and did not have time to have lunch in The Restaurant at Cheshire, in the building next door.
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!