by Astrid Zeppenfeld
The Cheshire, a British architecture-inspired, Tudor style boutique hotel close to Forest Park in Clayton, Missouri, has historically been known primarily as a wedding venue. If you ask native Saint Louisans about the property, chances are they’ll exclaim, “My parents had their wedding reception there!” Or something along those lines. The Cheshire was purchased and renovated by Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM) in 2011 and has three restaurants/meeting venues to offer corporate planners looking to host business functions. Basso, which offers fine Italian cuisine, and Fox & Hounds Tavern, the cozy pub where one might enjoy a fine whiskey to celebrate a recently-achieved business deal.
And then there is Boundary – the amazing event venue at The Cheshire, which offers a total of 6,829 sq. ft. of event space spread out over what is essentially two separate areas: Boundary on the lower level and The Upstairs, which includes a 768 sq. ft. fireplace room for breakout sessions. LHM took a beautiful restaurant that was “just” one of several at a gorgeous hotel property and transitioned it into a stunning, but still intimate, event venue and it was extremely successful. Todd Hotaling, VP of Revenue and Marketing at LHM, discloses, “We found a way to be successful just doing private events in this gorgeous space, and we’re getting a lot of great feedback from clients, so that’s what we’re going to do moving forward.”
Anna Marie Wehr, Client Advocate at Enterprise Bank & Trust, recently booked Boundary for her clients’ round table dinner. When asked to share her experience, Wehr declares:
“I am happy to tell everyone that my experience with you was topnotch, as you strived for the weeks leading up to our event to meet all of our needs and make things as smooth as possible, while also providing input to make our meal an extraordinary experience. The food was delicious, the atmosphere was conducive for our group, and our clients had an exceptional experience. I appreciate you and your team for creating such a great venue for us and our valued clients.”
Hotaling agrees, “Boundary has a second floor, which has always been the event space, and now we have an opportunity to market the entire venue as one event space. We have the huge, open kitchen, where people can have a really cool, chef’s table dinner. We have a lot of different options for setups and functions; it’s such a plush environment, with the booths and different lighting, the full bar and wine rack – it’s just a really unique venue.”
This Boundary is Limitless
Unique is the perfect word to describe Boundary and The Upstairs. One would be hard-pressed to find any venue exactly like it in Saint Louis – one that offers the flexibility of being able to have guests move seamlessly between two completely different settings, all in one building, all at the same event. The intimacy of the space is comparable to a small restaurant, while the floor plan can accommodate 150-200 attendees theater-style and 100 classroom-style for presentations. For a dinner, you can host 150-180, depending on which setup you choose.
Ashley Flanagan, Catering Sales Manager at The Cheshire St. Louis, describes the cuisine as “upscale American”, offering food as eclectic and different, or as basic and dietary-restrictive as the customer wants it to be. Flanagan elaborates:
“If your meeting lasts several days and you have out-of-town guests, we have the hotel next door that offers your attendees discounted rates and complimentary breakfast, in addition to lunch and dinner for your meetings here at Boundary, which are completely customizable. If they want to take it up a notch and do maybe a breakfast buffet, we can do that too.”
As with all LHM-properties, audiovisual equipment is on hand for your business event at Boundary. During the pandemic, when zoom meetings first became the go-to, the company was one of the first ones to ensure access to hybrid meetings, where some guests attended the function in-person and others dialed in through online meeting services. “It’s now part of every proposal we offer; it’s become standard to include a hybrid option and we have been really successful with that”, Hotaling muses. Very much like an add-on menu item when planning a meeting.
Hotaling describes how Boundary differentiates itself from other meeting venues, “You can do your formal meeting with your PowerPoint presentation upstairs, and then you could come downstairs for a really nice happy hour that doesn’t look like you’re in a big box. The atmosphere is fun, with the upscale designs. You just don’t feel like you get lost there, because it’s not just another box that’s been set up with a couple of happy hour bars and big meetings rooms with gray walls.”
“All of LHM’s properties have the capacity to do the hybrid meetings. With our in-house audiovisual team, we understand what the client needs and execute it based on what their goals are, whether they’re including thousands of people on a hybrid model or just a few hundred. We have the majority of the needed equipment on hand; otherwise, we can source it for the client.”
“In looking for a venue for a holiday party (after we were unable to have one last year due to Covid,) we wanted something special, and we found it as soon as we walked into Boundary at Cheshire. Ashley and her team were able to make things easy and special from beginning to end”, confirms Deborah Summers, Office Manager at Municipal Tool & Machinery.
Holding a Meeting This Year with Caution in Mind?
After first being practically shut down in 2020, the meetings and events industry saw a steady increase in in-person gatherings again last year. So far, 2022 has us all well on track to a pre-pandemic return to business functions. Event venues everywhere are booking up fast.
However, not every corporate planner is yet comfortable with scheduling major events in tight, indoor spaces and wants to know more about risk mitigation before embarking on creating meeting schedules through 2022. Flanagan answers, “With The Upstairs, and with Boundary as well, depending on group size, we are more than happy to accommodate social-distancing. In fact, we had a smaller group last week – that group was supposed to be a little larger but decreased because of Covid – and we didn’t even have to change its original setup. It allowed for the group to be spaced out comfortably. Anytime there is a concern; in order to make it as safe as possible for all the guests, we do everything we can to accommodate the client’s wishes. Even adding an outdoor area is not impossible; it just needs to be approved for outdoor seating.”
If you still want to stick solely with outdoor functions this year, you could consider the Sheraton Westport Chalet Hotel with its over 10,000 sq. ft. of outdoor meeting space that has everything needed to put on an outdoor event. “As the weather warms up, we are excited to see the different levels of activation we can help our clients produce with our outdoor space that overlooks the lake at Westport Plaza”, Hotaling remarks.
Astrid Zeppenfeld is MEET Missouri’s editor/business development manager from St. Louis.
About Lodging Hospitality Management
Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM) is perhaps best-known for its Downtown Saint Louis Union Station property. The Aquarium and Wheel attractions at the site draw visitors from all over the United States to Saint Louis. The company also owns and operates 17 more hotel, restaurant, and commercial properties in the Saint Louis area.