By Kristi Ruggles
Before you step out of the car at the entrance to the Hilton St. Louis Frontenac, you know you are in for something special. Try the food, and you will feel confident you’ve come to the right place. Take a peek at a guest room, and you’ll be convinced.
But none of those things, say meeting planners who have used the Hilton St. Louis Frontenac, are what truly make this place unforgettable. The reason they say they’ll go back is that every staff member they encountered seemed singularly focused on making their meeting extraordinary.
Mary Anne Margamaa, manager for outreach services for St. Louis County Library, wrote in a thank-you note to the Hilton Frontenac: “You have a convenient location, you have a great facility, your hotel rooms are beautifully appointed, but the best part of our experience was the dedication of your staff. It made the difference between an ‘okay’ conference and an outstanding, memorable one.”
The Hilton name is tied closely to exceptional service, but even among such service royalty, the Hilton Frontenac has distinguished itself. In 2007, it was named on a Top 25 list among more than 2,700 Hilton hotels for the number of guests who said the staff made them feel welcome throughout their stay.
“It comes down to level of service and quality of staff,” says Al Sedlacek, general manager for the Hilton Frontenac. “That’s how a hotel can distinguish itself.”
The Hilton Frontenac is at Interstate 64/40 and South Lindbergh Boulevard. When the interstate is not under construction, guests can arrive from Lambert International Airport in about 12 minutes and travel from the hotel to downtown St. Louis in roughly the same amount of time. The impact from the 64/40 shutdown has been less of an obstacle than originally thought. Many guests and meeting planners claim that the traffic is flowing more smoothly than anticipated. With the location having direct access to alternate routes and close proximity to other major interstates, guests are able to move about St. Louis more efficiently than initially expected.
The Hilton Frontenac offers 23,000 square feet of meeting and event space. Possibilities for that space include:
• The 10,000-plus-square-foot Ambassadeur Ballroom can seat 1,000
theater-style and 750 for a banquet. The ballroom can be divided into six smaller rooms with capacities of 100 or 150 theater-style, and 100 or fewer for classroom setups and banquets.
• The Clayton Ballroom, which features almost 6,700 square feet of space, accommodates up to 600 theater-style, 450 for a banquet or 275 in a classroom configuration. The Clayton room can be reorganized into four equally proportioned smaller spaces that can accommodate 150 theater-style, 50 as a classroom, 40 in a conference configuration and 90 for a banquet.
• Suite 1500 is a cozy conference room for 10.
• Three rooms, all with names that reinforce the hotel’s French influence, offer space for 75 theater-style, 35 in a classroom setting, 25 for a conference and 40 for a banquet. Two of those rooms, Anatole and Dauphine, have a connecting doorway.
Meeting spaces are equipped with high-speed Internet, and the Hilton works with Swank Audio-Visual to meet clients’ presentation needs. A business center offers meeting participants Internet access, computers and photocopying and fax services.
For overnight guests, the Hilton Frontenac offers 263 rooms, including 37 executive suites. Accommodations include:
• Two phones with data ports for computer hookups and high-speed Internet access.
• Hilton Serenity Beds, featuring the Serta Perfect Sleeper Suite Dreams mattress, down duvet and pillows and 250-thread-count linens.
• 32-inch flat-screen TVs.
• Baths with double sinks.
Other services of note include a multi-lingual staff, complimentary parking, complimentary airport transportation and same-day valet dry cleaning.
Food at the Hilton Frontenac is one piece of the experience that “everyone raved over,” according to a sales and trade show coordinator from Iowa who booked a national conference there recently. Connie Schurbon from Hearth & Home Technologies describes the banquet services as “impeccable” and says the banquet staff went “above and beyond.”
For guests who want a bit of fresh air or a change of scenery, the hotel is across the street from some of the metro area’s finest shopping and dining. At Plaza Frontenac, you can shop at Neiman Marcus or Saks Fifth Avenue, watch a movie at Landmark’s Plaza Frontenac Cinema or treat yourself to a bite of Bissinger’s handcrafted chocolates. Restaurants include a Tuscan grill, southwestern cuisine, a steakhouse and contemporary American.
If you’d like to find out more about the Hilton St. Louis Frontenac, visit www.stlouisfrontenac.hilton.com, where you can submit a pricing request online or book an event. Also available to answer your questions is Director of Sales Kathryn Szwargulski. You can reach her at (314) 824-6035, or by e-mail at [email protected]. MM&E
(Kristi Ruggles is a contributor from St. Louis, Mo.)