The Second Downtown: Clayton

September 26, 2004

 

Clayton has it all … by not by chance. Its city leaders, educators, business owners and residents have devoted themselves for years to making this St. Louis County community the envy of its peers. With 75 restaurants in a 2.5-mile radius, seven million square feet of active corporate office space, beautiful Shaw Park, 1,000 hotel rooms, art galleries, world-class public art and nationally renowned events, this city – which is the county seat — is bursting with style and panache.

Judy Kekich, the city’s communications coordinator, notes that the city is a trendsetter, with services that are cutting edge.

“Clayton is the place to see and be seen,” she says. “Quality begets quality.”

Some of the country’s top corporations make Clayton their home, including Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Graybar Electric, Sara Lee Bakery Group, Apex Oil, Furniture Brands International and Brown Shoe. Clayton is home to some of the area’s top restaurants, and dining choices run from funky Tex-Mex in a quirky atmosphere to the venerable Grill at the Ritz-Carlton. Except on the coldest, wettest nights, diners may be found throughout the streets of Clayton, dining café-style under beautiful awnings or umbrellas. It is urbane and urban at the same time.

Shopping in Clayton is an absolute pleasure, whether you are looking for a chic dress for a special night or the perfect antique for your home. Many of the area’s cutting-edge shop owners find their way to Clayton, where shoppers may browse, stop next door for coffee, shop some more and walk across the street for lunch … and then shop some more! If malls are more your thing, St. Louis’ fantastic Galleria is just moments away, and many of the hotels provide some type of shuttle service.

Beauty Everywhere
Sculpture of international significance, such as Ernest Trova’s Walking Jackman a the intersection of Brentwood Boulevard and Maryland Avenue; Rod Baer’s Dancing Chairs at the Clayton School District’s headquarters in Shaw Park; and Carl Milles’ Folke Fylbyter on loan to the City of Clayton from the Saint Louis Art Museum and installed in1996 in front of Clayton City Hall; and more blend with the city’s architecture to create a unique and inspiring outdoor experience.

Additionally, to enhance the community’s streetscape, the Clayton Art Commission asked artists throughout the country to submit proposals for site-specific original artwork to be applied to plain, aluminum traffic control boxes.  Eighteen in the City’s central business district have been painted.  The designs, which appear on traffic control units along Bonhomme, Brentwood, Forsyth and Maryland, enhance the ambiance of downtown Clayton.

To take a self-guided tour of all of Clayton’s public art, call the office of Economic Development 314-290-8473 for a brochure and map.

Accommodations
Planners need look no further than Clayton to meet or exceed a client’s wishes. Clayton’s six hotel properties run the gamut from top-of-the-line luxury to quaint, historic inns. Following is a brief description of each property.

Clayton on the Park. Overlooking Shaw Park, this full service hotel and residence offers restaurants, boutiques, galleries, offices and great recreational activities, all within walking distance. The 23-story tower features a mix of residential, commercial, fitness and business centers. Hotel suites feature 9-foot ceilings, operable windows, washer/dryer hook-up, high speed internet, full kitchens, separate bedrooms, individual baths and walk-in closets. For more information, visit www.claytononthepark.com or call 314-721-6543.

The Daniele. Recently rated by Travel and Leisure as one of the top three hotels in the St. Louis area, The Daniele is conveniently located in the central Clayton area, yet surrounded by lovely neighborhoods. The hotel offers free parking, an outdoor pool, and shuttle service to and from major companies and shopping in and around Clayton. For more information, call 314-721-0101 or toll-free 800-325-8302.

Radisson Hotel Clayton. This property recently completed renovations to 200 spacious guest rooms, featuring executive and presidential suites, Business Class rooms and heart-shaped Jacuzzi Honeymoon suites. The hotel offers its guests free continental breakfast from 7 to 9 a.m., complimentary stretch limousine service to and from the airport and Metrolink, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, complete health club and an attached gated, covered parking garage. With its Grand Ballroom and variety of function rooms, the hotel can accommodate groups from 5 to 600 persons. For more information, call 314-726-5400 or 888-870-6556.

The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis. The Four-Star/Four-Diamond Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis is located in the business section of Clayton, halfway between downtown St. Louis and Lambert International Airport. In addition to its 269 guest rooms and 32 suites, the property features a fitness center with an indoor pool, a wine room, cigar club and sushi bar. Included on Conde Nast Traveler’s Gold List, the property has a variety of meeting and function space. For more information, call 314-863-6300 or toll-free 800-241-3333.

Seven Gables Inn. A National Historical Landmark, the Seven Gables features 32 charming, European-style guest rooms and suites appointed in country French furnishings, plush comforters, thick and thirsty towels, terry cloth robes and hand-milled French soaps. Seven Gables is a member of Sterling Hotels, a group of the world’s finest hotels and restaurants, and was recently ranked as one of the “Best Hotels” in St. Louis by Travel and Leisure Magazine, and one of America’s most romantic inns by Vacation Magazine. Zagat rated the property one of the top three in the state. For more information, call 314-863-8400 or toll-free 800-433-6590.

Sheraton Clayton Plaza Hotel St. Louis. Relax and enjoy our beautifully renovated 257-room Sheraton Clayton Plaza. Located in the heart of Clayton and surrounded by many excellent shops and over 75 restaurants. The Sheraton Clayton Plaza features over 18,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space, complimentary airport shuttle, covered guest parking and our indoor pool, whirlpool and fitness center.  For more information, call 314-863-0400 or toll-free 800-325-3535 or visit www.sheraton.com|clayton.

Major events
Nationally respected events take place annually in Clayton, including the Saint Louis Art Fair, which was named the number one fine art fair in the country by the Art Fair Sourcebook, 2003 edition, and the Harris List.  The art fair traditionally takes place in September.

The U.S. Bank Saint Louis Jazz Festival is held in late June in Shaw Park. This festival is fast becoming one of the “not-to-be-missed” jazz festivals in the Midwest.

The wonderful Taste of Clayton recently celebrated its 12th year of enticing thousands to Shaw Park with its delectable offerings of food and beverage. Held on the first Sunday in June annually, the event is sponsored by the Clayton Restaurant Association and the city.

Chic, sophisticated, cutting-edge and beautiful, Clayton offers planners tremendous choices all year long. Its many hotels and restaurants offer interesting settings for a variety of meetings and events, and its shopping, entertainment and cultural options extend the experience to an unparalleled level. MM&E

 

About the author

Joe Clote

Joseph W. Clote is owner of Publishing Concepts, LLC a communications and marketing firm based in Saint Louis, Missouri. Mr. Clote is Group Publisher of MeetMed™ and Missouri Meetings & Events™ (MM&E) magazine, a quarterly publication read by thousands of meeting and event professionals, and producer of the St. Louis and Kansas City trade shows under the MM&E name. Mr. Clote has extensive sales and marketing expertise in the travel, tourism, fine art, insurance, and software development industries.