Take Me Out to the Ballgame. Wait, I’m Already There!

Experience the City from One Location, Steps from the Arch and Busch Stadium

Article by Stacy Ross

It’s the closest hotel to home plate; at 100 yards away, Busch Stadium is an easy walk. If the journey is too arduous, you can always stop for a cold one at Ballpark Village, about halfway into your four-minute trek. Don’t feel like walking that far? The 360 Rooftop bar has a bird’s eye view into the stadium, with finger foods and cocktails within easy reach.

Of course we’re talking about the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark. And as Todd Hotaling, vice president of revenue and marketing likes to say, “You can see the whole city from here.”

The first-floor glass-walled Archview Ballroom has up-close, street-level views of both the Gateway Arch and the Old Courthouse. Guests of the 360 Rooftop bar can see for miles. And in between, the Hilton St. Louis Ballpark Hotel has a wide array of meeting rooms and event space packed into its 26 floors. Rooms in the East Tower overlooking the Gateway Arch were recently redecorated with a Cardinals baseball theme, including pictures of the stadium and players. “It’s really giving guests the feel of St. Louis,” Hotaling said. “It’s the nostalgia associated with baseball.”

Guests in rooms in the West Tower can keep tabs on the game with a direct view into Busch Stadium and Ballpark Village from the higher floors. It is just those views from the guest rooms, the Archview Ballroom, and 360 that make the hotel stand out from the rest, Hotaling said. “If you have a quick meeting and can’t go out and experience the attractions, at least you can look out and see them.”

The views and location are what attracted LaKricia Cox, co-president of the Southeastern Kentucky Heritage Association. The group’s Social Club Reunion is scheduled for Labor Day weekend at the Hilton Ballpark. “We went to several venues downtown and we really liked this location,” she said of their search for a hotel for the event. “It’s really close to the Arch and of course the ballpark.”

A BALLROOM WITH A VIEW

But it was the Archview Ballroom that sealed the deal for Cox. “The room that’s right in front with all the glass,” Cox said. “That was the room that stood out for us, that we’re excited about.”

Cox expects 400 to 600 people to attend the various events that will take place over the weekend. The group will hold its Sunday jazz and gospel brunch in the Archview Ballroom. The weekend will close with a banquet in the Grand Ballroom.

Cox’s advice for meeting planners: schedule as far out as possible. “We did it more than two years in advance,” Cox said. “We didn’t know then [that] the Cardinals were going to be in town. Otherwise the price would have been much higher.”

While this year will be the first at the Hilton Ballpark for Cox’s group, the Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, or the Association of Musicians of Ireland, has held its Midwest Irish Music Festival at the Hilton Ballpark for more than 20 years, most recently in May. The festival draws more than 1,000 people for three days of Irish music and dance competitions.

Because of the variety of concurrent competitions, the group uses more than a half dozen meeting spaces and ballrooms. The location is good, the staff is friendly, and the hotel adjusts to serve their needs, said Helen Gannon, president St Louis Irish Arts, the St. Louis chapter of the association. “The hotel has the amount of space we need,” Gannon said. “It has everything we need, but the most important element is the personal accommodations afforded to us each year.” The festival has signed contracts for the next five years.

The Hilton Ballpark hosts a range of groups and events. With well over two dozen ballrooms, conference rooms and meeting spaces in a variety of sizes and configurations, the hotel can accommodate groups ranging from 12 to 1,500 or more people. Large corporations such as Nestle Purina, Edward Jones and Stifel Nicolaus are regulars. Smaller events include trade association conferences, business luncheons, nonprofit fundraisers and even cosmetology school certification classes.

A package for small meetings with up to 25 participants including breakfast, lunch and snacks, basic audio-visual equipment and meeting supplies starts at $105 per person. An event technology package for meetings up to 100 people starts at $350. Tech services and equipment are also available a la carte. Food options include a continental breakfast starting at $26 per person, lunch buffets ranging from $39 to $49 per person and plated dinners from $57 to $72 per person.

There is no need to worry about being stuck with cookie-cutter menus of stale bagels and rubber chicken. “We have an excellent chef. He’s classically trained,” said Sara Newell, Director of Sales. “The menus are just a guide. We can make something that will knock their socks off. Our chefs love to show off.”

The key to providing the best service is knowing what’s important to the planner and what’s important to the attendees, Newell said. Providing the purpose of the meeting and who the attendees are just makes for better service. “The hardest thing we have to do is when we don’t know what’s going to be on the agenda and what the attendee profile is.”

A BAR WITH A VIEW

Whether an event is coordinated with the hotel below, or exclusively a 360 Rooftop event, Amber Brda is the one who makes it happen.

360 and the hotel work together, said Brda, sales manager for the rooftop bar. “We have our own executive chef; we have our own events menu. For example, if you’re planning a four-day meeting, you’re not going to see the same choices as downstairs. It’s pretty much like going to an off-site event, except it’s here in the hotel.”

Menus focus on tapas and finger foods that are easy to hold as you walk around in a crowd. The venue uses fresh, local products and offers gluten-free, vegan and non-dairy options.

Clients of the 360 Rooftop have included Monsanto, Anheuser-Busch, and Pfizer. Panera wanted an outside-the-box setting for a brain storming session. “You name it we’ve had every sort of organization,” Brda said. “I think it’s because we can customize.” She’s hosted bourbon and wine tastings and has even had clients bring in aerial artists who are suspended from the ceiling. “We’ve had clients contract fire breathers and fire performers and living statues,” Brda said.

360 focuses on semi-private events, when a portion of the venue is private and a portion remains open to the public. Groups range in size from 10 to 300 for a full buy-out. The venue can also be rented during the day when it’s not normally open.

Even in winter months, the patio with a fire pit is always available to guests, “just in case it happens to be nice weather,” Brda said. “December has just not been that cold. We’ve been able to go outside to those fire pits during holiday parties.”

Speaking of holiday parties, Brda said. “That’s what we’re ramping up for right now.” Is it that time already?

 

Stacy Ross is a writer and editor from St. Louis

 

Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark

1 South Broadway

St. Louis, MO 63102

314-421-1776

360 Rooftop

314-641-8842

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.