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My hotel reviews are typically quite boring, so I’ll start this review of the Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel with a bit of flair and a personal story.
Everyone who truly knows me knows that my favorite movie is The Shawshank Redemption. But they also know that my second favorite movie is Up In The Air, which follows a frequent flyer (played by George Clooney) through his interesting, and at times heartbreaking life. Since my accident, I’ve written Paramount Pictures numerous times, asking them cast me in a second such movie about my own life traveling in a wheelchair. Needless to say, I haven’t received a response.
Much of the filming for Up In The Air was done in St. Louis, which is a city I lived in for a short time. It is also the home of my beloved Cardinals and Blues. One of the locations used in the film is a hotel, the Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel, which is just across Interstate 70 from the airport. It is a property I have frequented for many years when traveling to St. Louis, and I’m excited to finally share it with you.
Location & Transportation
You may ask, why stay at an airport hotel that is 20-minutes drive from downtown? My choice is based on cost, convenience, comfort and familiarity. Regarding cost: the Airport Renaissance is often one-third to one-half the price of hotels that are located in downtown St. Louis, and nightly rates can often be secured for under $100. For the wheelchair traveler, the convenience of a hotel that is close to the airport cannot be understated, since there are no wheelchair accessible taxis in St. Louis. The hotel’s wheelchair accessible shuttle ferries guests between the hotel, airport and metro station at regular intervals. (Note: The accessible shuttle is currently out of service, but a replacement will be ordered in May 2016). The hotel is comfortable, full-service, and staffed by a friendly team that ensures a smooth operation deserving of Marriott’s Renaissance brand.
The MetroLink light rail provides inexpensive transportation from Lambert Airport to parts downtown and to all of the top attractions. Multiple bus routes also serve the airport, and stop just a block from the hotel.
Room Types, Reservation and Check-in
When making a reservation om the Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel’s website, there are three accessible room types to choose from: 2 Queen-size beds with either a roll-in shower or accessible tub (with grab bars), and a King-size bed (Club level room) with roll-in shower. The accessible room with a King bed costs more, as it is on the club/executive floor and includes club lounge privileges. If you’re a solo wheelchair traveler, or are traveling with your partner, I’d recommend asking for an upgrade to the King size room at check-in, and the hotel manager will likely oblige if the room is unoccupied. Because I am a member of Marriott Rewards and hold Platinum elite status in the program, this upgrade is guaranteed to me (if the room is not reserved by another).
The hotel website makes it easy to reserve an accessible room, but the similar feature on the Marriott mobile app is still broken.
Wheelchair Accessible Room Review, #624
In all of my stays at this hotel, I had never taken the pictures necessary for a review. Last month, I corrected that, and present this review of room #624, which features two Queen beds and a roll-in shower.
The two queen-size beds in the room are extremely comfortable, with feather pillows and down comforters. These are the same types of beds that are standard across the Renaissance and Marriott full-service hotel brands.
Wheelchairs can fit between the two beds, which are separated by a nightstand. There was space here for my wheelchair to turn (carefully) in place.
The photograph above offers a closer look at the nightstand and the room’s power outlet situation. Sitting atop the nightstand are the typical phone, alarm clock and lamp. The lamp features two power outlets on its base, but access to the ports are obstructed by the lamp itself. The only device I was able to plug in here was my iPhone, as its plug is very small.
Thankfully, two three-prong power outlets are located on the side of each headboard, along with a USB port. I have zoomed in on this space in the image above. I used this port to plug in my power wheelchair, as the outlets were within reach and extremely convenient. Bravo to this hotel for the abundant access to power near to the beds.
On the wall opposite the beds sits a 37-inch LCD flat-screen television, atop a chest of drawers and a coffeemaker. There is a desk next to the TV, which was tall enough for me to roll under in my wheelchair. Apologies for the dark photos – they were taken at night!
A chair and small coffee table is located against the room’s far wall, between one of the the queen beds and the window. The view from the window is Lambert-St. Louis Airport, so if you’re an aviation geek like me, you’ll enjoy watching the many take-offs and landings.
Turning around from the previous vantage point, you’ll see the room’s interior hallway, with the entry door at the end. The door features a lowered peephole, accessible to persons seated in a wheelchair. To the left is the bathroom door, and to the right is a small closet with an iron, ironing board, and space to hang clothes. There is no in-room safe, but I have never had any of my expensive electronics or personal effects disappear in more than 10 stays at this hotel.
Peeking into the bathroom in the photo above, you’ll see the sink and a toilet surrounded by grab bars. Unfortunately, there is no space for a wheelchair to sit directly beside the toilet, so you’ll have to park your wheelchair and transfer from the front of the toilet. Towels are hung on the grab bar, with hand towels hung just above on a towel bar. Both are within reach from a wheelchair. The sink offers plenty of space to safely roll under.
The roll-in shower is spacious, with grab bars on the walls, a drain close to the showered, and controls that are within reach. There is no built-in shower chair, but the hotel provides a sturdy, portable one with a comfortable seat and seatback. There is a curtain installed, which will protect your wheelchair (and the rest of the bathroom!) from runaway water.
Norah’s Crafted Food & Spirits
The hotel restaurant is located on the lobby level, ground floor. The restaurant has a nice ambiance and is connected to the lobby bar. At breakfast, there is an excellent buffet, or you can choose to order from the menu. I recommend trying the toasted ravioli in the afternoon or evening, which is a St. Louis specialty that is prepared quite well by the hotel.
Executive Club Lounge
The hotel’s executive lounge is on the 11th floor, where all of the club rooms are located. The lounge offers a good (and free!) breakfast, evening hors d’oeuvres, snacks throughout the day, and non-alcoholic drinks. Alcoholic beverages are available at night through the honor bar.
Access to the lounge is provided to all guests on the club level, as well as Gold and Platinum elite members in the Marriott Rewards program.
The Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel offers everything I need to create an accessible stay, and is my first choice when visiting St. Louis. Although there are benefits to staying downtown from a tourist perspective, I prefer the cost savings and enjoy the metro ride into the city. My comfort and familiarity with the hotel staff makes the Renaissance a great choice. It was also the setting for one of my favorite movies and I figure – if its good enough for George Clooney and Ryan Bingham, it’s good enough for me!
Want to visit the Gateway to the West in your wheelchair?
Read my St. Louis Wheelchair Accessible Travel Guide!