Best Hotel

The Cheshire

Apparently, the $8 million makeover the Cheshire received back in 2011 just wasn't enough for some people, like New York-based art critic Michael Wilson who sniffed in Artforum, "The mock-Tudor facility had apparently been designated officially historic, a reward for having survived unnumbered stag parties and family getaways since as far back as the mid-1950s." Harumph. Guests who aren't insufferable prigs will find much to appreciate at the Cheshire, starting with its location, which abuts the city limits on the edge of our beloved Forest Park. The rooms themselves are swathed in classic jewel tones and accented with leaded- and stained-glass windows, while the larger novelty suites are an English literature major's dream with names such as "James Bond" and "Brideshead Revisited." Dining options abound, and all are excellent: James Beard Award winner Patrick Connolly helms casual-cool Basso in the basement, while upstairs the Restaurant at the Cheshire is a gorgeous, more formal affair led by Rex Hale, who's also the executive chef at downtown's chic Three Sixty. Plus, the Market at the Cheshire is a picnic-perfect choice for take-away foodstuff, such as sandwiches, cheeses, mix-and-match six-packs, wine and more, or the Fox & Hounds Tavern can assemble a picnic basket ahead of time, complete with a blanket. There are also freebie bikes to use, live poolside music during the summer and a farmers' market on Saturdays. That cool $8 mil seems like money well spent to us. Rooms start at around $100 a night.

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