Make Your Stay in St. Louis an Experience with Tuxedo Park STL
By Rachel Huffman
Imagine a quiet street in a charming neighborhood lined with three unique – yet connected – limestone buildings: a Dutch Colonial house, a round Akron Plan auditorium and a shingle-style Queen Anne house – the oldest of which was built in 1895.
Once a community center funded by the neighborhood, the building complex has hosted multiple congregations over the years, with the last service being held in 2005. After that, it was abandoned, slowly crumbling until Maureen Elliott and her husband purchased the property in 2016.
For the next two years, Elliott was consumed by historical research, design plans, red tape, demolition, restoration and inspections until she was finally able to welcome guests at her luxury bed-and-breakfast, Tuxedo Park STL, in Webster Groves.
As you enter Tuxedo Park STL, Guinness and Murphy, two loveable Labradors who were born on St. Patrick’s Day, greet you with wagging tails and the occasional bark. To the right, you’ll find the front desk, and to the left, the space opens into a massive kitchen and dining area featuring a 10-person counter that mimics the curve of the structure. Without linear walls, the Akron Plan style aims to bring people closer together.
“Most people don’t know what to expect when they book a room at this B&B in the middle of an urban area,” Elliott says, “and I love watching their faces when they come through the door because they’re usually blown away by the interior.”
Past the kitchen and a cozy reading area with two leather armchairs and a crackling fireplace, you enter the Dutch Colonial house. Original stained-glass windows drench the room in natural light, and despite the open concept and high ceilings, the space feels snug and peaceful. An elevated platform holds a 20-person table, and the living room is spacious enough for families – and dogs – to play.
There’s a second fireplace surrounded by built-in bookshelves, as well as a player piano – a self-playing piano – which has given guests quite a fright in the past.
“One time, I turned on the Phantom of the Opera score and then went downstairs to clean,” Elliott explains. “While I was out of the room, a couple walked in; they heard the piano playing but didn’t see anyone playing it, so they hightailed it out of there and called me from their car. I had a good laugh that night.”
Each of the four rooms upstairs has its own personality – plus, an en suite bathroom and an electric fireplace. Two of the rooms also have access to a breezy terrace surrounded by mature trees.
“We have a room for everyone,” Elliott says. “In my opinion, there’s a perfect option whether you’re traveling alone, as a couple or as a family.”
Here, Elliott delves into the details of the renovation that restored the site of Tuxedo Park STL, which is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the outstanding experience that she provides to all her guests.
In 2016, the building complex, which now houses Tuxedo Park STL, underwent a historical renovation. What did that entail?
The buildings were in a state of disrepair. The roof had collapsed. The animals had moved in. The mold had started growing. The clear glass was broken, but thankfully, all of the stained glass was intact. So, it was a matter of carefully dismantling the property and saving what could be saved; then, we restored or replicated every other detail. I know where the old meets the new, but guests have never been able to tell just by looking at the rooms.
Today, what are your favorite features of the building complex?
The original carpentry in the big room is impressive; it’s purposeful art. The trusses, in particular, are gorgeous. Trusses are typically functional, not decorative, but the trusses that you see here are extraordinary. They have a really cool design, and if you look at them long enough, you start to see the different construction elements. A few of the stained-glass windows are especially charming, too. A lot of people are drawn to the one with a beehive in it.
B&Bs are often associated with quaint Victorian homes in small New England towns. What is the benefit of Tuxedo Park STL’s location in the middle of the thriving community of Webster Groves, approximately 10 miles from downtown St. Louis?
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis are right down the street, and their performance seasons bring a lot of guests to the B&B. People fly to St. Louis from across the country to see shows at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and they love having a comfortable accommodation nearby. We’re in between Hidden Valley and all the activities in Downtown, which is another benefit. The location of Tuxedo Park STL also allows guests to simply go for a walk, and I always have lanterns and umbrellas at the ready. The neighborhood is full of 100-year-old oaks alongside 19th-century architecture, and walking the streets here is a visually impressive experience. Guests also have easy access to the first-rate eateries in Webster Groves [such as The Clover and The Bee, Olive + Oak, Maypop Coffee and Garden Shop and The Frisco Barroom].
As the proverb goes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Tell me about the dining experience at Tuxedo Park STL.
Breakfast lasts a long time here. After a good night’s sleep, people start to congregate in the kitchen and visit with each other. The conversation during the first breakfast of the weekend usually revolves around family, grandchildren, jobs and hometowns. Then, at the next breakfast, everyone swaps stories about all the things they saw and did on the previous day, sharing their top recommendations; they become each other’s tour guides. A lot of coffee gets poured, and I tailor the food to the dietary needs of the group. I’ll make quiche or omelet sandwiches paired with fruit bowls, and I make a lot of sautéed vegetables for vegans.
Do you host events at Tuxedo Park STL?
You have to rent a room to have an event, but yes. Recently, we hosted a multiday Nepalese wedding here. We’ve also had birthday parties, family reunions and other events.
Ready to book your luxurious escape? Visit Tuxedo Park STL’s website to make a reservation at your home away from home.