The Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis at the Arch is a historic renovation.

Drury Hotels Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary

Monday April 24, 2023

By Rachel Huffman

In 1973, the first Drury Hotel was built on a simple promise – to provide friendly service, clean rooms and a good night’s sleep at an honest price. After 50 years, the promise still stands.

The first Drury Hotels property opened in Sikeston in 1973.
The first Drury Hotel in Sikeston | Photo courtesy of Drury Hotels

From southeast Missouri, the Drury family was a humble, hard-working farm family, but during the Great Depression, they had to supplement their income. They turned to construction, and with a new interstate in the works, they decided to build a few hotels along the route.

It wasn’t until 1973 that the family had the courage to build their own hotel in Sikeston, Missouri, and – for lack of a better moniker – put their name on it. To this day, Drury Hotels builds, owns and operates all its properties, which includes more than 150 hotels in 26 states.

“To the best of my knowledge, we’re one of the only companies that buys the land, builds the building, puts our name on it and manages it,” Alison Casler, vice president, chief human resources officer of Drury Hotels, says, “and that provides consistency. Wherever you travel, from North Carolina to Texas and Michigan to Arizona, you know that you’re going to get the same great value at every Drury property. The look of our hotels varies, but the bones, the brand, the management and the service are consistent.”

Drury Hotels provides friendly service at all its properties.
Photo courtesy of Drury Hotels

Over the years, Drury Hotels has asked their guests about their changing needs in order to provide the best travel experience every day. First and foremost, people wanted a hot cup of coffee in the morning, which morphed into a free breakfast with delicious options for every palate.

Next, Drury Hotels introduced the 5:30 Kickback, which features a menu of snacks and drinks that some people consider their dinner. Then, in 2016, the brand opened its first Kitchen + Bar, offering other food options later in the evening for guests who might arrive after the 5:30 Kickback.

If the free food isn’t enough to entice you, Drury Hotels also offers free WiFi, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, fitness centers and business centers, along with warm hospitality at every turn.

“When you layer those amenities into each stay, you get an unbeatable value,” Casler says. “Here, the extras aren’t extra. We understand what our guests need, and we find ways to provide those things for free. Now, our tagline is ‘Travel Happy’ because all those things make people happy.”

Setting a record for guest satisfaction, Drury Hotels has won 17 consecutive J.D. Power Awards. “Those are the voices of our customers,” Casler says. “[Their votes] mean we’ve done a good job delivering on the promises that we make to them, and we’re really proud of that.”

Drury Hotels offers free food throughout the day.
Photo courtesy of Drury Hotels

Led by the third generation, Drury Hotels remains a family-owned and -operated company. “We look forward to teaching the fourth generation about the business, as well,” Casler says. “They’ll learn from the ground up, which is important to the continuity of our leadership.

“We’re also proud of our tenured team,” she continues. “We have team members who have worked for the company for 30, 35, 40 years, and many of them feel like a part of the extended Drury family.”

To kick off its 50th anniversary, Drury Hotels encouraged its 6,000 team members to volunteer, lending their time and talent to the communities that have taken care of them throughout the years.

The celebrations with team members and guests will continue, but Drury Hotels is also planning for the next 50 years. “We have a tremendous opportunity to continue to grow,” Casler says, “and we look forward to introducing more guests to our brand. We strive to constantly evolve and pivot depending on what our guests need, and we also hope to bring more team members into the extended Drury family.

“Personally, I love working for Drury Hotels because I get to be part of a really great story,” she continues. “In some companies, you’re just a number; you’re just going through the motions. In this company, we get to make a direct impact on people’s lives. It’s challenging and rewarding.”

The Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis at the Arch is a historic renovation.
The Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis at the Arch | Photo courtesy of Drury Hotels

There are more than 20 Drury Hotels in the St. Louis region, many of which are near world-class attractions such as the Gateway Arch, St. Louis Union Station, CITYPARK stadium, Missouri Botanical Garden and Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House.

The Drury family has also executed three historic renovations in the St. Louis area. “Historic renovations are a neat way to reinvest in the community and contribute new energy to the market,” Casler says. “My favorite historic hotel is the Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis at the Arch.”

The Drury family acquired the building in 1997, after saving it from demolition. They renovated and restored some of the original features, including the Waterford crystal chandeliers, and today, guests can enjoy the storied property, which also has an eighth-floor terrace with views of downtown St. Louis.

Wherever you’re heading, consider staying at Drury Hotels along the way.