The stairs are beautifully carpeted in a sort of 1920s Old World perfection. Throughout the entire staircase, many beautiful windows-some encased by the gables-give light from the outside and a beautiful view into the courtyard of luscious ivy below.
Nestled in the middle of the Clayton area of St. Louis, there stands an inn.
Quaint and romantic, Seven Gables Inn is picturesque amidst businesses, restaurants and tall buildings, sitting proudly as a crowning jewel of the neighborhood who some call “mini St. Louis.”
Built in 1926, during the revival of Tudor-style architecture, the Inn was originally a building consisting of 27 apartments, four offices and four storefronts. It is one of very few buildings left in the area that represents the development of Clayton in the 1920s. The ivory stucco and wood exterior is charmingly English, and is still beckoning curious passersby to come inside and check it out.
After passing under the canopy that covers the sidewalk and then through the front doors, follow the long, welcoming hallway that leads straight to the front desk to check in. It’s not your typical hotel check-in experience. The “front desk” is a simple, stylish wooden office desk with a chair on the back side for the staff member and two plush armchairs for guests facing the desk. Here, check-in is meant to be a relaxing, warm, and friendly experience for each guest.
Off to each side of the desk is a passageway leading to a lovely sweeping staircase to the guest rooms. During check-in, we learned this boutique hotel has no elevators. We observed the winding staircase, thinking about carrying our luggage to the third floor, when those unspoken thoughts were kindly interrupted by the courteous bellman who immediately picked up our bags and carried them to our floor. His assistance made the short climb easy and enjoyable. The stairwells are one of this hotel’s signature, notable features. The stairs are beautifully carpeted in a sort of 1920s Old World perfection. Throughout the entire staircase, many beautiful windows-some encased by the gables-give light from the outside and a beautiful view into the courtyard of luscious ivy below. The stucco walls were painted a very rich, warm color of almost a golden muted mustard.
To enhance the guest experience, most of the guest rooms have recently been updated, while maintaining the architectural and historical integrity of Seven Gables. Our room had two double beds, a rarity since this inn caters specifically to couples on romantic getaways within the city. But not only did we have two beds, we had a lot of extra space to spread out and enjoy. Since our room was a larger end suite on the top floor, light poured in from three separate sides. The room had brand new, rich-colored, hand-scraped, hardwood flooring, lovely iron headboards and frames, with very comfortable bedding. We also found complementary Fiji water and gourmet chocolates awaiting us.
Once settled into our room, and already beaming with satisfaction, we came back down the stairs and found the cheese and wine reception available for guest enjoyment Monday through Thursday. With cheese and fruit selected, we moved to the wine. A chilled chardonnay sat beside one of my favorite kinds of cabernet. Being red fans, we poured ourselves a glass of cabernet, and explored the courtyard, now lit with multiple strings of lights, contrasting beautifully against the darkening sky. We felt as though we had been transported to the quiet and calm of the English countryside.
After a while we were ready for more food, so we ventured into Molly Darcy’s. This Irish restaurant/pub sits just inside the inn, to the right of the front entryway and serves classic Irish cuisine as well as different takes on American standards. Starters include pub favorites like a large pretzel with mustard sauce and Irish cheddar dip, and a cheese and salume platter, while soups and salads offer items for the business lunch crowd. The Black and Bleu salad is a perfect lunch entree, with lettuce, roasted red peppers, craisins, tomatoes, avocado and bleu cheese, topped with blackened tenderloin and onion crisp.
Molly Darcy’s Fish and Chips entree does absolute justice to this most traditional dish of the U.K. The cod is large and the batter is made with Guinness for a classic, flavorful and true-to-form pub favorite. Similarly, the pot pie is a rich and flavorful must-try. The flaky crust arches over the bowl, creating a little hideaway for the creamy goodness beneath. Break into it and try both a bite of the crust by itself and a bite after it submerges into the chicken, vegetables and cream.
In the morning, you’ll find the breakfast area across from Molly Darcy’s. This quiet little room has a hot buffet, plentiful coffee, and windows with striped cafe curtains, allowing for plenty of morning light. Open the curtains to watch the street activity. You can plan your adventures for the day or read the newspaper while listening to the happy bustle of the city morning from your cozy corner of the inn.
Seven Gables is perfectly situated in the Clayton area, within walking distance to Shaw Park, and so many great Clayton restaurants. The Avenue restaurant sits two storefronts south of Seven Gables and is excellent no matter what time of day you arrive. They’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but it’s the brunch I want to point you to. The brunch menu is extensive, with egg dishes, soups, salads, and sandwiches. In the warmer months, the restaurant’s beautiful outdoor patio is perfect for coffee or mimosas outside.
Right around the corner from The Avenue is another restaurant, The Libertine, which is open for dinner Monday through Saturday and brunch on Sunday. The dinner menu is eclectic and worth a try, but it’s their bar program that’s most interesting. Their aim is to recreate the “merrymaking” of the past. A portion of their cocktail menu contains historic cocktails from the last century, labeled with the date of original conception, the name of the bar where the cocktail was first served, and the city in which that bar was located--all there for your informational enjoyment.
East of The Libertine by one block is The Crossing, which is a well-rounded, intimate dinner spot. The Crossing serves a combination of French and Italian-influenced cuisine and sources its ingredients locally. The Crossing is ranked number one for fine dining in the Clayton area by Urban Spoon and understandably so. The dinner menu is unbelievable, but turn your attention to the tasting menus. There are three different tastings, all varying in the number of courses served. No matter which you choose, all showcase the art form of culinary skills the chefs employ. Wine pairings are available as well, rounding out the experience at The Crossing that really celebrates fine food.
But the best part of the Clayton area? Getting to go back to your lovely boutique-style inn with its one-of-a-kind, cozy, comfortable accommodations. You can enjoy the city, and later retreat to the “countryside” experience at Seven Gables, making your stay truly “the best of both worlds.”
The Gables Room: 75
The Hawthorne Room: 50
Outdoor Courtyard: 100
Molly Darcy's Pub: 150
Want to learn even more about what Seven Gables Inn has to offer? Go visit them.