If you’re wanting to call it a night after festivities in Grand Center or expecting out-of-town guests—or even if you just appreciate good design, you will definitely want to know about Hotel Ignacio in midtown St. Louis. Despite opening less than two years ago, the hotel quietly has been garnering accolades: It was named one of the seven best new design hotels in the country by Design Bureau magazine, as well as one of 2012's Best New Romantic Hotels in The New York TimesAbout.com.

How does a relatively unknown 51-room hotel achieve such stature in such a short time? For starters, the vintage commercial structure (once a cleaning and drying business) was subject to an $11-million renovation under the direction of the award-winning Lawrence Group. (President/CEO Steve Smith owns the property in conjunction with Saint Louis University.) Second, the look is anything but cookie-cutter and was designed to appeal to discerning travelers looking for a sophisticated boutique hotel experience in an urban setting. This little gem delivers on all counts.

Something of an anomaly in the lodging business, no two guest rooms look the same, with the design playing off the hotel’s proximity to the Grand Center arts scene. Each of the 49 individual guest rooms, plus two suites, showcases a fine art, performing art, music or architecture theme and is outfitted with sleek, custom-designed furnishings that please both the eyes and the senses. Tempur-Pedic beds with high-end organic bamboo linens are standard, as are flat-screen TVs framed to look like fine art, Avaya tablet-style media hubs, and sumptuously designed baths with waterfall showerheads and premium bamboo towels.

The stylish lobby area also strikes a sophisticated design note with sleek but comfortable fireside seating and rotating displays of art from Saint Louis University’s collection. Other amenities include an in-house tapas bar called Café Pintxos, room service, daily dry cleaning, fitness center, business center and bicycles for guest use.

The hotel has been declared a ‘Development of the Year’ by the city of St. Louis. It also was named to the list of ‘Most Enhanced Places’ by The Landmarks Association of St. Louis.

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