What does it mean to be the best? “When it comes to The Gatesworth, it means consistently going out of our way to exceed our residents’ expectations by providing unparalleled staff, surroundings and services,” says operations director Bob Leonard. “We treat people with the utmost respect, and take their needs seriously. Our goal is to support them in living as fully as possible. Whatever they need, we figure out how to get it for them.”

The staff’s tireless efforts have paid off. “For two years in a row, The Gatesworth has been voted ‘best senior living community in St. Louis’ in the LN Platinum List readers’ poll,” Leonard says. “Forbes magazine also named us one of the Top 10 senior living communities in the country. We’ve earned these accolades by devoting ourselves to the residents’ well-being—and we don’t rest on our laurels. We’re constantly focused on making things better. Our services and amenities are unmatched, comparable to what you find at a fine country club or a luxury resort.”

Leonard attributes this excellence to The Gatesworth staff. “We aim to please in every way possible, and it starts at the top,” he says. “Our leadership team has been in place more than 20 years, and we’re here every day. We care about people, and we hire staff who feel the same way. Executive director Martha Kessel leads by example.”

Fine dining is one of the most appreciated everyday luxuries at The Gatesworth, says Leonard, thanks to the creativity and skill of executive chef Brian Hardy and his staff. “How many other senior communities have a chef who was named 2010 Chef of the Year by the prestigious Chefs de Cuisine Association of St. Louis?” he asks. “Thanks to Brian and our wide array of dining options, our residents often choose to host their parties here, even though many belong to the best country clubs in town.” The new cocktail lounge is a hit, as is the landscaped courtyard with its party pavilion and reflecting pond, he says. “And when they’re in the mood for a movie, they can choose from hundreds of titles in our on-site theater.”

Those who consider the senior years a time of diminished activity have never been to The Gatesworth, Leonard adds. “We encourage active aging with a wide range of recreational and social activities, plus an ever-changing roster of on site classes and discussion groups, including computer tutoring in our business center twice a week,” Leonard reports. Limo service is always available to take residents shopping or to cultural, entertainment and sporting events. And a state-of-the-art fitness center offers five professional certified trainers. “We add new classes constantly, so no one gets bored,” Leonard says. After a workout, residents can relax with a soothing massage or enjoy a manicure/pedicure in the resort-caliber spa. Or they can just kick back in their elegant apartments.

Even then, the focus is always on service, Leonard says. “As I was walking by the kitchen the other day, one of our residents was getting a snack to take back to his apartment,” he recalls. “I noticed the banana he took was a little green, so I found him a better one in our gift shop and had the concierge deliver it. Later, he called to thank me for being so thoughtful. That’s why I love living at The Gatesworth: everyone is so considerate, he said to me. That made my day. That’s the kind of compliment that makes all of us tick around here.”

On the cover: For more than 20 years, The Gatesworth has earned a reputation for luxurious amenities and outstanding service. Chosen as best senior living community in St. Louis by LN readers for the second consecutive year, The Gatesworth has also been named one of the top 10 retirement communities in the United States by Forbes magazine. For more information, call 993-0111 or visit www.thegatesworth.com. photos by Tim Parker