Luxury Hotel in Clayton, Missouri Debuts “Gateway to the Holidays” Package and Six Foot Gingerbread Arch
The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis is saluting this fall’s 50th Anniversary of the Gateway Arch with a new overnight package celebrating not only the iconic city monument, but also the spirit of giving that comes this time each year. The hotel’s new Gateway to the Holidays overnight package is highlighted by a luxury stay offered through year-end, and by inclusion of a uniquely personalized holiday “gingerbread brick.”
The History of The Gateway Arch
The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (JNEM) was created in 1935, and became part of the National Park Service. Civic leader Luther Ely Smith conceived the idea of building a memorial to help revive the riverfront and memorialize the story of the nation’s westward expansion. Through a nationwide design competition conducted 1947–1948, Eero Saarinen’s stainless steel Arch was chosen as the memorial that would celebrate the accomplishments of early pioneers. St. Louis celebrated with a groundbreaking on June 23, 1959.
Over the next few years, Saarinen perfected his design and workers began excavating the grounds in 1961. In 1962, the Bi-State Development Agency (BSDA) was asked to finance the $2 million tram system that transports visitors to and from the top of the Arch. Meanwhile, it took steadfast coordination to put every piece of the Arch into place until the final section at the top of the Arch was secured on October 28, 1965.
Trams became operational in 1967, thanks to the funds that BSDA raised by selling revenue bonds. In the same year, the Visitor Center, with exhibits, opened to the public. Less than a decade later, the massive Museum of Westward Expansion opened beneath the Arch, featuring exhibits on St. Louis’ role as the Gateway to the West. Improvements to the monument continued as engineers added floodlights to illuminate the Arch exterior in 2001. Approximately two years later, the Grand Staircase, which spans from the levee at the Mississippi River banks to the base of the Arch, was completed.
In 2009, a non-profit organization called CityArchRiver 2015 spearheaded a project that will transform JNEM by creating a safe and inviting pedestrian bridge over the highway and a new museum beneath the Arch. After renovations, visitors will also encounter a new entrance to the facility and greater accessibility throughout the grounds. Groups traveling by bus will have more convenient access to drop-offs and parking, as well as to new performance spaces on the grounds. Bicyclists will enjoy extended bike trails.
Today, BSDA continues to operate the trams as a cooperative effort with the National Park Service. October 28, 2015 marked the 50th Anniversary of the completion of the Arch.
What is a “gingerbread brick“? The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis will honor both the city’s Arch and the holiday season with a special version of the famed landmark — an edible replica made completely of gingerbread bricks. Joyfully decorated for the holidays, the hotel lobby arch is created with 250 pounds of flour, 50 pounds of molasses, two pounds of ginger and 125 pounds of royal icing. Beneath it lies a wonderland of miniature Forest Park attractions, including a tiny St. Louis Zoo, Muny, Boat House and Ice Rink.
The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis Gingerbread Arch is then divided into gingerbread bricks which may be “purchased” and then personalized in frosting with the name of the purchaser. The cost of each brick is $25 USD, with all brick proceeds to be donated to support children’s programs at the city’s Ronald McDonald House.
The Gateway to the Holidays package at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis is priced from $239 USD per night and includes:
– Deluxe 16th-floor Arch-view accommodations on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday night
– One personalized brick on the St. Louis hotel’s holiday Gingerbread Arch
– Breakfast for two in The Restaurant or served in-room
– Overnight parking
The Gingerbread Arch at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis is part of the luxury hotel’s much-anticipated season of holiday celebrations, including Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts, the beloved traditions of Teddy Bear Tea and Brunch with Santa, and special holiday dining events in the acclaimed Grill. Friends and neighbors can also welcome 2016 in style, with two hotel celebrations planned exclusively for the New Year’s holiday.
The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis is conveniently located in the heart of the St. Louis suburban business and shopping district of Clayton, just minutes from downtown and the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. An upscale, highly walkable community, Clayton offers more than 80 restaurants and shops within an easy stroll of The Ritz-Carlton. For more information about the hotel, visit www.ritzcarlton.com/StLouis, or request reservations by telephone at 800-241-3333, online at www.ritzcarlton.com or through a travel professional. Located at 100 Carondelet Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63105, the hotel may be reached directly at 1-314-863-6300.