The Daily Herald from Arlington Heights, Illinois on March 9, 2008 · Page 59
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The Daily Herald from Arlington Heights, Illinois · Page 59

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Arlington Heights, Illinois
Issue Date:
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Page:
Page 59
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St. Louis lights up its riverfront New downtown hotel, entertainment and casino complex a hip addition Mike Michaelson There is a virtual fleet of floating casinos moored alongside the Mississippi River, the Ohio River and other waterways in the Midwest, as well as along the shores of the Great Lakes. Sporting smokestacks and paddle- wheelers, they look like the riverboats of old they strive to replicate. Last December, a ^___^^^ new casino opened alongside St. Louis's Mississippi riverfront, and there is no question about what it is. Sleek and contemporary, it has a 24- story tower lighting up the riverfront with eye-boggling neon and an illuminated take on the St. Louis Arch. It looks as though it might have been transplanted from Las Vegas' Strip. Lumiere Place, named for the French word for "light" (with a nod to St. Louis' French heritage), threw the switch to its massive light box at a black-tie gala for its grand opening on Dec. 19. Built at a cost of $507 million in the shadow of the famed Gateway Arch and alongside historic Laclede's Landing, this shiny new entertainment complex creates a dramatic presence along the riverfront. Two hotels total nearly 500 rooms (including a 24-story luxury hotel tower), a swimming pool overlooks the soaring Arch and a 75,000-square- foot casino complex includes 40 table games, 2,000 slot machines and a dedicated poker room with a dozen tables. There also are restaurants that offer fine dining and casual fare that include a steakhouse by celebrity chef Hubert Keller. You'll also find a piano bar, a variety of shops, a business center and a 10,000-square-foot spa. This hip, urban complex employs glass, light, open spaces and a sense of movement to create architecture that owes a debt to Frank Lloyd Wright. Among its neighbors are industrial buildings that have yet to receive the nod from developers and gentrifiers. Developers hope that mis splashy COURTESY OF GAIL MOONEY/ ST. LOUIS CONVENTION & VISITORS COMMISSION Laclede's Landing, a nine-block historic district along the Mississippi River, has been restored and renovated and is now a major entertainment and commercial center. COURTESY OF ST. LOUIS CONVENTION & VISITORS COMMISSION The Landing is the original site of the city of St. Louis and its cobblestone streets can be toured on horse-drawn carriage rides. COURTESY OK ST. LOUIS CONVENTION & VISITORS COMMISSION The new Luminere Casino is just north of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Mo. new property eventually will spur residential expansion to this stretch of downtown riverfront. The 295-room HoteLu- miere offers eight floors of all- suite accommodations. Connected to Lumiere Place Casino by a "sky bridge," this property features an open atrium bar and lounge area with a four-story-tall waterfall. Suite amenities include plush duvet bed coverings, fine linens (100 percent Egyptian cotton with 300 thread count), down and feather pillows and plush terry cloth robes in all upgraded suites. Suites have two flat-screen televisions, wireless Internet capability and in-room refrigerators. Four Seasons Hotel offers the height of luxury, as travelers come to expect of this upscale lodging group. Many of its 200 guest rooms (that include 14 suites) offer sweeping views of the Gateway Arch. All feature contemporary decor and design (with state-of-the-art electronics with flat-screen television — including an LCD TV floating within the bathroom mirror). A tranquil 12,000-square- foot spa offers 12 treatment rooms, including spa suites for couples, plus whirlpools and relaxation lounges and a well-equipped fitness center. For chill-out guests, there is a resort-style pool, whirlpool, landscaped terrace with cabanas and separate children's splash area. Cielo Restaurant and Lounge features continental and Italian cuisine, with indoor and outdoor dining. In this election year, it might be fun to visit Hannegan's Restaurant and Pub in nearby historic Laclede's Landing entertainment district. This neighborhood of narrow, cobblestone streets is the site of the original city of St. Louis that grew up around a trading post established in 1776 by Pierre Laclede Ligueste. This eatery was named for mythical "Big Boss" Robert E. Hannegan, a skilled proponent of New Deal politics. Each table or booth displays a plaque inscribed with the name of a senator who voted to repeal Prohibition. With plush leather booths and deeply carved beams, Hannegan's was modeled on the United States Senate dining room and serves the celebrated Senate bean soup, made from the authentic recipe. Start with toasted ravioli, a distinctive St. Louis creation, hot and spicy crisp chicken wings or calamari. 'Shroom fanciers order char- grilled portobellos with Gorgonzola, roasted pecans and balsamic drizzle. Follow with aged center-cut strip steak or such house spe- If you go IOWA Chicago i ILLINOIS ; Springfield • O ! St. Louis • MISSOURI DAILY HERALD Information: St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission, (800) 916-0040, www.explorestlouis.com Mileage: St. Louis is about 265 miles southwest of Chicago. cialties as Irish stew with a pastry crust and 20-ounce double rib pork chop stuffed with cranberry-apple dressing. A pasta specialty is rock shrimp sauteed with butter and garlic, tossed with cheese tortellini and served with basil pesto cream sauce. Finish with hot deep-dish blackberry pie, baked in a casserole and served with ice cream. On Saturdays, catch a set of jazz at Hannegan's, featuring top St. Louis musicians (from 6 to 10 p.m.). Other entertainment options at Laclede's Landing range from the sing- alongs led by two dueling piano players at Big Bang to karaoke and deejays at Drunken Fish, a popular spot for sushi. Club Buca is a multi-level nightclub mat incorporates Joey B's on the Landing, known for its burgers, pizza and other pub grub, while Morgan Street Brewery is a brewpub featuring handcrafted beers in the oldest building on the Landing. Another spot for suds is the newly opened Tigin Irish Pub, while Laughs on the Landing dishes up improv comedy and provides a stage for stand-up comedians. On a warm evening, a pleasant way to visit the riverfront is via horse-drawn carriage. Pick up your ride at First and Morgan streets on Laclede's Landing. • Mike Michaelson is a trawl writer based in Chicago and the author of the guidebook "Chicago's Best-Kept Secrets." ffi p i o o DC

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