The Chase Park Plaza Hotel
By Mary Miller Cullins
In 1922, Chase Ullman’s vision came true when he and his associates opened a 500-room hotel and the adjacent Chase and Chester apartments, creating a St. Louis landmark.
In 1929, Sam Koplar, the greatest hotelier of his time, began construction of The Park Plaza. Construction was halted due to the Great Depression, so Koplar put his expertise to good use by managing The Chase. He was able to complete his Park Plaza project by the early 30′s and in 1946, he purchased The Chase as well.
Currently, on the site now occupied by the cinemas, used to stand The Chase Club. This venue attracted some of the biggest names in show business. Performers such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope, and Sammie Davis, Jr., came to St. Louis to play The Chase Club. The Chase Park Plaza hosted big band concerts that were broadcast nationwide.
Many remember The Hunt Room, currently Eau Bistro, which featured the first “posh” Sunday brunch in the Midwest.
In 1956, The Chase hosted the Miss America contest. Apparently, quite a commotion was caused when contestants paraded in view of Kingshighway Boulevard. The competition was held at the newly renovated outdoor pool.
The Khorassan Room was constructed and the ballroom quickly became a popular venue for local society events, as well as charity events such as the Variety Club Telethon. The hotel’s style, service, and amenities made this a favorite destination for guests such as Billie Holliday, Tony Bennett, and Nat King Cole.
The construction of a new lobby brought the two hotels together, and added a lavish dining experience with the creation of The Tenderloin Room. In 1982, the Koplar family sold the hotel, and The Park Plaza became an exclusive apartment complex. The Chase continued to operate as a hotel, but fell into a state of disrepair and closed in 1989.
In 1997, a group of investors decided to buy and restore this beautiful hotel. After two years and $250 million in renovations, guests and visitors were once again flocking to “the place to be”, The Chase Park Plaza. Improvements continue, including the decor of guest rooms, the creation of Private Residences and Executive Apartments, and a top-notch movie theater.
I’ve taken a tour of the hotel, restaurants, and banquet facilities. I’ve seen a few movies at the theater. Recently, I decided, when I hit the lottery, I’ll will take up residence at the most charming hotel in town, The Chase Park Plaza.
The Chase Park Plaza Hotel in St. Louis
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