River City Casino Hotel in St. Louis

(This post originally appeared on my old blog, Straight On Till Morning, on Wednesday, March 11, 2015)

Huge thanks to the hotel at River City Casino for the complimentary nights in exchange for this post! No other compensation was received, and as always you’ll be getting my honest opinions!

image via River City’s Facebook page

 

Although there are a lot of fantastic things to see and do in St. Louis, I don’t generally think of it as a big tourist destination like my home cities of Branson and Orlando. It is, however, a city that a lot of people end up in on their way to somewhere else. If you’re on a major road trip to almost anywhere in the US, there’s a pretty solid chance you’ll be passing through St. Louis. Flying across the country? Good chance of a layover here! And of course, everyone needs to make the stop to see the Gateway Arch at least once, right?

The thing about cities like this is that a lot of travelers don’t take the time to look for an interesting place to stay, especially if they’re just passing through. They stop at the first chain hotel they spot that they know they like and end up with a predictable yet generic experience. But seriously, y’all, it’s time to start expecting a little more fun and variety from the place that you stay.

Cutest room key ever? Quite possibly.

I contacted the River City Casino about staying in their hotel during my St. Louis trip because “something a little more fun” was exactly what I was looking for. Whether you’re a big fan of gambling or not, casino hotels are actually pretty awesome when you’re traveling because you’re almost always going to have plenty of on-site dining options, reasonable rates, some form of entertainment on property, and more often than not you’ll be in a location that’s convenient to nearby attractions. Plus, if you’ve had a long travel day it can be really fun to just head down and spend a couple of hours in the casino as your evening’s entertainment rather than heading out into an unfamiliar city in search of a way to decompress from a long day behind the wheel! River City is just a mile and a half off of I-55, so you don’t even have to worry about navigating very far from your travel route!

Of course, if you read the 10 Things On Tuesday post from the week after my STL trip, you already know that my plan to just head up to St. Louis, have drinks with a friend at the hotel’s bar, play some games in the casino and then just kick back and relax at the hotel did not quite go according to plan! I don’t want to go off on a huge tangent here when I’ve already told the whole crazy story in that post, but I do want to at least mention again how incredibly thankful I am that the woman I was in contact with regarding blogging about the hotel not only sent transportation to get me there safely after I totaled my car on the way up, but made arrangements for me to stay over a night longer than I planned when my body freaked out from the car accident stress the next day and I was too sick to even make it out of bed, let alone go anywhere.

It wasn’t just her, though.  Every single employee that I came into contact with throughout the entire property, from hotel front desk to the gift shop to casino security and on and on, was super nice and helpful, and that extra kindness meant a LOT when I was having such a rough day. The bellman was even awesome enough to take me around for a peek at some of the amenities that I might have missed seeing otherwise!

But you guys know that I’m a huge hotel nerd, so let’s check out where I stayed!

Do I even need to tell you how heavenly this looked after one LONG day? I was ready to relax!
 
Ignore all of my makeup and such, and focus on the snazzy tv built into the bathroom mirror. I need one of these at home, please, asap.

 

Gotta love the combination of regular shower in front plus rainfall showerhead on top!

I spent a ton of time in this magnificent shower. I’d probably still be hanging out in there if I hadn’t needed to check out and go home eventually. But trust me, between accident soreness and being sick the day after, there was nothing better than a fifty billion hour long shower on Friday morning to make me feel human again!

 

I also have to give the room points for being super quiet! Since I was sick my 2nd day there, I slept literally alllll day up until almost 9 pm. I’m a light sleeper, and I don’t recall any noise at all waking me up. It probably helps that I was on an upper floor, so there wasn’t much chance of noise from below, but my room also overlooked the river and valet parking lot, so there wasn’t much to cause noise, anyway.

 
Ice covered cars the night I arrived

 

 
A much more cheerful view of my morning coffee overlooking the Mississippi River before I checked out. Hey, I can see Illinois from here!
 
The property as a whole is fresh and modern, with nods to the area’s history sprinkled throughout. 
Cool St Louis history art piece in the lobby. 
 

 

The property also has multiple meeting and event facilities that are great for conventions or weddings! How great are the big clock shaped light fixtures in this meeting room??

 

 

And yes, for those of you who do that whole “exercise” thing, there’s a fitness center equipped with free weights, treadmills, exercise machines, and lots of bottled water and fresh towels.

 

The long stretch of the building between the hotel and casino is filled with restaurants, and was decorated for Chinese New Year during my visit.

 

Tons of dining options here, by the way, from buffet to steakhouse to coffee cart to really cute burger joint!
I had breakfast at the cute 50’s style Lewey Nine’s Cafe on my last morning at River City, and found both the food and the service to be fantastic! Since I was a little under the weather still, I stuck with a half order of biscuits and gravy (hey, I’m southern, y’all!) and coffee, but next time I’d love to check out their German chocolate pancakes with caramel pecan syrup!

 

I did actually get to spend an hour or so down in the casino when I finally woke up on Thursday night. This is exactly why I love casino hotels – if you’re traveling under circumstances more normal than mine ended up being, it gives you something fun to do for a couple of hours after a long day of driving without needing to head out and find your way around an unfamiliar city. Plus, free soda and coffee make me happy any day!
Being the high roller that I am, I stuck to the penny slot machines, but they do have a full array of table games and slots of all denominations. I was kind of hoping I might turn my luck around and magically win a big jackpot for a new car, but alas, this was the best I managed on my one dollar into the machine:

 

Totally doubled my money plus some! It’s ok to be jealous of my big win.

 

The casino here is pretty huge – 90,000 square feet! That is approximately 120 times the size of my last apartment. It was nice to see that they had a few areas designated as non-smoking, since smoke smell is probably the one thing that bugs me at casinos. Plus, they clearly had slot machines aimed at my demographic.

Who knew they made slot machines just for cat ladies?

 

One especially nice thing at River City is that you need a room key to operate the elevator up to the hotel, and in the evening hours there was even someone outside the elevators checking keys. It was a nice little extra bit of security, to be able to know that you wouldn’t have random casino guests able to just wander around the hotel hallways.

Parting shot:
I would absolutely stay here again the next time I’m in St. Louis, although I’d also like to check out their sister property at the Ameristar, especially since their blues bar has weekly live music! The room was super comfortable and modern, the building is packed with dining choices, the casino is huge, the price is on par with what you’d pay for a mid level chain hotel that’s way less fun, the location is convenient to a lot of St. Louis attractions, and the staff is first rate.
Looking for more info? You can find River City on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!
Do you ever visit casinos? What’s your favorite kind of accommodation for a road trip?

(My original River City Casino Hotel post had some great comments, so I took a screenshot so they could live on here!)
river-city-comments

 

  • Jill Myrick

    I have never been to a casino in my life but would love to go here. This hotel looks like a vacation in itself. I love the size of the room and all the amenities that it has to offer and can see my husband and myself having a blast here.

    jweezie43[at]gmail[dot]com