Best Of 2004

Best Hotel: Best Western Inn at the Park

On a clear day you can't see forever from a room at the Best Western Inn at the Park -- but you can treat yourself to a pretty spectacular view of the Central West End. Which brings us to three of this hotel's best features: location, location, location. It's within walking distance of Forest Park and the shops and restaurants of the area and just a short drive away from downtown or virtually any other destination in the city. And your room with a view will be clean, spacious and comfortable. But half the fun of staying at this particular Best Western takes place before you unpack your bags. Marvel at the curious sculpture in the parking lot and the rather large, detailed replica of a ship behind the front desk in the lobby. Once you're checked in by a friendly hotel employee, take in every detail of the retro-fabulous 1970s carpeting and décor, and ride to your room in style on the creaky, lazy elevator. After you're settled in, take advantage of the outdoor pool, fitness room and sauna. In the morning enjoy a hearty breakfast at Michael's, the adjacent restaurant. And if you spent all your money the night before, no worries -- rates here are an eminently reasonable $89 a night if you've got a AAA membership.

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