Downtown St. Louis is finally about to get a boutique hotel.

This summer, Magnolia Hotels will reopen the city’s storied Mayfair Hotel after completing a multi-million renovation that will transform it into a contemporary, four-star hotel with free Wi-Fi.

Built in 1924, the 18-story building has been named to the National Historic Register so expect to see a number of charming details that have been preserved. The old stained glass windows on the ground floor, for example, will get a cleaning and dramatic up-lighting to bring more light into the space, said Mike Pratt, vice president of sales and marketing for Stout Street Hospitality (parent of the Magnolia brand).

“The building is our type of building. It has a rich history to it,” Pratt told me during our recent chat. Total cost of the project: $19 million.

A stream of celebrities have stayed in the hotel, including Cary Grant – but I’ll tell you that story tomorrow on this blog!

Prime location

Located at 806 St. Charles Ave., the future Magnolia St. Louis is next to the Renaissance Convention Center hotel and steps away from the convention center.

It’s also in the heart of an area that’s experience a redevelopment spurt. Chicago-based developer UrbanStreet Group, for instance, is converting a failed condo building next door into luxury apartments, which will bring more residents who need restaurant meals and hotel rooms for visitors.

“That’s what we do. We like to get in there before it’s done and help with the redevelopment,” Pratt told me.

MORE ONLINE: Soccer legend Mia Hamm’s No. 1 hotel pet peeve

Pratt’s group sees St. Louis demand growing since St. Louis is a popular sports market. Plus, he said, it’s a popular destination with people from cities where Magnolia already runs hotels – Denver, Dallas, Houston and Omaha.

“We’re not going to have to reintroduce (the brand),” he said, which means they won’t have to spend as much on marketing.

Interestingly, the Magnolia brand website positions it as a boutique hotel group with “style unlike that of trendy or branded hotels.”

FACEBOOK: Join Barb & friends as they talk about hotels/travel

What to expect

Here’s what you can expect when the hotel opens:

  • When you walk in, you’ll see a grand bar and lounge designed for community gathering, including people who need to plug in their laptops
  • Basic high-speed wireless is included in your rate; bandwidth to stream video will cost extra
  • Access to a new ballroom in the adjacent building that overlooks a park and waterfall
  • The hotel will have a casual restaurant where you can order steak and seafood; this restaurant will provide room service
  • The hotel will connect to a high-end restaurant in the building next door

The hotel was also famous for having the first female GM in the Midwest, Pratt said, although the history is still being researched. At this point, they know that the woman had worked at the hotel for 50 years but never got promoted to GM because the owner didn’t believe a woman could do the job. When he died, the son promoted her, Pratt told me. The woman must’ve been a character because she kept her office in the lobby and her husband was the driver of the house car – a Bentley!

Readers: What do you love about staying in historic hotels? The history? The old-fashioned details? The tiny closets? (Joking…)

Photo of model king room at the Magnolia in St. Louis courtesy of Stout Street Hospitality.