Romance pulls patrons to Studio Inn at St. Albans
By: Suzanne Corbett
Elegance, charm and romance are the signature amenities that attract brides and those seeking a getaway B&B experience to The Studio Inn at St. Albans. The Studio, once known by locals as The Château and designed by renowned St. Louis Union Station architect Theodore Link, was built as a summer home for International Shoe co-founder Oscar Johnson and his wife.
“I first discovered St. Albans 28 years ago. That’s when I got the hankering to open a B&B,” said Datra Herzog, owner of The Studio Inn and the Gardens at Malmaison.
Herzog said she originally considered opening a winery in St. Albans but instead seized the opportunity in 2004 to purchase the Malmaison property. Soon, she began focusing on weddings, private events and catering, which proved to be a winning strategy. St. Albans is considered one of the area’s most romantic locations and was named by Reader’s Digest as one of the most scenic spots in the U.S.
“Romance is our biggest pull,” said Herzog, who noted that The Studio Inn and The Gardens at Malmaison (the adjacent restaurant area) are popular for weddings, private parties and dinners because they offer a unique special event venue and bed and breakfast getaway. “About 90 percent of our business is bridal and private parties that we host between The Studio Inn and Malmaison, which originally was the Old Barn Inn that dates back to 1843, we think.”
The Studio and the Old Barn Inn can claim roots as an overnight destination beginning in1928, when Irene Johnson invited her friends to summer at the property’s five cottages.
“The men would commute by train into the city while their wives spent the day lunching and playing bridge. Then, the men would take the train back and have dinner,” said Herzog, who explained that the property was where some of the wealthiest St. Louisans spent their summers.
Today, guests at The Studio can choose from one of six rooms housed within its multi-level design. Amenities include beautifully appointed rooms (private and public) and patios and gardens that offer breathtaking views of the Missouri River Valley. A new addition planned for 2013 is a labyrinth, which Herzog believes will enhance the serenity of the estate.
“It’s so calming and spiritual in its very nature that I wanted to go a step further and create another space different from the patios that can add to the experience,” Herzog explained. “In practical purposes, it provides another hard space that can be used as an event or gathering space.”
The Studio Inn’s rooms all are themed and named for places and people who were significant in the development of St. Albans. Each room has its own character and comes with a bottle of wine and breakfast, with arrangements for lunch and dinner available. Accommodations are offered for rental by the day, the night or the week.
With its picturesque location and peaceful surroundings, The Studio Inn makes guests feel like they’re miles away from home, even if they are visiting from West County. It is “the getaway in your own backyard,” located only 15 minutes from Ballwin.
“People think we’re further,” Herzog said, “but we’re closer than you think.”
The Studio Inn at St. Albans
454 Studio Road • St. Albans