BEST HOTEL (1999)
In 1908 Lucius P. Ordway set to building a hotel that would beckon business visitors from around the country. He hired the New York architectural firm that had designed Grand Central Station and instructed them to use only the finest materials available. Nearly a hundred years (and one renovation) later, the Saint Paul Hotel reigns locally supreme in design, service, and sumptuousness, from its Indiana limestone and brick foundation to the wrought-iron balconies on the upper floors. The lobby whispers opulence: marble floors, Oriental rugs, large fireplaces, inviting ottomans and couches--it's worth the trip even if your wallet isn't sufficiently fat to get you past the lobby. (A basic room is $159 per night on weekdays, $125 on weekends; a suite can set you back anywhere from a modest $230 to the equivalent of a month's rent--$675. This is also the home of the posh St. Paul Grill, a white-linen eatery with a world-class bar.) And we're not the only ones ogling: The 254-room Saint Paul is the only hotel in the state to have earned a four-star rating from the Mobil Travel Guides--an honor it has won two years running.