Lover's refuge

Mansion's recipe for romance wins accolades
2009-02-11T00:00:00Z 2010-11-12T00:15:04Z Lover's refugeBy Julie Randle stltoday.com
February 11, 2009 12:00 am  • 

The Fleur-de-Lys Mansion has fostered many a romantic relationship, saved a few and capped off others with a gift nine months later.

Credit the atmosphere of the bed and breakfast run by innkeepers Jan and Dave Seifert for providing just the right spark for romance.

And hand out laurels for dinner and entertainment suggestions that set just the right mood.

Their ability to anticipate their guests’ desires has won them a ranking among the top 10 romantic inns of 2009 by American Historic Inns, Inc., a publisher of bed and breakfast guide books, and the parent company of iLoveInns.com, an country inn and bed and breakfast guide Web site.

“Each year we pour our hearts into finding the top 10 romantic inns,” said Deborah Sakach, president of American Historic Inns Inc. “This award recognizes the outstanding efforts of innkeepers who understand the remarkable restorative aspects of a romantic environment created specifically for couples.”

There are about 19,000 bed and breakfasts in the U.S. Those making the top 10 list ranged from countryside manors to urban mansions.

The Fleur-de-Lys was the only bed and breakfast recognized in Missouri. Other winners included Highland Haven Creekside Inn in Colorado, the Carriage House at the Harbor in Michigan and the French Quarter Inn in South Carolina, she said.

“I believe this property is on the level of some of the nicest hotels in the world and it’s a real mansion that gives the sense of the kinds of lives city folks had back in the day,” Sakach wrote in an e-mail.

The Fleur-de Lys occupies a mansion that looks out on Compton Hill Reservoir Park. The brick mansion with its stone entryway and window lintels conjures up images of carriages, top- hatted men and women in swirling gowns.

“Some of the compelling reasons that drew us to this property included all the Tudor Mansion features, interior beauty, the neighborhood park and most of all the fabulous experiences the innkeepers provided for their guests.”

Sakach noted that innkeepers provided the luxurious touches of lavender scented sheets, towel warmers and offer a variety of romantic packages to their guests.

The Seiferts, who have owned the mansion at 3500 Russell Blvd., for two years, give credit to their guests for being nominated and recognized with the award. Their comments online and recommendations through word of mouth have lead to their success.

“Knowing this award is given by American Historic Inns and iLoveInns.com makes me feel proud of what we have been able to accomplish,” she said. “This lets us know that we’ve provided what we have hoped for — the opportunity for guests to have romantic connections.”

First-time guests Stephaine Klauser and her fiancé, Paul Langelier, were drawn to the private second-floor solarium with enclosed jacuzzi.

“That was an extra bonus,” she said.

Guests of all ages come to celebrate wedding anniversaries, Valentine’s Day and other special occasions. Some couples come just for a mini vacation. The mansion is well-known among members of the military, who have just arrived back from a deployment or will be leaving on a deployment soon and want to celebrate a special night with their spouse, Jan Seifert said.

Jason Rangel, 28, and his wife, Heather, 35, have visited the mansion numerous times. The couple, who live in Lyndon, Ill., are planning a combination getaway to celebrate Valentine’s Day and Heather’s birthday. They will make the four-hour commute to stay at the mansion Feb. 15 and 16.

“They have a lot of different packages that pertain to the romantic side,” he said.

One package offers sparkling red wine and dark Swiss chocolates. Another includes champagne, fruits and cheeses. The grand package includes a four-course dinner by the fireplace, massages and carriage ride. Rangel is opting for just the romantic journey by private carriage through Tower Grove Park.

Stacie Johnson and her husband, Travis, stayed at the mansion when they came to St. John’s Mercy Medical Center so Stacie could receive fertility treatments. She underwent treatments for 17 months and seven weeks ago she gave birth to their daughter, Corinne.

The mansion helped play a role in their success by focusing their chemistry, she said.

“I definitely say the mansion is romantic,” said Stacie, who lives in Chaffee, Mo. “It has an amazing ambience. The whole placed exudes romance.”

Stacie is an elementary school teacher and Travis is a grooming manager for PETCO. The couple would like to have one or two more children will begin to try this summer, she said.

Who knows maybe the mansion will play a hand in their future magic.

“The Fleur-De-Lys is the most romantic place we have ever been,” she said. “It’s a place to go where you can spend time with your spouse.”

Romantic interludes

Jan and Dave Seifert, owners and innkeepers of the Fleur-de-Lys Mansion, a bed and breakfast, have a few suggestions for Valentine’s Day or other romantic occasions.

Here is what they enjoy and also recommend to some of their guests:

— Take a carriage ride in Tower Grove Park or Downtown, not through Laclede’s Landing, though, because the cobblestones are too noisy.

— Stroll through the Missouri Botanical Garden.

— Linger over a bottle of wine and a cheese plate at Sasha’s on Shaw, 4069 Shaw Blvd., or their other location Sasha’s Wine Bar, 706 De Mun Ave.

— Have dinner at I Fratellini, 7624 Wydown Blvd., or Giovanni’s on the Hill, 5201 Shaw Ave.

— Take a drive out Route 94 to visit the wineries in the winter, when there are no crowds and many of wineries have crackling fireplaces to enjoy.

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