It’s rare for a property to celebrate a centennial by being designated one of the best new hotels in the world. But that is precisely the feat that Hotel Kansas City achieved—and has continued to achieve—since the 101-year-old social club-turned-hotel finished its extensive renovations just a few years ago. Today, the hotel stands ready to greet travelers with midwestern charm and nationally acclaimed splendor. While there are plenty of infrequently-lauded reasons to visit Kansas City as a whole, the mere existence of the Hotel Kansas City should throw this city near the top of your must-visit list.
Located in the Power and Light District in downtown Kansas City, the hotel’s gothic and Tudor-style architecture lays bare its over 100-year-old history. Initially established as a social club dedicated to “cultivating social and business associations among the leading professionals of Kansas City,” the club was a landmark that played host to Kansas City’s finest for 80 years. And given the expansive lobby with its soaring ceilings and mahogany finishes, it’s no wonder that the property was able to attract members (including Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower).
With plenty of sitting room, the lobby is a beautiful spot to catch up – whether with a book, a beverage, or a business associate. Dining options include The Classic (previously the club’s champagne bar), where you can catch one of the best cheeseburgers in the city as well as a mean 50/50 martini, as well as the Lobby Market, which serves both delightful pastries and coffee throughout the day (but is ideal for the morning). The next five floors contain over 20,000 square feet of event space, including the stunning two-story Tudor Ballroom, whose stained-glass murals are worth a visit.
But of course, the draw of your stay at the Hotel Kansas City will be your own room. And yes, you will want to spring for the loft layouts, whose two-story floor plans are not only unique, but also provide some separation for folks staying with friends (or even with a partner). The lofts, which came into style as downtown Kansas City began its renovation efforts a few decades ago, offer a separate living area from the main sleeping quarters, which also come complete with marble bathrooms, a large soaking tub, and C.O. Bigelow bath products with a surprisingly alluring black pepper scent.
While Kansas City is known as a barbeque city, it would be an undeniable mistake to miss the fine dining experience that is The Town Company, led by James Beard nominated Chef
Johnny Leach and pastry chef (and wife) Helen Jo Leach. This truly exquisite restaurant has a menu that, while not expansive, is incredibly creative, with unexpected combinations like smoked egg with trout roe and potato chips on the same menu as lamb shoulder with a yogurt and mint sauce. The menu changes frequently to incorporate locally-sourced ingredients from farms on both sides of the Kansas City border (that is, Kansas and Missouri), and the wood-burning hearth – visible to guests – plays a role in every dish. Do not skimp on dessert, made by Helen Jo Leach, whose Asian influence is made clear by her clever balance of sugar, salt, and acid, resulting in a finish to your meal that is sweet but not cloying.
And if you’ve room or the energy for a nightcap, but sure to head down to Nighthawk, a basement bar with a personality all its own. With live music several nights of the week, cocktails on tap, tater tots, and yes, a pool table, it’s a place that even the locals recommend for a late evening.
So whether you’re a Kansas City regular or first-timer, on business or on vacation, make absolutely sure that a visit to Hotel Kansas City is on your itinerary.
Location: Kansas City, Missouri
The Vibe: Art deco-inspired luxury combining business with pleasure
Food + Drink: There are four main dining options; do not miss The Town Company for dinner and weekend brunch. The Classic, Nighthawk, and the Lobby Market are also available.
Amenities: Fitness center; Restaurant; Bar; Meeting Spaces
Our Favorite Thing About the Hotel: Hands down The Town Company.
5 Nearby Attractions: Nelson-Atkins Museum, WWI Museum, Boulevard Brewing Company, City Market, Arabia Steamboat Museum
Any Personal Neighborhood Recs?: Take a run to the river and stop by the River Market while you’re at it.
Rooms: 144 rooms and 15 suites
Pricing: Rooms start at $225/night
Closest Airport: MCI