While the tourism industry walked on eggshells in 2020, the 130-year-old Elms Hotel in Excelsior Springs began a bold renovation of the property, which in its heyday was a speakeasy that hosted mobsters like Al Capone.
After closing several times under different owners, in 2019 Hilton bought the Elms “with a vision that included a property renovation and spa expansion, given that wellness overall is a key component of the hotel.”
The renovation was just completed under the direction of designer Meri Meis and includes work done to the entirety of the 153-room property. Meis was inspired by the original architecture of the hotel, including the mosaic tile flooring in the lobby—the emerald and burgundy hues of the tiles were used as accents throughout the Craftsman-style lobby.
The original lobby floor and front desk location remain to preserve the hotel’s roots but the renovation includes the addition of a cafe and market in the lobby. Café Soterian serves coffee drinks, smoothies, and pastries in the morning and then transitions at night into a wine bar serving craft beer and flatbread pizzas.
The hotel’s spa side has also been rethought, with designers incorporating tranquil, natural colors accented by blue hues to visually reference the hotel’s location surrounded by 46 mineral springs. Tiles in the spa were handmade. There’s also a new mud bar where guests can exfoliate and “experience the natural healing properties present in the mineral-enriched mud.”
The outdoor grotto now has a new zen garden where guests can retreat and reflect.
Martin Cizmar is the editor of Kansas City magazine.
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