The Kansas City metropolitan area boasts more than 33,000 hotel rooms, with an additional 4,500 keys planned by 2020. Cities on both sides of the Missouri River are experiencing growth and changes that are making the destination easier to access and more convenient to travel within.
Kansas City, Missouri, Is Experiencing a Hotel Renaissance
The city’s hotel renaissance is going strong and includes major convention properties such as the Loews Kansas City and art-centric boutiques like 21c Museum Hotel Kansas City. The diverse projects give planners options for groups large and small.
“The city’s hip, cultural vibe is inspired by a thriving arts scene, one-of-kind museums and a remarkable downtown renaissance,” said Cori Day, vice president of sales and services for Visit KC, the city’s CVB. “An estimated $6.5 billion has been poured into the downtown region over the last decade.
"Those improvements include new and renovated hotels and revamped interconnectivity, including the free-to-ride KC Streetcar, which makes hosting meetings and events in Kansas City even more seamless," she added.
“We’ve continued adding new boutique and independent hotels to our downtown skyline, including 21c Museum Hotel, Hotel Indigo Kansas City Downtown and Crossroads Hotel,” Day continued. “Each property offers new experiences for visitors to Kansas City. The new development and renovations show that the city is on the move.”
One of the largest projects in the works is the Loews Kansas City Hotel, which will boast 800 guest rooms and 60,000 square feet of meeting space when it opens in spring 2020.
The property will connect directly to the 800,000-square-foot Kansas City Convention & Entertainment Facilities via a new bridge and be within walking distance of attractions and landmarks including the Power & Light District, Sprint Center, KC Streetcar and the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
“It’s a major addition to our convention package, and we’ve already started booking business for its debut in 2020,” Day said. “The property will also feature a lobby bar, signature restaurant and indoor lap pool.”
In the summer of 2018, the city welcomed the 21c Museum Hotel, the boutique hotel meets contemporary art museum brand founded by Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, contemporary art collectors and preservationists. The property features curated rotating exbibits, commissioned site-specific installations and cultural programming, as well as a chef-driven restaurant that supports regional farmers and producers.
KC Streetcar, Kansas City, Mo.
The 120-room 21c Museum Hotel Kansas City is located in a restored building that was once home to the historic Savoy Hotel and Grill in downtown. Paying homage to the building’s past, The Savoy at 21c restaurant is led by Kansas City native Joe West and is touted as the oldest restaurant west of the Mississippi.
Groups can opt for the hotel’s traditional ballroom space or use one of the four private galleries for retreats, meetings, receptions, dinners and galas. The hotel also offers a small conference room and a private rooftop suite with views of the city.
Another new property, and the latest to open its doors in Kansas City, is Crossroads Hotel, which took over the historic buildings that housed Pabst Brewing Company and the offices of American political boss Tom Pendergast. Like the 21c Museum Hotel, this 131-room hotel also highlights art and local touches. The Aparium Hotel Group property, situated in close proximity to downtown, the Power & Light District as well as Union Station, offers three dining and drinking concepts, including a rooftop beer garden.
“We’re thrilled to bring our signature hospitality style to Kansas City, a destination that embraces art, culture and individuality as much as we do,” said Mario Tricoci, cofounder and chief executive officer of Aparium Hotel Group. “It has been an incredible opportunity to work with our many local partners and collaborators whose meaningful additions to our hotel solidify it as a welcomed addition to the community, as well as a coveted destination for travelers.”
The hotel’s 2,000-square-foot public gallery and studio space is dedicated to an ongoing artists-in-residency program, curated by El Dorado, Inc., a locally based architecture, urban design, curatorial, education and fabrication practice, which also acted as the hotel’s architecture firm. The exhibits will focus on artists with ties to Kansas City.
El Dorado is responsible for the art program throughout the hotel’s public spaces, which feature over 40 works by local artists. Among them are Guggenheim Fellowship winners, multiple Charlotte Street Foundation award recipients, faculty of the Kansas City Art Institute as well as emerging artists.
Crossroads Hotel, Kansas City, Mo.
Meeting and function space at the hotel includes the 3,000-square-foot ballroom, boardrooms and the 4,000-square-foot, four-story atrium. The walls of this space are made with wood reclaimed from the building’s original floors and ample natural light.
Also making a splash in the city in 2018 was InterContinental Hotel Group’s Hotel Indigo brand. Hotel Indigo Kansas City Downtown is located in a converted office tower and features 1,200 square feet of meeting space while Hotel Indigo Kansas City – The Crossroads makes its own mark with local artwork that’s incorporated throughout the three-story hotel.
Currently the largest convention hotel in the city, the Kansas City Marriott Downtown is completing a $40 million guest room renovation. All 970 rooms in the property’s two towers are on track to debut a new design, updated technology features, and new furniture, by summer 2019.
The guest room transformation will complement the hotel’s nearly 100,000 square feet of meeting space, which is connected to the convention center via an enclosed walkway.
In the past two years, the following hotels completed major renovations of the guest rooms and more: The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center, Hilton President Kansas City, the historic Hotel Phillips Kansas City, Curio Collection by Hilton and the InterContinental Kansas City at the Plaza.
Other big projects in the area include the new single terminal at Kansas City International Airport, which is scheduled to be complete in 2022 and the KC Streetcar expansion project.
“It’s a forward-looking project that’s fit for modern travelers and will represent the vibrant, innovative destination that we’ve become, and one that we’re selling well into the future,” Day said when talking about the airport expansion project.
According to Visit KC, the city is currently voting on extending the free-to-ride streetcar line to Berkeley Riverfront and just past the Country Club Plaza. The latter would connect the Kansas City Convention Center and convention district to the Plaza, a shopping, dining and entertainment destination.
Kansas City, Kansas, Is All About Off-Site Venues and Experiences
Kansas City, Kansas, has also had a recent growth spurt with new hotels, but more so with off-site venues and experiences for groups.
“The city just continues to evolve and continue to grow, especially when it comes to activity options for groups to do while they are in town in conjunction with their meeting or convention,” said Justin Stine, meetings and sports sales manager for the Kansas City Kansas CVB. “We don’t have a large convention center connected to a convention-type hotel, so what we really sell in our area is that we are a unique destination with less conventional venues and experiences.”
Memorial Hall, a Veteran’s Memorial and historic entertainment and events venue, recently completed renovations, including adding an elevator directly from the ground floor to the ballroom space that can accommodate 500 guests.
On the lower level of Memorial Hall is the main floor that holds up to 1,000 people, and surrounding the floor and stage are the upper and lower “bowls” with individual seats totaling a capacity of 2,500 people.
Pinnacle National Development Center, Kansas City, Kansas
Opening in early 2018, the state-of-the-art Pinnacle National Development Center is a training home of Major League Soccer’s Sporting Kansas City team. The venue also accommodates Children’s Mercy Sports Medicine Center at Village West and the U.S. Soccer National Coaching Education Center.
Pinnacle National Development Center can also double as an event facility available for banquets, meetings, breakout sessions, teambuilding and more. The center’s spaces include a pool deck, the 2,255-square-foot Meetings Hall, multiple classrooms and breakout rooms. Groups can also access the Sporting Players Lounge, which can be divided into two spaces, the Sporting Theater and the Auditorium.
Kansas City, Kansas, offers over 2,000 guest accommodations, including three new properties: the 108-key Residence Inn by Marriott Kansas City at The Legends, the Homewood Suites by Hilton Kansas City Speedway with just over 100 guest rooms and the 89-room Home2 Suites by Hilton Kansas City KU Medical Center. All three have space for small gatherings.
KANSAS CITY METRO AREA CVB CONTACT INFORMATION
Kansas City Kansas CVB