Century-Old Estate with European Spa and Gourmet Dining
Excelsior Springs, Missouri, is said to have natural mineral waters with soothing effects. The Elms Hotel & Spa was built as a stately haven for visitors to the springs; its guest list has included Al Capone, “Pretty Boy” Floyd, and President Harry Truman, who stayed at the hotel on the night of his memorable “Dewey Defeats Truman” re-election in 1948. A $16 million renovation in the late ’90s restored the Bavarian-style limestone building to its former grandeur. Today, The Elms Hotel & Spa is a draw of its own for its updated european spa. Here, you can take it easy inside a secluded grotto with steam showers and a bar stocked with exfoliating herbs and sea salts.
At the hotel’s restaurant, 88 at The Elms, chefs use locally sourced ingredients and seasonal produce grown on site to craft the entrees on a gourmet dinner menu. Smoked-shallot butter adds a zesty touch to the 12-ounce pan-seared rib eye. The restaurant also serves blueberry-quinoa pancakes for breakfast and lighter entrees and sandwiches at lunch.
In the guest rooms, there are memory-foam mattress and several contemporary amenities, including Keurig coffeemakers and iPod docking stations.
Excelsior Springs, Missouri: Historic Mineral-Spring Town Outside Kansas City
Excelsior Springs lies about 35 minutes northeast of Kansas City, along the banks of the East Fork Fishing River. The town made a name for itself after a natural spring unexpectedly spouted up near the river. The Excelsior Springs Hall of Waters & Cultural Museum is housed in a former 1930s bathhouse in an art-deco building hung with brilliant chandeliers, It has one of the world’s longest water bars and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Outside the museum, in downtown Excelsior Springs, there are craft shops, boutiques, and florists inside vintage redbrick buildings. Since Excelsior Springs sits in a riverside valley, there are several wineries in town and wine tastings are popular with tourists.
If you’re visiting the region for the first time, consider a side trip up to Kansas City, where the ratio of fountains to barbecue joints is roughly 2:1—as in, 200-plus public fountains and more than 90 restaurants where you can order the city’s signature slow-smoked meat.. Add a die-hard sports community and a downtown area named one of America’s best by Forbes magazine, and the at-times overlooked Kansas City has all the makings of a memorable getaway: culture, Midwestern charm, and an endless supply of sauce-slathered ribs.