Restored century-old estate features a sprawling spa, 20-person hot tub, and onsite restaurant and tavern
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Hotel at a Glance: The Elms Hotel & Spa
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 $20 million renovation in 2011 restored the Bavarian-style limestone building to its former grandeur and brought it into the 21st century.
- A modern spa allows guests to step inside a secluded grotto with steam showers and a bar stocked with exfoliating herbs and sea salts.
- 88 at The Elms: an on-site dining area where chefs use locally sourced ingredients and seasonal produce to put together gourmet entrees such as mushroom carbonara and smoked pork shoulder.
- Memory-foam mattresses are in every room along with microfiber bed linens, Keurig coffeemakers, and in-room safes.
- Location, location: This hotel is located near all-things Kansas City including a golf course, Watkins Woolen Mill State Park, and the Hall of Waters Visitor Center and Cultural Museum.
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 sprouted 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.