By Kevin Collison
The recently-opened Hotel Kansas City has emerged as a significant new patron of local artists and crafts people, spending an estimated $175,000 to purchase their works in keeping with its homegrown style.
“With our name being Hotel Kansas City, we wanted to have that local flavor,” said Ryan Baldwin, general manager.
From the murals decorating the El Gold lounge, which is expected to open by late spring or early summer, to all the antiques sprinkled throughout the historic building at 1228 Baltimore, buying local has been the guiding factor.
Even the voice talent answering the hotel’s phone system is distinctly local. Mitch Holthus, the well-known voice of the Kansas City Chiefs on WDAF-FM, is the first thing you hear when you call.
The 144-room hotel that opened last October is part of the Hyatt Unbound Collection. The flag encourages its local ownership groups to create a distinctive look for their properties.
Fiber artist Taylor Triano of COMMONWILD Flag Co. designed a 10-foot wall hanging for El Gold and flags for the restaurant, stitched watercolor portraits and even came up with bandanas for the restaurant staff.
Artist Emily Alvarez partnered with a Chicago artist to create a series of murals ringing the El Gold depicted historic scenes of Kansas City. The floor of the cellar saloon is made from reclaimed wood from a Kansas barn.
Matt Castilleja’s studio created a table for the hotel lobby. The property’s house plants are cared for and rotated by the Paradise Garden Club. Charlie Burt, a local graphic designer, designed the menus and other printed products.
And then there’s the uniquely original spaces of the historic building that opened in 1922 as the Kansas City Club. They include the Tudor Ballroom and its stained glass windows; the Grill Room and its Medieval murals and the President’s Room with its rich woodwork.
“We want to help and support local Kansas City artists,” Baldwin said. “Any need we can fill locally, we want to.”
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