By Kevin Collison
Officials at the new Hotel Kansas City scheduled to open in the historic Kansas City Club building this August believe love will show the way to prosperity following the hospitality industry crash caused by Covid-19.
“The interest in weddings is how the industry will come back,” said Sarah Beck, director of sales and marketing. “We want to be the hottest spot for weddings in 2021.”
The 144-room hotel at 1228 Baltimore also will be the first full-service Hyatt in the metro since the Crown Center Hyatt Regency changed flags to become a Sheraton in 2011, according to Ryan Baldwin, the new general manager.
“People have been asking for a full-service Hyatt for awhile,” he said.
Baldwin said the new hotel scheduled to open Aug. 27 will be part of the Hyatt Unbound Collection. It’s already booked a 400-guest wedding in October and 150-guest wedding in September.
It will be opening following a spring that’s seen a precipitous decline in the hotel industry with occupancy rates dropping to 10 percent vs 68 percent a year ago, a factor in the delayed opening of the Loews Kansas City Convention Hotel which finally occurred Monday.
The $59.5 million conversion of the 14-story building KC Club building which opened in 1918 is also the second rebirth of the 21st Century for the old haunt of the city’s elite. In 2002, it was renovated to become the Baltimore Lofts apartment building.
The hotel is part of a larger redevelopment by Platform Ventures of most of the block where its located.
The developer also is planning an office tower immediately to the west at 13th and Wyandotte, and ultimately plans to renovate the upper vacant floors of the old Hotel Muehlbach at 12th and Baltimore into apartments.
The renovation preserves the richly-decorated historic rooms of the old club building: the Grill Room with its medieval murals; the Tudor Room and its beautiful stained glass windows, the President Room, Library Room and the ornate lobby.
It adds modern hotel rooms including 15 suites, 11 of which have two levels, and a completely redone Starlight Ballroom on the top floor. The Starlight event space includes a full bar inside and opens to a rooftop patio with great downtown views.
Beck said there’s about 20,000 square-feet of total space available for weddings and other events.
“That opens us up to be a different type of hotel than the city has seen before,” she said.
While the top floor will be open accessible only for event patrons, the lower levels of the floor will be available to hotel guest and the public. The first floor will feature a 70-seat restaurant, The Town Company, created by Chef Patrick Ryan of Port Fonda.
Johnny Leach from Portland will be the executive chef and his wife Helen Jo Leach will be the pastry chef. The restaurant will feature an open wood grill and will serve locally-sourced foods.
The lobby will include a coffee shop featuring Messenger Coffee and pastries made on the premise. There also will be a small bar and lounge.
The basement of the old club building, which once was a bowling alley, will feature an approximately 100-seat saloon called “El Gold” that will feature a pool table, shuffleboard and live music.
The hotel will employ 90 people full time with more expected to be hired as business picks up.
Baldwin said Hyatt is confident the new Hotel Kansas City will be successful despite the current industry downturn. The opening was pushed back from late July to late August though.
“We’re excited bo bring excellent hospitality to the city in a beautiful, restored building,” he said.
“It’s a 100 year-old building. We talk a lot about the past, but I believe it’s brightest years are ahead as a hotel.”
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