The Savoy Hotel and Grill was the spot for presidents to get a steak dinner in Kansas City, Mo., touted as the country’s oldest continuously operating hotel west of the Mississippi River.
And now, after two years and a $50 million overhaul, it has been given new life in the form of the 21c Museum Hotel Kansas City, combining contemporary art and chef-driven Americana cuisine with a sense of Kansas City history. The 120-room boutique hotel officially reopened on July 17, offering groups a large ballroom, four private galleries and a conference room.
Its 6,200-sf contemporary art museum is free and open to the public (365 days a year), featuring rotating exhibitions that change every six to nine months. Its inaugural art exhibition, “Refuge,” studies country borders and the people who cross them.
The art emphasis extends into the guest rooms as well, with photographs of Antarctic landscapes dotting the walls. Even the traditional bedside “Bible” has been replaced with copies of “Art Is the Highest Form of Hope.” Parts of the old hotel still remain in the form of porcelain vessel sinks, thick baseboards and doors that have been painted over. But the hotel’s former Savoy Grill restaurant is the space that looks mostly untouched, still featuring its iconic carved oak bar and 1903 murals of pioneers crossing the plains.
Situated in the exact location of the former Savoy Grill, The Savoy at 21c restaurant still brings out that KC pride, with the city’s very own executive chef Joe West at its helm. West brings his creativity to the traditional surf and turf menu. Highlights include avocado crab Louis and steak tartare, while the prime rib will surely still attract a president or two to the table.