Kansas City offers a variety of quality hotels. You can find great stays regardless of the area you are interested in staying.
Our recent visit had us staying downtown, at the Hilton President Hotel.
The President, built in 1926, is located at 13th and Baltimore streets. It’s adjacent to the Power and Light District. The P&L is a retail, entertainment and restaurant area downtown.
The President is a success story of saving an aged building for modern use. The President Hotel closed its doors in 1980. It reopened in 2005, and is under the Hilton flag. Rather than let a building fall into despair and possible demolition, the Hilton President thrives.
It’s a AAA four diamond hotel, which signifies its success. The staff is great. Everyone we talked with was helpful and professional.
The hotel’s history is a bit interesting.
It opened in 1926, and served as the headquarters for the 1928 Republican National Convention. The convention nominated Herbert Hoover for president. The Iowan went on to win the presidency. He was in office when the Depression started in 1929. He served one term. Hoover died in 1964.
The hotel has hosted a registry of historical figures. Al Capone was a guest at the hotel. Apparently, the hotel had tunnels underneath, where mobsters would move about, so law officers couldn’t see them. The tunnels are closed now, we were told by hotel staff.
The Drum Room lounge next door saw famous entertainers. Frank Sinatra performed there. Benny Goodman entertained people there. Marilyn Maye sang at the Drum Room. She was noticed by Steve Allen, and later performed on the “Tonight Show” when he hosted. Ella Fitzgerald is rumored to have called her the best white female singer.
There are ample spots for people to sit and visit.
The lobby has copies of newspaper coverage of the hotel and its rebirth almost nine years ago.
Behind the check-in area is a plaque commemorating the first time in American history that five presidents were together. It featured Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. They gathered for the opening of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. Mind you, the portrait was not taken at the President. It’s displayed there.
Our accommodation was a junior queen suite. A living room area was in the same room as the bed, but it was quite large.
The hotel staff was very nice and gave us a fruit and cheese tray. Everything was quite delicious. It was a great way to cap a hectic day.
We had a great view. On one side, we had the Power & Light Building across the street, and the Kauffman performing arts center a couple of blocks away. The convention center – with its towers standing high above the landscape – was about a block away.
Other classic buildings nearby include the AMC Main Street Theatre and the Midland Theatre.
The Power & Light District has a couple of great murals less than three blocks from the hotel. They highlight two major features of Kansas City history – Jazz and Negro Leagues Baseball. The Kansas City Monarchs were among the best in the NLB.
During our stay, we stopped by the Barney Allis Plaza to take in some holiday lights. It was a couple of blocks from the hotel. A few trees in the plaza were decorated with Christmas lights. There were also stars and snowflakes scattered about.
The main attraction was a Christmas tree, whose lights were programmed to change with the light show on the side of the Marriott Hotel (13th and Wyandotte). As a light display on the side of the hotel changed colors, or created patterns or words, the lights on the Christmas tree changed in the plaza.
The Hilton President is a great downtown hotel and centrally located to attractions. Our hotel stay capped a great weekend in the Royal City.
Disclosure: Thanks to the Kansas City Visitors Bureau (www.visitkc.com) for the complimentary hotel stay. However, all comments and thoughts belong to us. We will be open and honest regarding service and/or attractions.