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21c Museum Hotel Kansas City by MGallery

History: 
    21c Museum Hotel Kansas City by MGallery
 in Kansas City

History

The origin story of the 21c Museum Hotel Kansas City is a tale involving two distinct venues. Consisting of a historic hotel and its accompanying restaurant, this stunning location has been in operation for more than a century. The hotel actually predates the restaurant, having occupied the site since 1888. It was founded by John and Charles Arbuckle, who rose in prominence throughout Kansas City due to the success of their business, the “Arbuckle Coffee Company.” To further enhance their economic prosperity, the brothers decided to construct an upscale hotel in the center of what is now the city’s financial district. The Arbuckles hired the architectural firm Van Burnt & Howe for the project, who subsequently designed the building with Art Nouveau-style architecture. When the Savoy Hotel debuted in the 1890s, the hotel featured a number of amazing features, including a magnificent series of stained-glass windows that are still present today.

The restaurant appeared shortly thereafter in 1903, when the Arbuckles added on the current western wing. Opening as the Savoy Grill, the restaurant rapidly emerged as a beloved attraction in Kansas City. Patrons were quickly enamored with the restaurant’s delectable menu of seafood and steak, as well as its stunning carved oak bar and high-beamed ceilings. The Savoy Grill soon attracted many famous American luminaries, including W.C. Fields, Will Rogers, and John D. Rockefeller. The restaurant also developed a close following among the nation’s leading statesmen, as several U.S. Presidents frequently visited the Savory Grill. Harry Truman and his wife, Bess, were especially enraptured with the place. The couple were regulars at the restaurant, often dining in its No. 4 Booth. Its appeal was so great that both the restaurant and the hotel were eventually listed as protected historical building by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

While the Savoy Grill managed to maintained its prestigious reputation for some time, the hotel increasingly declined in popularity. A local restauranteur named Don Lee attempted to revive interest in the hotel when he bought the entire location during the 1960s. Lee decided to heavily renovate the building, adding on additions to both the restaurant and hotel over the next twenty years. He even converted the hotel into a bed-and-breakfast in a bid to rekindle its allure. But after owning the building for more than fifty years, Lee decided to sell both businesses to new owners. In cooperation with local real-estate developers, 21c Museum Hotels acquired the site from Lee in 2014. Upon completing its own ambitious renovation of the site, 21c Museum Hotels debuted both venues together as the 21c Museum Hotel Kansas City in 2018.

21c Museum Hotel Kansas City by MGallery, a member of Historic Hotels of America since 2019, dates back to 1888.


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