Located in the heart of downtown Kansas City, the Kansas City Club building was constructed in the early 1920s as the meeting place for the private social club. The 15-story structure, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002, continued to operate as a private clubhouse for nearly 80 years until it was transformed into the Hotel Kansas City in 2020.
Chicago-based KTGY Simeone Deary Design Group was tasked with converting the historic place into a contemporary destination. “The building was rich in character, well taken care of, and had little to no renovation work that destroyed or covered up the past,” says Gina Deary, principal at KTGY Simeone Deary Design Group.
During its heyday, the club exclusively welcomed men. The design team maintained some of that moody, masculine spirit, while taking a more inclusive approach. “Think of a beautiful, strong woman walking into a room with an airy ball gown sweeping the space, taking everyone’s attention,” describes Deary. “[We want] the guest to pause and realize how far we have come and how much we need masculine and feminine forces working together.”
This dichotomy is evident in Hotel Kansas City’s 144 guestrooms, where deep blue and rose pink hues offset rich walnut-paneled walls and aged leather furnishings. Artwork depicting a portrait of a woman—a nod to Bertha Goodwin, the first woman to apply to be a member of the Kansas City Club—can also be found in the chambers.
An oversized chandelier serves as a showstopping art feature in the reimagined lobby. Measuring 43 feet long and eight feet tall, the light fixture is arranged in an undulating pattern that makes it look as if it is floating. Many original elements in the space, including amber-hued stone flooring and plaster ceilings, were revitalized.
“As designers, our job was to pull this layered past into the future by highlighting the beautiful craftsmanship, revealing the past as artwork, and juxtaposing it against an unexpected element,” Deary says. “A flexible approach allowed for unique solutions and innovations to emerge as original details were restored to their former grandeur.”