Odd and Eerie
It was oddly peaceful for being downtown in a city, on a weekday at rush hour. The Hotel Savoy is a well known Kansas City landmark, so I expected more tourist traffic around this 126 year old hotel.
The Hotel Savoy opened as a luxury hotel in 1888, so I imagined somewhat of a spotlight on this grand building. We wandered to find the entrance, then walked through the brass doors into a dimly lit hall, that felt more like the entry to an apartment building than a hotel.
Found the Doors
Towards the end of the hall we found doors that brought us into a large 2-level space. Pale light lit up cloth covered cafe tables beside a wall of Art Deco stained glass.
Up a Step
The upper level of what had once been the spacious elegant lobby, held the desk and a few lounging chairs beneath a stained glass dome. A ponytailed man working behind the desk, looked more like a professor than a hotel clerk. He continued to play the role of intimidating teacher as he checked us in and gave us our key and assignment.
We loved this insane news! These food options were a little more exciting than choosing between oatmeal or eggs!
The elevator rumbled us to the 4th floor without any mishaps. (Although we chose the very impressive marble stairs for all other trips.) The doors opened and we looked left down a hall with newer carpet and light fixtures. However, our "Victorian Suite", 402 was to the right... down a darker hall.
My camera flash made our hallway look much cheerier than it seemed. We were clearly in an area that made no attempts to impress. The door beside ours had a name plate on it, hinting that there was a long term resident as our neighbor... which would have been fine at The Plaza in NYC. Our door looked more like an old office door with a wood panel, filling in what might have once been glass. I liked the fact we had a real key.
A Sweet Old Suite
We chuckled as we entered our spacious suite. It was hard to figure when the updates had occurred since 1888. The black sofa (at a jaunty angle) and a few other pieces of furniture welcomed us with the lived in look of a student apartment. The cloth covered table with its coffee maker and cups and saucers, felt like a gracious old folks home.
But honestly, we were delighted with our funny hotel room. The price was just around 100 dollars, which is pretty darn good for experiencing an iconic hotel and getting a humongous breakfast feast. I would rather find lacy curtains, metal venetian blinds, a.c. window units and Grandma's quilt in my hotel room, than Marriott decor when I'm trying to enjoy the past.
1880's Meets 1980's
The bathroom amused me with the mixture of old and new. I'm guessing the old tub and sink and honeycomb tile were all original. The wallpaper and mirror made me think 1980's, which is when the hotel became a "Bed and Breakfast". And not far from the sink was small table with starched white cloth to hold all the junk I lug from hotel to hotel. How cute and retro is that?
A View and Some Phones
And when I explored a little more, I found myself quite intrigued by all the doors and phones in our suite. I counted 6 doors and 3 phones. And a coat rack. Gotta love a hotel room with a coat rack!
You can enter through revolving doors from the street or follow the "Snake Floor" from the lobby towards a beastly buffalo head mounted on the hall wall. Simply look in the direction of the buffalo's gaze and enter the double doors to the Grill.
And Stained Glass
Other booths had the soft glow of light from stained glass windows. Harry and Bess Truman had a favorite booth at the Savoy. I'm not sure if this was it, but it would have been a nice one. A different Harry visited the Savoy long ago. When Houdini was here, someone played a joke and locked him in a phone booth.
Don and I needed to experience the cozy oak bar before disappearing into our booth. We had martinis in curious, vintage glasses and spoke with a number of chatty wait staff wearing white jackets and bow ties. Most had been working at the hotel for decades. Our young bartender was the newest, but his parents and grandfather had all worked at the Grill before him.
Breakfast was ridiculous! Or rather, we looked ridiculously greedy, since we had ordered 8 dishes! We were barely seated when coffee, juice and sweet rolls appeared.
It is almost not safe to eat that amount before hitting the road... but we had a lot of caffeine!
A kitchen fire was the reason. Luckily the hotel has been bought and will be gutted and refurbished and once again enjoyed. But I'm glad we saw it before a classy restoration. I'm sure it will be lovely and I'm glad it will be saved, but I feel lucky to have memories of our eerie, weary stay at the Savoy.
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!