Kansas City’s Hotel Phillips is undergoing a $20 million top-to-bottom renovation to bring this historic hotel back into the spotlight. From re-conception and renovation of the restaurant to the guest baths, Arbor Lodging, NVN Hotels, and KKAD are leading the way on the renovations as the Curio Collection for Hilton Hotels.
Kansas City is a place where America is personified and at that center of that is the Hotel Phillips, a historic 217 room hotel located right on 12th street in downtown Kansas City. After opening its doors in 1931 as Kansas City’s tallest building, Hotel Phillips has been appreciated for its height, art-déco details, and history. In 1979 Hotel Phillips was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Now 37 years later the Hotel is entering a new era as the new world and the old blend together during these $20 million renovations. We had the pleasure of chatting with the heads of the project Vamsi Bonthala, CEO of Arbor Lodging Partners and Sheenal Patel, CEO of NVN Hotels to find out more.
The renovations are scheduled for completion in December and then converted to the Curio Collection by the end of January. Hotel Phillips is currently open during these renovations allowing its guest to see the transformation first hand. The partners at Arbor Lodging immediately saw Hotel Phillips as a wonderful asset and made the decision. “We really saw a great opportunity to reposition it into the leading hotel in the market once again. In addition, we felt that there was a lot of misuse of space throughout the hotel, so there was an opportunity to not only reposition what’s already there, particularly with respect to food and beverage and the restaurant but to create new experiences for guests,” said Patel.
Hotel Phillips was home to a single restaurant, 12 Baltimore, a contemporary American restaurant. With the city on the up and up it seems it was time for a change, sadly 12 Baltimore have closed its doors. Hotel Phillips will be the home of a variety of new eateries. Starting with Kilo Charlie, the hotels new coffee shop is a clever way to show its ties to KC and the history of the hotel. “It’s meant to be playful and also as a historical reference in when Hotel Phillips was built in 1931, it was the first building in Kansas City, or the first hotel in Kansas City that had a radio receiver in each room,” said Patel. As far as the actual coffee goes, Hotel Phillips is partnering with La Colmobe Coffee Roasters. “We wanted a high quality craft coffee purveyor that really reflected the quality of the hotel and what we’re trying to do in the coffee bar,” said Patel.
Hotel Phillips will also be opening, Tavernonna Italian Kitchen. Hotel Phillips has partnered with David Morton and Michael Kornick of DMK Restaurant Group for Tavernonna. Kornick is the vision behind the restaurant, the menu, and the kitchen. 12 Baltimore has been closed and the space is now in the midst of a gut renovation. The bar is being replaced, the back bar, the kitchen and a restructuring of areas in the restaurant. The kitchen will be receiving an upgrade with new equipment from Hockenbergs Food Service Equipment & Supply. Kornick has also been instrumental in the design of the kitchen and in the redesign of the restaurant. “We’re very familiar with their restaurants, and they just do a fantastic job of great food and great atmosphere. There’s excellent food in Kansas city that’s very high quality food but we felt that we could really elevate that experience by not only focusing on food but also focusing on atmosphere and it just seems like something they would be great at,” said Patel.
KC is a city known for its history a lot of that being during its liveliness during the prohibition era. Hotel Phillips will be honoring with its add-on of PS, a classic Kansas City speakeasy. With high-quality cocktails in mind, Hotel Phillips partnered with Barrel & Hatchet, a Kansas City-based company who runs Manifesto another speakeasy-style bar. “Barrel & Hatchet will be taking the lead on the menu to create a combination of a high-quality drink menu and to combine with a great atmosphere and great design,” said Bonthala. P.S. you’ll need to find the secret entrance to get in.
By this time next year Hotel Phillips is going to have an entirely new feel. KKAD will be making changes to the lobby, infrastructure and rooms to the new eateries all while holding the city and history of the hotel in mind. Aside from the renovations and additions Hotel Phillips is truly thinking uniquely and with its guests’ experience in mind. From craft cocktail classes at PS, to pop up entertainment with their new program Artlight, Hotel Phillips is embracing Kansas City through their history, their culture and their arts.