If you are in the Midwest or have an inkling to get away from it all and escape to a blissful, small-town setting, have I got the place for you! Nestled in the heart of Excelsior Springs, Missouri – away from the hustle and bustle of the everyday life of the city – is one of the most charming places you can find. The Elms Hotel and Spa. One of my besties and I stumbled upon this gem of place on our hunt for a reasonable girl’s getaway. I don’t think I’ve frequented a hotel where every staff person went out of their way to be so accommodating, with the sweetest dispositions. We had the great pleasure to be on a floor with an enthusiastic bachelorette party (the hotel is a frequent venue for girls’ getaway of all types). My bestie and I were in no rush to lose our Zen or come down from the super mellow vibe we acquired as a result of a full day of pampering. Not a problem – the front desk staff had us situated in the blink of an eye. Let me tell you more about the pampering!
We began our weekend of self-care (or self-indulgence, it’s all a matter of perspective) in The Grotto at the spa. If you buy spa services, you receive two hours of comp time in The Grotto complementary. You can also buy a solo Grotto package, subject to availability. The solo Grotto package is on a first-come, first-serve basis but worth it! It has an exfoliation bar with four house-made, delicious scrubs to help relieve you of flaky skin and get that blood circulating. The scrubs were perfect to take into the steam shower to open your pores, moisturize and exfoliate. Another highlight, a place I spent far too much time, was in the 3-feet deep hot tub. Perfect relaxation for every single knotted muscle. The drizzle on the macchiato? That would be the galvanized, metal tub filled with hand towels nestled amongst ice infused with peppermint oil. Imagine placing those towels over your head or around your shoulders as you steam in the dry sauna or the hot tub. So soothing! By the time I rotated between the steam shower, the hot tub, the dry sauna and general lounging over the course of two hours (while nursing a glass of LaMarca Prosecco), I had almost no energy for the piece de resistance. By the way, the Elms does have a cold plunge shower but the way my nerves are set up, I decided it was best not to give it a go.
I opted for the Elms Signature Massage for my paid service. The Signature Massage is a combination of hot stone, hand massage and shower massage over the course of 75 minutes. Let me first give you two words – ultimate relaxation. If you are a person who needs deep tissue and constant hard pressure on your muscles this is not your best option. However if you like steady, non-stop massage pressure, coupled with the tension reduction from hot stones in an environment that feels like a steam room, you’ve got the right massage! The vichy shower head at the Elms incorporates 9 strategically placed shower heads (the only spot missed is your own head) coaxing the tightness from every aching part of your body. There is at least 60-minutes of water massage. The other 10-15 minutes are pure hand massage. My favorite part of the massage is the use of a shower wand, which traces the contour of every muscle of your body. This is done on both sides, front and back. You will be drenched head-to-toe. No way around it. My advice is just leave your modesty at the door of the wet room and relax!
Of course we took advantage of the nail care services on the second day, which meant a second day in The Grotto! Our nail technicians were such a delight and happy to regale us with their “encounters.” By encounters I mean of the supernatural kind. You will hear a story or two (or three) about the “ghosts” employees and guests have had at the Hotel. I blocked it out. I don’t believe in ghosts nor was I looking to find any experiences. Apparently there are thrill-seekers who visit the hotel for this reason alone.
All kinds of waxing services, facial treatments, hydrotherapy, bath rituals, nail care and massage services are also available at the Spa. The staff there is all simply amazing and would happily help you personalize special packages and occasions you are trying to put together. I can’t tell you how many gal pals, groups and couples I saw coming through on my weekend at the Elms. There was one thing that was consistent – everyone was in a chill and cheerful mood.
Downtown, a quick walk from the hotel, there are some great antique and craft shops. I had to keep in mind my real reason for the weekend getaway! The absolute best place to eat, a must stop on your visit is the Willow Springs Mercantile. It has a cute basement bistro serving all the Missouri wines and beers you can imagine. On the upper level is even more wines and beers for purchase (which of course you can take back to The Elms) along with other gourmet gifts. Ask anyone along the way, they’ll recommend the Mercantile. The owner, Daphne, makes you feel right at home.
I had no idea Excelsior Springs had this hidden treasure. It is actually listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Why you ask? Way back in the day, back when speakeasies were a thing, Al Capone and his cronies were frequent and popular guests at the Elms. In 1948 when Harry Truman was seeking re-election, he sought refuge at the Elm when he thought he’d lost the bid to Dewey. Former President Truman is actually photographed at the Elms holding the Tribune which erroneously declared Dewey the winner. The Capone suite is available to rent and also popular on the Elms’ tour when it is not booked. The Elms' staff is happy to talk about their historical guests. The truth is, it’s such a gem you still don’t know who you might bump into. What I know DO know is it is my obligation to share the love. If you are looking for a quick getaway and want to take in the nostalgia that is the Elms Hotel and Spa, I highly recommend it.