Written by Katy Ryan Schamberger | Photos by Michael Robinson
nyone who’s searched for a wedding venue knows that it can be an intense, pressure-filled process. Yet for Jake Jacobson, inspiration struck unexpectedly. While on a hard-hat tour of the not-yet-opened Hotel Kansas City as part of the hotel’s branding team, he was excited by several of the hotel’s gathering spaces, including a rooftop terrace that immerses you in the downtown Kansas City skyline.
“Then we walked through the two-story ballroom and I thought, ‘This is it,’” he says. “I was taking pictures of the ballroom, the terrace, and other areas on the tour and texting them to my then-fiancée, Angelea [Busby].”
Her response? An emphatic “Yes! This is our place!”
And that’s how the Jacobsons found themselves making history in an already historic location. Due to some unexpected shifts in the hotel’s grand opening timeline, as well as pandemic-induced cancellations, Jake and Angelea achieved two prized distinctions: the first guests to be married at Hotel Kansas City and the first two guests to stay there.
“The hotel passed their health inspection the day before our guests started arriving,” Jake recalls with a laugh. “Everything with our wedding came together beautifully.”
A thorough renovation transformed what was originally the Gothic Revival structure of the Kansas City Club into its newest incarnation: a graceful, gritty 144-room hotel that’s one of the newer additions to The Unbound Collection by Hyatt.
Established in 1882, the Kansas City Club functioned as one of the region’s most exclusive social clubs. An impressive membership roster included Harry S Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ewing Kauffman and General Omar Bradley. In fact, many of the club’s most iconic members are celebrated in perpetuity with an installation of sculptural busts in the hotel’s plush, inviting lobby.
Remnants of the club’s storied history remain throughout the 15-floor hotel, from original tile flooring leading into the ballroom to the main-floor coffee kiosk, repurposed from old wooden mailboxes. Pull up a stool at the sleek lobby bar and raise a glass to Kansas City’s alter ego, Paris of the Plains, where Prohibition proved to be merely an inconvenience.
Provided there aren’t any private events happening during your visit, don’t miss a chance to see the building’s breathtaking architecture that’s been carefully updated to create a 20,000-square-foot portfolio of meeting and event spaces.
A guest favorite? The two-story Tudor Ballroom where the Jacobsons’ hosted their wedding reception. A towering stained glass mural created by Ronald Neill Dixon, accompanied by warm wood accents, creates an ambiance of timeless elegance. The Grill Room—what many agree is the most unique space at Hotel Kansas City—features Arts and Crafts style, accented by original milk glass windows, hand-painted murals and tiled columns.
For Jake, whom friends fondly call “Mr. Kansas City,” there couldn’t have been a better or more iconic place to marry his own Miss Kansas (yes, really—Angelea won the state crown in 2003 and represented the Sunflower State in the Miss America pageant).
“Getting married at Hotel Kansas City was exactly what we hoped, and the design of the hotel played a huge role in making it such an unforgettable experience,” he says.