Kansas City Ambassador (Autograph), Downtown, Splendid Steamboat Museum

Discussion created by ssindc on Oct 24, 2019
Latest reply on Oct 24, 2019 by verysuiteboy

Just back from a quick stop in Kansas City and really pleased I decided to try the Autograph Ambassador downtown.  It's a nice property - indeed, it's a classic Autograph property (and, more times than not, I find myself choosing Autographs whenever they're available) - and I strongly recommend it. The location was (very) convenient for me - close to the government center - and an easy walk to lots of restaurants and, towards the river, the extremely gratifying Steamboat Arabia Museum, which is one of the finest small museums I've ever visited (but more on that below).


Two minor, largely irrelevant notes: (1) Fun for me to visit Kansas City, because I lived there almost 50 years ago.... and (2) Alas, a quick, business trip, so I was travelling without my camera/lenses ... so everything that follows is phone pics only (which is better than nothing, but a far cry from my recent Albuquerque experience .... ABQ Balloon Fiesta - Mini-Tipple - Marriott Pyramid Albuquerque - Eye Candy  ).


I enjoyed a very comfortable room - large, but not excessive.  Nice bed, good work surface, and a comfy lounging couch.  Plentiful, well-placed lights ... with a motion-sensor driven under-sink nite-light kind of thing for the bathroom, which was kind of interesting.

room - Ambassador KC

Extremely well managed property - everyone I met was nice and helpful.  I ate multiple meals at the hotel - breakfasts and dinners - and enjoyed everything I ate (in particular, the Egg White Frittata for breakfast, which was just about perfect). Really nice Gilchrest & Soames toiletries, and oh, yeah, nice robes at the Ambassador!

Ambassador robes

The special bonus on the trip was making time for the surprisingly worthwhile, jewel in the crown, Steamboat Arabia Museum.  What a pleasant surprise ... a great investment of an hour... and, in retrospect, I'm embarrassed I initially hesitated to pay the $15 for the visit and tour - it was worth that and more!  I knew I was going to like it as soon as I saw the two-story setup where you can get up close and personal with one of the (working) paddle wheels. (OK, it was kind of hypnotic, but that's another story....)

steamship wheel - Arabia

The museum is (stunningly) well curated, the tour guide was SUPERB, but the backstory is ... WILD.  The ship struck a root on the (shallow, muddy) Missouri River, and sank (in 1856, yup, before the Civil War) and sat there for 100+ years until a group of friends/speculator/adventurers found it and dug it up. And the museum is very much a family and friends story and labor of love.... Oh, and here's the front of the paddle wheel's drive train:

paddle wheel - Arabia front

But here's the crazy part ... the ship was transporting absurd amounts of STUFF (goods of every kind) for the numerous soon-to-open General Stores needed to serve Americans rapidly moving westward....  As the tour guide explained, as a result, the excavation site was - in effect - a time capsule of (in modern terms) a fully stocked Walmart or Target.  And that sounds silly ... and you're sure it's an exaggeration ..., until you see the collection, and it's ... jaw-dropping!!!  It's incredible.....  If you're in KC, I can't recommend it enough.... Here's the web site: A Historic Kansas City Attraction | The Arabia Steamboat Museum 


As for the Missouri (and that ends with an uh and not an ee) River itself, there's a bike trail and pedestrian bridge nearby.

Missouri river

Walking up on the bridge, you pass and can look down on one of the most impressive dog training/obedience school sites I've seen.... Nice canine living ... at least it looks that way to me...

dog school

The pedestrian bridge/bike trail also looks down on the KC Street Car terminus, which was kind of cool:

KC streetcar

I must say that I found the government center part of KC a little ... empty .... even though there were lots of nice and impressive buildings, like the Court House:

KC courthouse

In and around the government buildings, there was a fair amount of interesting statuary ...  in particular, I liked this one, although, for some reason, it made me a little sad (but I'm not sure why):

Abe and Tad - KC

And, in terms of urban/street art, I was somewhat taken by the mural adjacent to the Strange Days Brewing Company (which, alas, I didn't try):

Strange Days Brewing Co

In any event, I was very happy with the hotel and the museum - a pretty good outcome for a short business trip!