Lockheed Constellation Mural in the TWA Room at 816 Hotel
It’s not often that we here at AirlineReporter review hotels. In fact, a property must be exceedingly special to attract our attention. Take, for example, prime PlaneSpotting properties like the AvGeek favorite Renaissance Concourse Hotel in Atlanta, or equally impressive Fairmont Vancouver Airport. And of course, who could forget the world’s only seven-star hotel, in Dubai.
But what about a lowly three-star former Holiday Inn Express turned independent hotel in Kansas City? What could they possibly offer of interest to a fiercely loyal major brand status holder and admitted hotel snob like me? A lot, it turns out. KC’s 816 Hotel (that’s our telephone area code for those not in the know) has done a lot to distinguish itself from the pack in appealing to folks from all walks of life. The property has over one hundred rooms, with twenty themed rooms. These unique rooms range from representing our various sports teams to our local newspapers to themes far off the beaten path: KC Mob or BBQ room, anyone? And while any of these might appeal to the general population, the gems that caught my eye were those dedicated to the Roasterie DC-3 and TWA.
I was lucky to score a night in the ever popular TWA room. Here are my thoughts…
Memorabilia overload awesomeness in the main room of the TWA Museum
Kansas City is indisputably a TWA town. Most don’t know that the airline can trace its roots back to KC. Additionally, one of its two former KC-based headquarters is, in fact, now home to the one and only TWA Museum. It’s here at 10 Richards Road in Kansas City that Howard Hughes once officed, and where the airline witnessed explosive growth as passenger aviation quite literally took off.
Before we get too far, I must concede, TWA had nearly vanished from the skies by the time I was really getting excited about commercial aviation. And for that reason, unlike many of my local aviation pals, I don’t have the same fondness and sparkle in my eye when I talk about the airline. Still, I fancy myself a bit of an AvGeek historian and as such do my best to understand the excitement of others for this once-great airline.
The TWA Museum had been established a handful of years ago, but for some reason I never made the time to visit. I didn’t know exactly what to expect. Thankfully the TWA Museum carried through with the airline’s 1970s slogan: “You’re going to like us.”
The Roasterie’s roof-mounted DC-3
I’m an #AvGeek. I love specialty coffee, classic airplanes, and my hometown of Kansas City. Let’s combine them all! Here at AirlineReporter we are a fan of all things aviation, including those on the fringe. Say for example, King Nut, the snack provider to the world’s airlines, or a brewery with beer lines which cater to AvGeeks. Today we’re taking a look at The Roasterie, a specialty coffee company that is obsessed with the iconic Douglas DC-3.
How much do you love airplanes? Enough to dedicate the branding of your company to one of the most recognizable planes in history? Ok, that’s easy enough. But do you love DC-3s enough to have one restored and mounted to the roof of your downtown Kansas City coffee roasting plant? This, my friends, is the apex of AvGeek achievements, a level unlocked in 2012 by The Roasterie founder and president, Danny O’Neill.
The Roasterie has long been an iconic KC brand, but when they mounted a DC-3 to their building, they changed the skyline and commanded attention from anyone even remotely interested in airplanes. It’s hard to drive on I-35 through KC and not notice this plane that looks as if it has just reached V-1 and is rotating out of downtown. I have long been a fan of The Roasterie and always intended to visit for one of their free tours, but as locals tend to do, I kept putting it off. What better way to remind folks of their intent to visit than to mount a piece of AvGeek eye candy to your roof? It was time to dig a bit deeper, and I have to be honest, I’m glad I did…