The Raphael Hotel in Kansas City garners top awards

The Raphael Hotel overlooks Country Club Plaza.

The award-winning Raphael Hotel overlooks Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza. Photo courtesy of The Raphael.

You walk inside the grand 1920’s property overlooking the Country Club Plaza, and can scarcely believe your eyes. You’re not in Kansas City anymore, Toto.

The Raphael Hotel, 325 Ward Parkway, does a pretty mean imitation of an upscale boutique hotel in Paris. Fresh off an extensive renovation, the 35-year old hotel has never looked better in its life.

Your European-style experience begins when you encounter “The Boy with the Thorn,” a white marble statue in the hotel courtyard. Created by sculptor Bernard Zuckermann in his Carrara, Italy studio, it is a replica of the original in Florence, Italy’s Uffizi Gallery.

And your European adventure continues even when you leave your plush hotel surroundings to explore the rest of Kansas City. First of all, there are the marvelous fountains–Kansas City has more fountains than any other city in the world except for Rome. Kansas City also has more boulevards than any other city in the world except for Paris. And, just outside the Raphael’s front door, there are more than thirty statues, murals, and tile mosaics on display in the Country Club Plaza area. The Plaza’s design reflects classic European influences, especially those of Seville, Spain. One major architectural reproduction is a half-sized Giralda Tower of Seville. Even without the spectacular light display the Plaza puts on during the Christmas holiday season, it’s a pretty impressive place. The entire 15-block district, with more than 150 shops and dozens of fine restaurants, is Kansas City’s premier shopping, dining, and entertainment destination. You’re right in the heart of everything, when you stay at The Raphael.

The Raphael Hotel lobby

The luxurious Raphael lobby invites guests to sit and sip tea. Photo courtesy of The Raphael.

The entrance vestibule of the newly-renovated lobby features black granite entry flooring, a metallic gold leaf ceiling, a chandelier preserved from the original lobby, pale yellow faux silk wall covering, and wood-framed mirrors. Guests can sit on the crushed velvet sofa and sip hot tea and coffee in the morning, and be treated to cupcakes and apple cider in late afternoon.

Raphael King Suite Bed

A King Suite at the Raphael offers all the comforts of home. Photo courtesy of The Raphael.

Guest rooms and suites at The Raphael Hotel include mahogany-finished writing desks (my favorite thing to do is to check into The Raphael to work on writing projects), complete with laptop ports, and wired and wireless Internet access. Beds have comfy pillow-top mattresses that are pure heaven to sink into after a hard day’s shopping on the Plaza.

Raphael Chaz Dining Area & Bar

Chaz at the Raphael Hotel creates culinary masterpieces. Photo courtesy of The Raphael.

Chaz on the Plaza is the Raphael’s signature restaurant and lounge. The atmosphere is warm and club-like, but with an energetic vibe. I can personally recommend the Chaz Potatoes served at breakfast. In addition to a dinner menu of beef, seafood, lamb, pork, poultry, and vegetarian dishes, guests are treated to the music of local artists (jazz, classical, blues, and rock music) Tuesday-Sunday evenings. Chaz features a Happy Hour from 4-7 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays.

The Raphael has been garnering awards from prestigious travel publications for years, and its most recent honor was being named as one of the world’s 500 best hotels by Travel & Leisure magazine. The Raphael’s rating also placed it among the top 100 North American lodging establishments.

Just this month the Raphael became one of the first to be a part of Marriott International‘s new Autograph Collection, in the “iconic historic hotel” category.

For more information, go to www.raphaelkc.com. For reservations, call 800-821-5343.

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