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Archive for April 2017

Ambassador Hotel Kansas City

Posted on April 30, 2017 by under Reviews.    

I finally found a hotel that I love during my final week in Kansas City. It’s a shame that I didn’t find out about the hotel sooner. Since September I’d been staying at the Kansas City Downtown Marriott (and enduring their horrendous service and outdated rooms) or the more modern Courtyard Marriott by the Kauffman Center.

I’d been enduring the service at Kansas City Downtown Marriott because it’s only a four-minute walk to the office and most of it is indoors. They have a skywalk that connects the main building to the old Muelebach Hotel across the street from the office on Baltimore, which makes it really convenient on extremely cold winter days and rainy days. I only have to be outside for a brief moment before I’m indoors again. My colleagues discovered the Courtyard Marriott down the street which is about a ten-minute walk. The first time I tried it, I found the rooms to be much more comfortable and nicer and the service was actually better as well, with the exception of valet parking which is usually always a wait no matter what’s going on. There was even one evening when Michelle and I returned from a leadership meeting in Lawrence and the valet was nowhere to be found. However, since the weather had improved, I’d been staying at the Courtyard Marriott more despite all of their shortcomings because they actually had the nicer rooms. I haven’t been completely satisfied, though.

A few weeks ago, one of the consultants who had previously been staying at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown told me about the Ambassador Hotel. He’d been staying there a few weeks at that point and really liked it. He said it’s about the same walking distance as the other hotel, about four minutes, just in the opposite direction. Michelle and I agreed to check it out the week after Easter.

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The hotel is pretty small. It only has seven floors. I think they had to work with the original structure because it’s in an old historic building. For this reason, they have some unique floor plans. For instance, the floor plan of the room that Michelle got is completely different than mine. I’ve also seen pictures of loft-style rooms with a full living room on the main floor and the bedroom in an open loft above it.

I really liked the layout of my room so I took some pictures.

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My room had a little entry hallway.

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The room I got was quite spacious. Opposite the bed, it had a long desk with a built-in refrigerator cabinet and some dresser drawers. The desk also doubled as the TV stand. At the end of the bed was a really nice bench seat.

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The upholstered bench looked custom because it ran the full length of the bed. I found it both beautiful and functional. I would sit on it to put my shoes on in the morning. It was also a great spot to put the clothes I had worn for the day, rather than just having them strewn all over the room.

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The door to the bathroom was a sliding door. It kind of reminded me of a pocket door but prettier. The door is a modern, polished version of the sliding barn doors that you see in high-end custom homes these days.

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My room also had a reading chair and matching ottoman. I thought they were a nice touch. I generally do my reading in bed so I mostly used it to hold my backpack and purse at the end of the day. I found it both pretty and useful, though.

I thought it was a great idea to turn that extra space into a reading corner.

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I had to take a picture of the bathroom as well. There is an upholstered stool in there (tucked under the counter) that makes the bathroom feel posh and elegant. I didn’t find it as useful because I’m too short to actually sit on one of these things and do my makeup but I thought it was pretty.

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Here’s a picture of the enormous shower. The shower was so roomy, you could probably do Zumba in there. (I do not recommend doing this for obvious safety reasons. Just saying it for effect.)

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The room I got was perfect in every way except for the view. For one, you can’t really expect a great view when you’re in the fourth floor of a seven story building among a bunch of skyscrapers. You’re just not that high enough. Secondly, it’s not really in as a pretty a location as the other two Marriott properties. Grand is just not that grand (on this part of town, anyhow).

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The other downside is the tiny fitness room in the basement. It’s literally the size of a closet and only has room for one treadmill, one elliptical, and one bike. The maximum occupancy is three people. No joke. It says that on the wall.

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I suppose that it’s such a small boutique hotel that they don’t really expect that many people to use the fitness room at the same time. Also, they have a partnership with Onelife Fitness. Guests who really want to workout can get a day pass to Onelife at the concierge desk. However, it’s not inside the hotel so you actually have to walk to the gym. It’s not that far, I know, but it’s not ideal for me and my 5 AM workouts. I really like being able to just roll out of bed and go for a treadmill run and then walk back to my room without having to set foot outside.

I’m pretty sure the sole treadmill would have been available for me that early in the morning but I didn’t chance it the week I was there. I enjoyed the comfortable bed a little too much and slept in every single day. Yes, I was a slug that week.

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My disappointment about the fitness room situation was short-lived, though. I came back to the hotel after work one day and found free sangria and cookies in the lobby. I had one of the amazing homemade cookies and a glass of the sangria.

It was heavenly. The free drinks and cookies more than made up for the small workout room.

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I didn’t take advantage of this while I was there because the rates are quite high but I found out that the hotel also offers in-room massages. It’s good to know the option is available. While I wouldn’t normally pay that much for a massage (the spa I go to only charges $95 for 50 minutes for $145 for 80 minutes), I might change my mind after a particularly stressful week. And, it’s nice that I wouldn’t have to walk or drive anywhere. They’d actually come to me.

Speaking of walking or driving, the hotel offers a five-mile shuttle service. If you need to go anywhere within five miles of the hotel, you just let the concierge know and they can have their shuttle take you. This service is actually really nice specially when the weather isn’t that great or you just don’t feel like walking.

The customer service at the Ambassador is really top notch. They go above and beyond any of the other Marriott properties I’ve ever stayed at… This is going to be TMI but they even put tampons in my room for me. Normally I am more prepared when I travel but shark week came almost a week ahead of schedule this time. My monthly visitor arrived while I was at work on Monday. Lucky for me, I had a spare in my purse but I didn’t have any others for the rest of the week. I fully intended to walk to the nearby CVS after work but then I decided to call the hotel to see if they had any feminine hygiene products on hand.

Sure enough, I had several tampons when I returned to my room that evening. I couldn’t believe it. Most husbands won’t even do that for their wives. They gave me enough for the duration of my stay, which is about the length of my periods these days. I was super impressed.

I was really bummed when my Kansas City work assignment abruptly ended because I had finally found a hotel that made me happy. I was so looking forward to staying there again the coming weeks. Oh, well.

This is my new favorite place to stay in Kansas City though, so Brian and I will for sure be staying at Ambassador for our next Kansas City weekend getaway.

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Wheat State Wine Company

Posted on April 29, 2017 by under Things to Do.    

Rain was in the forecast but we didn’t let that stop us. I’m glad we pushed through with our plans to see Piper Leigh and the Smokin’ Section because it turned out to be a beautiful day for a country drive.

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We saw Piper Leigh and her band perform for the first time last year when they opened for Jared & the Mill at the Orpheum.

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We’d never been to Wheat State Wine Company before because of the hour-long drive to Winfield but, since Piper and her band were performing, we thought we would make an exception.

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We were worried about the rain so I ended up wearing my rain boots but it turned out to be a beautiful day and the weather was perfect.

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We arrived during soundcheck and got a really good spot.

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The place is really lovely. Brian and I couldn’t believe we’d never been until that night. We will definitely be back.

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Here’s a picture of my awesome rain boots. Also, Brian really liked the print on my Lularoe leggings. I do too. They’re super fun!

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I loved all the lights, which helped to create the perfect ambiance.

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I ended up getting a bottle of the Flat Pick. Brian had a glass of beer but opted out of getting an entire bottle of wine because he was driving. On the plus side, if you don’t drink the entire bottle, they can repackage it for you so you’re not driving home with an open container.

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They also let you taste the wines if you can’t decide what you want.

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The winery is open for free wine tastings and tours Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from noon to six o’clock in the evening. They also allow visitors to enjoy their wine and picnic on the grounds. Brian and I will definitely be back.

The 2017 summer concert series also has a fabulous lineup of musicians so I know for sure we will be back for another one of these events. I can’t wait.

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Livingston’s Diner – New Location

Posted on April 26, 2017 by under Food and Drink.    

Pictures from our first visit to Livingston’s Diner since they moved to their new location. They’re now in the old Cinnamon’s Deli location at Cambridge Market (by our old townhouse).

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One can’t go to Livingston’s and not get cinnamon rolls.

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Here are some food pics…

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The best part about that Saturday (the Saturday before Easter), besides our delicious breakfast, is running into the Easter Bunny at the Andover YMCA.

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Charisse KC

Posted on April 26, 2017 by under Food and Drink.    

I had the opportunity to try a new restaurant in Kansas City a few weeks ago, Charisse. It’s a French restaurant that’s just a short walk from the One KC office. A couple of coworkers and I walked over there a few days ago. They’d dined there before but it was my first time.

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I had a crepe for lunch yesterday from Lolo’s Crepes so that made me think of Charisse. I had the chicken crepe when I was there.

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Both of my colleagues had the flank steak. One opted for the truffle fries while the other opted for the sautéed vegetables.

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The food was pretty good but the service was slow. Also, the restaurant staff were very French-like in the haughty way that they walked about the restaurant and interacted with guests. I guess they were trying to keep things consistent. LOL.

Seriously, though, it’s a pretty good place to eat if you don’t mind the snobby service. I liked that it was far enough away from the office that you felt like you were getting away but close enough to be within walking distance. I also liked that it was a nice dining experience as opposed to fast food. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area.

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National Cheese Fondue Day

Posted on April 24, 2017 by under Food and Drink.    

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Did you all know that April 11 is National Cheese Fondue Day? I had no idea either until we heard about it the night that Lesa (one of my coworkers in Kansas City) and I went to dine at the Melting Pot that evening.

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Our table, which incidentally is also her usual table (she eats there once a week), was next to their massive wine room.

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We started with the Quattro Formaggio, which happens to be Lesa and also our server’s favorite flavor of cheese fondue.

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We opted for the basic seasoned court bouillon which is the complimentary cooking method. You have to pay extra for the other (fancier) types but this one was perfectly fine. I found it aromatic and flavorful.

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These are the different meats I chose. I basically did a third regular sirloin, a third teriyaki-marinated sirloin, and a third Memphis-style dry rub pork.

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Lesa did half and half of the two types of sirloin, regular and teriyaki.

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They also give you a variety of vegetables and sauces to go with the meats.

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We were both really stuffed at the end so we skipped the chocolate fondue finale, which I’m told is the best part. I guess this will be a good reason to bring Brian there next time we are in the area.

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