Connect with us!


The Elms wish to remain a key part of Excelsior Spring history

September 9, 2018—The Elms Hotel & Spa recently underwent a change many guests did not notice when Two Roads Hospitality assumed ownership April 25th.

Kara Harrington, director of sales, said although the management team changed, the new owners want to stay true to what makes The Elms special.

“They’re not wanting to change anything as far as the character of the Elms or the historic value in that,” she said. “They definitely want to keep that first and foremost in The Elms.”

The new owners want to stay true to its rich history, she said.

General Manager Duncan Clements said he agreed with Harrington. He said Two Roads plan to preserve The Elms’ history while also taking it into its next stage of life.

Kara Harrington and Duncan Clements pose in The Elms’ historic lobby. Harrington, director of sales, and Clements, general manager, assumed their roles in April.

Harrington assumed her new position April 25th when Two Roads Hospitality assumed ownership of The Elms. The new management promoted Harrington from the catering sales manager. She began work with the hotel in June 2016.

Clements began working with Two Roads three years ago. He recently moved to Excelsior Springs from Miami, Florida to assume his new role.

The new owners, Harrington said, see hotel management being involved in the community as a key part in its success. The Elms needs the community, she said, the community needs The Elms.

The community does not need to stay in the hotel to take part in its amenities, she said. Residents can stop in for coffee, eat at the restaurant or enjoy a day at their luxury spa.

Clements said the hotel values Excelsior Springs. He said he loves how The Elms remains a key piece of the town.

They become excited when new businesses come to the community, he said. As businesses work together, Excelsior Springs will grow.

The new management team quickly began reaching out, Harrington said. They partnered with other business to promote and sponsor community events such as Waterfest and Winefest. Clements said they reached out to local wineries and became involved with The Chamber and the Downtown Excelsior Project.

“We’re very actively engaged with them to do business and Bring more vibrance to Excelsior Springs,” he said.


Part of staying true to The Elms proves to be remaining true to its historical significance, Harrington said. Hotel staff host nightly ghost tours, she said, but they include a more historical focus. The tours tell of presidents who once stayed in the hotel, including Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, who stayed the night of the 1948 election. The tour explores the stays of gangster Al Capone. Harrington said the tours introduce the possibilities of hidden tunnels and show guests where Capone stationed his lookout and held his gin bathtub parties.

Many staff members know the history and stay on hand to explain stories of historical significance, Clements said.

He said the Capone room does not seem like the most luxurious. However, he said, it holds a fantastic view. He said the room even contains a portion without windows. Perfect for a gangster with many enemies to sleep.


Many know of other stories of how The Elms’ history remains intertwined with their own, Harrington said. Others often regale her with stories when they discover her position.

Clements said he spoke with a 96-year-old woman soon after he arrived in Excelsior Springs. The woman came to The Elms with her family on Mother’s Day. He said she told him the hotel held the location of her debutante ball. Harrington said she often hears of how The Elms contained proms and other events.

Regardless of the new ownership, what makes The Elms Hotel & Spa will remain, Harrington said. They do not seek any drastic changes, she said. They want the community to be a part of Elms.

“We’re excited,” she said. “There are only good things to come.”

By Kimberely Blackburn •

Get ALL the local news. Click here and subscribe to our online e-Editions!

One Response to The Elms wish to remain a key part of Excelsior Spring history

  1. Deby Musick Reply

    September 11, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    I am the Concierge of the “Royal Floor” at the Elms. I have been there a little over 6 years and totally love working there. My grandfather, Ben Unger, was the local barber when I was growing up. I remember all the changes the town, as well as the Elms, have gone through. The town seems to be “comming back” and I could not be happier.

Leave a Reply to Deby Musick Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *