When you head to Springfield, Missouri, you’re heading to the birthplace of Route 66. This iconic highway is significant as the nation’s first paved transcontinental highway and important to Springfield. Stretching from Chicago to Los Angeles, Route 66 evokes memories of road trip nostalgia. Sections of the original highway still remain in Springfield’s downtown. Kearney and Glenstone Streets and Central Park Square are places where you can’t miss the signage. Another classic nostalgia fix is the Hotel Vandivort. This hotel’s building pre-dates the 1926 founding of Route 66 and is also connected to Springfield’s unique past. This is where nostalgia meets contemporary classy.
Hotel Vandivort – Historic and Contemporary
Opened in 1906 as a Masonic Temple, this National Historic Landmark looks similar to its original red brick four story neo-classical style structure. All along E. Walnut Street where Hotel Vandivort thrives as a Springfield gem, one can imagine folks shopping and going out on the town more than a century ago. The Landers Theater, a Baroque Renaissance beauty built in 1909 is just steps away.
Today the theater houses Springfield Little Theater. This community theater’s robust line up ranges from classic favorites like Guys and Dolls to contemporary hits like In the Heights. Step inside Hotel Vandivort, however, and you step into a contemporary vibrant scene. Here classy, upscale decor is mixed with a love of history and modern art.
Local Artists’ Paintings are Prominent Features
Transformed from its Masonic Temple origins and stint as a theater and office space combination, the Hotel Vandivort underwent a total transformation. The results are stunning. Exposed brick and a mix of metal, wood and stone plus built in seating and furniture groupings create inviting spaces for hotel guests to hang out.
Local artists’ paintings are prominent features. In brilliant color pairings, throw pillows on couches and the area rugs pick up artwork highlights. This is not a look but don’t touch environment. Instead, guests are invited to settle in and enjoy the ambiance. Here’s where locals meet up for a special night out and travelers don’t hurry through. Lingering is encouraged. And while you linger, look carefully at places where nostalgia is mixed in with the modern.
The entrance to the gift shop near the check in desk is one example. Modern wood shelving encased in clear glass allows for the shop’s upscale bounty to entice guests in. The entrance shelves hold antique treasures like an amber bottle recovered from the excavation during the hotel’s construction.
V2 – Hotel Vandivort’s Classy Expansion
In an expansion project, a new section of the Hotel Vandivort is equally splendid. V2 is a classy and well designed as the historic building. The large glass windows provide an industrial, contemporary feel from the outside and an artsy, airy feel on the inside. Here is where the hotel’s fitness center and rooftop bar are located. Like the historic section, V2’s design weaves in large doses of a love of nostalgia and contemporary art and light fixtures. I took time to browse the shelves in the lobby sitting area appointed to feel more like a contemporary living room. Large flat screen TV included.
The clever mix of postcards from years gone by and Masonic Temple and hotel memorabilia drew me in. The collection of antique desk bells, each displayed under glass domes are unique nods to the past. Postcards are displayed as a collection that included messages, black and white photos and postage stamps. Super clever.
Guest Room Suite at the Hotel Vandivort – V2
My king bed suite was in this new section, which was easy to get to, right out the back door and across the alley of the historic building. The suite’s living room had all I would need to throw a bit of a party for a couple or two.
This includes a record player with records designed to bring back memories of an earlier time. I listened to a bit of Englebert Humperdinck to remind me of my childhood and my mom. She loved him. Chubby Checkers and Andy Williams were included in the album mix. This living room also had a small wet bar where the one cup coffee maker and a selection of roast styles and tea are provided for guest use.
Amenities Worth Taking Home at Hotel Vandivort
The bathroom is impressive. Instead of one sink and one mirror, there’s two or each with an expansive counter for plenty of room for two people to spread out toiletries. A wood accent wall compliments the stone tile of the large walk-in shower. Instead of being part of the shower area, the toilet has its separate space with a door. Shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and lotion are specially made as a Vandivort brand. You can buy some in the gift shop to take home. You can also purchase one of the luxurious robes provided for guest use. I was tempted. The robes are thick and well fitting.
I particularly enjoyed the bedroom. The views of downtown Springfield are terrific. For privacy simply lower the blackout curtains that can also be set to sheer. Like the rest of the hotel, the bedrooms are appointed with art, contemporary area rugs and complimentary patterns to the pillows and bed covering. The wall mounted flat screen TV in the bedroom can be turned to face the bed so watching TV is not a gymnastics exercise to get comfortable. The bedroom also has a small table and two chairs, perfect for having a drink and looking out the window. This is a room hard to leave.
Vantage – The Rooftop Lounge and Conservatory
Vantage, the rooftop lounge is a reason to leave one’s room. I headed there to check out the view and found great company with a fellow traveler in town for a business meeting. We swapped travelers’ tales. He’s been on river trips that few go on, one hair-raising venture in South America. But I lived in a Gambian village with no running water or electricity for two years so it’s hard to see who topped who. The rooftop lounge is a gorgeous setting of for swapping tales or quietly reading a book. I saw someone tucked in a chair doing just that.
Because it was raining, the outdoor seating was empty. Igloo seating is popular in the winter. I can imagine sunsets are stunning here. Because I was full after dinner, I only ordered a specialty cocktail. The bartender was helpful in suggesting a not too sweet selection. One drink was plenty, so I switched to club soda, free of charge. The menu has a robust selection of small plate options including a charcuterie board that looks gorgeous. My fellow conversationalists had one of those.
The Order- Hotel Vandivort’s Restaurant and Bar
For breakfast, The Order, the Vandivort Hotel’s main restaurant and bar in the original building hits the high notes. I ordered a classic breakfast sandwich of an egg, cheese and bacon on a roll plus a side order of fresh fruit. A friend who met me opted for the yoghurt which was a stunning beauty of fresh berries, granola and a flower. My sandwich was fabulous as well.
In the evening, The Order is a hopping buzzing place of people out for an evening of New American Cuisine and craft cocktails.
My room was complimentary and arranged by Springfield Missouri Convention and Visitors Bureau as part of an information gathering press trip. Still, as always, all opinions are my own. This Hotel Vandivort is such a treat. To check out room rates, head to the hotel’s website or go to Hotels.com or Expedia.com to see if you can snag a deal. Rooms range from $251 to $332.