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Resorts redo

Courtesy Elms Hotel and Spa

A historic resort hotel is about to make a splash in its centennial year.

In business in Excelsior Springs, Mo., since 1888, the 152-room Elms Hotel and Spa has been in its current building since 1912. (Two previous buildings burned).

New owner Widewaters Excelsior Springs Co. had first tried to buy the Elms in 2008 but could not get financing.

After Widewaters got financing last year, it pulled out plans it had drawn up in 2008 and went to work, closing the hotel last fall so it could redo heating and cooling systems, replace the roof, gut the spa and redecorate and renovate the rest of the property.

By April, all of the improvements except the spa will be ready for eager guests to see, according to Keith Winge, director of marketing.

The 20,000-square-foot spa will be the most dramatic change. The space was reconfigured, resulting in a modern facility, all on one floor, so guests will no longer have to traipse up and down stairs in spa robes.

To put the spa on one floor, part of the hotel’s 11,000 square feet of meeting space was shifted. No square footage was lost; if anything, meeting space is now more useable, Winge said.

“Part of what we lost was an amphitheater, which had limited use, and what we gained is a large space that can be divided into up to three meeting spaces,” Winge said.

“Our goal with the hotel as a whole is to emerge as a Four-Diamond property with superior guest rooms, meeting space and a world-class spa,” he said.


Contemporary comeback for La Costa 
In Carlsbad, Calif., a redesign of the Spanish mission-style La Costa Resort and Spa and the opening of a 215-room Hilton resort will bring more meetings to the coastal community north of San Diego.

In November, the revitalized La Costa was unveiled. KSL Resorts spent $50 million on a makeover that included 474 of its 611 guest rooms, the 43,000-square-foot spa and its 100,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, including the Coastal Events Center.

A contemporary decor uses blues, greens and terra cotta to reflect La Costa’s coastal location.
Meeting space was redecorated and technology was upgraded. Four suites were added near the meeting center so meeting planners can live and work within steps of the meeting space.

Other additions are two outdoor venues with views of rolling hills, and an adult-only pool with a cafe, a bar and fire pits.

“La Costa has been a fixture in Southern California since 1965,” said Paul McCormick, vice president and general manager. “The extensive renovations over the past year have elevated the sophistication of the property.”

The Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort and Spa is on schedule to open in July. The 215-room resort will have 25,000 square feet of meeting space, about half of that outdoors. The highlight is a lawn with views of the ocean for events of up to 450 people.