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Hit the Road for a Historic Hotel Visit

Hit the Road for a Historic Hotel Visit

  • "Hit the Road" originally appeared in the May 2024 "Weekender" issue of COMO Magazine.
The Elms Hotel and Spa

Refuel and refresh with these weekend getaways.

The list of things to do in Columbia is long and continuously growing, but sometimes, there is an urge to hit the highway in search of a weekend adventure. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, pampering, exploration, physical activity, or a walk into the paranormal, Columbia’s central location means all of that, and more, can be found within a few short hours.

Seeking Adventure

Hotel Frederick, Boonville, MO

About 30 miles east of Columbia, those looking for a touch of luxury blended with the historic touches of the early 1900’s will find that Hotel Frederick in Boonville checks all the boxes. Situated in Boonville’s downtown historic district on the corner of High Street and Main Street, Hotel Frederick’s rich history and Romanesque Revival architecture have earned it a place on the National Register of Historic Places.   

“A lot of people are surprised that it is a historic hotel, furnished with regional antiques from the time period that it was built, however, we have modern amenities like flat screen televisions in every room, really nice bathrooms in each room, and that extra luxurious touch,” says Holly Bozarth Simpson, who purchased Hotel Frederick in 2020 after managing it since 2013.  

With its proximity to the Katy Trail and complimentary indoor bike storage on the hotel’s main level, Hotel Frederick certainly draws plenty of cyclists. Warm Springs Ranch, the breeding and training facility for Budweiser Clydesdales; the River, Rails & Trails Museum; Isle of Capri Casino; and the historic downtown district are nearby to provide hours of entertainment and discovery.  

But Bozarth Simpson says that Hotel Frederick’s guests don’t even have to leave the property to fill their weekend with tasty food, great entertainment, and cozy activities. Communal areas around the hotel, and amenities like a game armoire and a library, provide many opportunities for guests to slow down and relax.  

“If you’re staying for the weekend, you don’t have to leave the property if you don’t want to,” she says. “We have nice restaurants and a fun lounge with craft cocktails. There are so many things to look at, from our art collection to historical maps that are on the walls.”  

The Brick Room, located on the hotel’s lower level, is open on Friday and Saturday nights. With its cool, club-like feel reminiscent of a speakeasy, The Brick Room features drinks and a wide range of musical entertainment, from blues to rock and country to acoustic. “The Fred,” the hotel’s restaurant and lounge, serves a continental breakfast that is included in every stay. Its seasonal menu and craft cocktails are all made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.  

“People come from all over for our restaurant and lounge, and The Brick Room is like none other around here,” Bozarth Simpson says. “It’s an elegant but casual atmosphere, and our employees give top notch service where you feel like you’re at a bed and breakfast. We have very friendly, attentive service.”

Seeking the Unknown

The Elms Hotel and Spa, Excelsior Springs, MO

The Elms Hotel and Spa, located two hours west of Columbia in Excelsior Springs, is the place to go for a weekend getaway filled with a lot of history, indulgent luxury, and a paranormal twist. While two fires destroyed earlier versions of the hotel, The Elms brand itself has withstood the test of time, and today, it is a century old. Following a $20 million renovation in 2011, the luxury hotel as it stands today represents 100 years of history. Now part of the Hyatt brand, it has a warm, cozy, and elegant feel.

Within The Elms’ lush green acres, guests can easily fill their days with a variety of things to discover and experience. The hotel boasts stunning scenic trails filled with seasonal flowers, an herb garden and a Zen garden. There’s a beautiful pool surrounded by cabanas offering both privacy and shade, while The Grotto, featuring a variety of Roman baths, tempts guests into the ultimate relaxation.  

The dining options are also plentiful. Three Owls is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, while The Tavern offers snacks, drinks, and pub fare, along with live music, on Friday and Saturday nights. An on-site coffee shop, Cafe Soterian, transforms into a wine bar at night.  

For all that it offers, The Elms is known as an iconic destination. It’s also known for its nightly paranormal tours, available to both hotel guests and the public.  

Front desk agent Parker Plunkett says that over the past seventeen years, tour guide Jay Fanning has guided an estimated 50,000 guests on a paranormal tour throughout the property. Leaving nightly at 9 p.m., the tour costs $25 per guest ages 9 and up. 

“With it being an old historic building, there is a lot of activity,” Plunkett says. “Ghosts or paranormal, it’s been undecided, as everybody sees or experiences different things.”  

Built in 1888, The Elms has hosted a cast of characters through its storied history, including gangsters Al Capone and Bugsy Moran, bank robber Pretty Boy Floyd and President Harry S. Truman. Today, Plunkett says the hotel has a list of haunted rooms, which guests often request when booking.  

Seeking Discovery

The Inn at Hermannof, Hermann, MO

Wine tasting, distillery tours, a farm tour, antique shopping, a visit to the spa. Those are just some of the options available for guests of The Inn at Hermannof. Located in Hermann, overlooking the Hermann historic district on the Missouri River, the inn provides an adult getaway guaranteed to refuel and reenergize its guests.  

“With our hospitality and amenities, people don’t have to go very far,” says Georgie Busch, the inn’s director of hospitality. “You can plan a weekend and not have to drive anywhere and have a weekend to absorb some of the history of the town in some of the best overnight accommodations here in Hermann.”  

The opportunities to customize a weekend getaway are plentiful, as The Inn at Hermannof offers several different options for lodging. Within the main building, there are eight spacious, luxurious suites appointed with reproductions of Early American furniture and period pieces from the Hermann area, along with modern amenities including whirlpool tubs, oversized showers, fireplaces in the bedrooms and bathrooms, flat screen televisions and high-speed internet. 

The Weinhaus Cottages include six hillside cottages, original wine houses that date back to the German settlers who first settled in Hermann in the 1830s. Inside, twenty-one suites with various configurations welcome guests for a romantic getaway with breathtaking views.  

The Cottages at Schroeder Hill include three cottages, providing guests with complete privacy. Kids under the age of 12 are only permitted to stay in these private cottages, and Busch says that most guests are enjoying a romantic couple’s getaway. Guests in any of the inn’s accommodations are treated to a complimentary hot breakfast in The Fireplace Room each morning.  

For those able to pull themselves away from the inn’s peaceful escape, Busch says the hospitality team is committed to helping guests plan the day they want. Often, that might include a visit to one of Hermann’s many festivals, like the Shakespeare Festival, the Hermann Wine Trail Weekend, or Wurstfest.  

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