by Jonathan Vatner | October 01, 2012
Kansas City 
A $20 million multiyear renovation was completed at the 983-room Kansas City Marriott Downtown in August. Over the course of the project, all the guest rooms were redone, as were the fitness center, pool, lobby, restaurant and concierge lounge.

The Hyatt Regency Crown Center has been reflagged as the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center. Starwood is investing a total of $18 million in the public spaces of both the 730-room Sheraton and the 724-room Westin Kansas City at Crown Center over the next three years.

The $11 million, 43-room Ambassador Hotel Kansas City opened this summer in the restored Gate City National Bank building. The upscale hotel features two-story penthouse suites, a boardroom and a 1,300-square-foot ballroom for groups of up to 100.

The Mediterranean-inspired Hotel Sorella Country Club Plaza is slated for a fall 2013 debut. The 143-room hotel will offer approximately 5,700 square feet of meeting space, a pool and a restaurant.

Meeting Hotels
The largest properties in town include the 983-room Kansas City Marriott Downtown, 733-room Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center, 724-room Westin Kansas City at Crown Center, 392-room Harrah's North Kansas City, 385-room Crowne Plaza Kansas City Downtown, 384-room Kansas City Airport Marriott, 369-room Holiday Inn Kansas City SE Waterpark, 347-room Hilton Kansas City Airport, 346-room InterContinental Kansas City at the Plaza, 266-room Embassy Suites Kansas City--Plaza and 217-room Hotel Phillips.

Other hotels in the immediate area include the 237-room Embassy Suites Hotel Airport, 168-room Clarion Hotel and 123-room Courtyard Kansas City at Briarcliff.

Convention Center
Kansas City Convention Center; exhibit space, 388,800 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 48; (800) 821-7060

Airport Transit
Kansas City International Airport; about 20 miles from midtown; transfer by taxi, about $50; by SuperShuttle, $18

State tax, 4.225%; county tax, 1.125%; city tax, 2.375% (increasing .5% to 2.825% in January 2013); convention and tourism tax, 7.5%; downtown district tax, .5%; total tax on hotel rooms, 15.725% (increasing .5% to 16.225% in January 2013)

Group Venues
The new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, boldly designed by avant-garde architect Moshe Safdie, is a 285,000-square-foot marvel encased in steel and glass. Inside are two concert halls that seat up to 1,800 and 1,600 attendees, respectively, as well as a 15,000-square-foot event space and numerous smaller rooms suitable for gatherings. Outside, a five-acre lawn also can be used for functions. (816) 994-7200

Kansas City Power & Light DistrictEven if you don't plan to spend an evening at the Kansas City Power & Light District, attendees probably will find it on their own. The revitalized nine-block, 500,000-square-foot area, adjacent to the city's convention center, is packed with a wide variety of restaurants, bars and shops. Event spaces include KC Live!, a 25,000-square-foot covered outdoor plaza, and The Gallery, a brand-new 9,000-square-foot indoor space with built-in audiovisual equipment, floor-to-ceiling windows and a balcony. The Gallery can accommodate private groups of up to 400 people seated or 600 for cocktails. Also notable: Within the district, drinking alcohol on the street is permitted. (816) 842-1045

Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association, (800) 767-7700