Spotlight On Jessica Higginbotham, General Manager of The Elms Hotel and Spa 

The Elms Hotel & Spa, a historic Missouri landmark, has undergone a renovation and now offers guests an exquisite blend of modern amenities and original design elements. Among its unique offerings, the hotel is renowned for its iconic paranormal tours, which have gained popularity since it was featured on SyFy’s Ghost Hunters in 2013. The hotel is also preparing to accommodate guests who will be visiting for the Excelsior Springs vineyard tours and wine tastings in April. Jessica Higginbotham talks about the renovation and exciting events they have planned throughout the year, such as a Back to School Charity Event in August and a Yoga in the Vines event in October, that guests can look forward to experiencing.

Can you describe the renovation process for the Elms Hotel & Spa and the improvements that were made to the property?

The hotel’s recent renovation was designed by Meri Meis and consists of the whole 153-room property. The inspiration for the renovation pays homage to the original architecture of the hotel, including the mosaic tile flooring in the lobby, with the end product displaying a transitional-modern style that complements the historic design elements.

We added two new spaces to the lobby including Café Soterian, which serves Elms Blend coffee drinks, pastries and lunch offerings daily, and at night the cafe becomes a wine bar serving craft beers, flatbread pizzas and more. Also, The Market, which offers sweet treats and souvenirs for purchase.

We also added new VIP treatment rooms and a new sanctuary space at the Spa at the Elms for clients to relax before their treatments. Guests can enjoy the new mud bar where they can experience the healing properties of the mineral-enriched mud and the new zen garden outdoors where visitors can enjoy nature. 

We did several other upgrades, including to our ballrooms, which are ideal for weddings, meetings and events, a refinished indoor lap pool, upgrades to the fitness center, updated furniture and décor in The Tavern and re-conception of our on site restaurant Three Owls.

Jessica Higginbotham, General Manager of The Elms Hotel and Spa

The Elms Hotel & Spa is offering a Mindfulness in Nature experience that includes an 80-minute sensory immersion treatment and a crystal bowl energy cleansing. Can you tell us more about this unique offering?

The Elms Spa’s wellness offerings are specifically curated to provide paths of change, growth, and discovery for all visitors.

The property’s 80-minute “Mindfulness in Nature” experience encourages guests to lean into their senses while surrounded by the lush forest – grounding themselves through deep breathing and the healing benefits of being in nature to relieve stress in a deeply profound, lasting way.

Coupled with the vibration and purity of crystal bowls, this treatment allows for a unique and soulful experience through sensory immersion. During the treatment, the crystal bowls are placed directly on the body, allowing sound frequencies to aid in addressing any imbalances by creating an environment conducive for a renewed sense of peace, relaxation, insight, inspiration and healing.

The hotel is known for its iconic paranormal tours. How did these tours come about, and what makes them a popular attraction for guests?

Given the history of The Elms Hotel & Spa since its opening in 1888, it’s not surprising that the hotel has built a reputation as one of Missouri’s most haunted places. The property hosts spooky paranormal tours, allowing guests to learn from a ghost-tour guide and Elms historian about frequent sightings on property and the spirits’ backstories in a fun way. The Elms’ spirits are widely recognized, especially after the hotel was featured in an episode of SyFy’s Ghost Hunters back in 2013.

The paranormal history at The Elms began when the hotel was struck by two tragic fires in 1898 and 1910. Even though no fatalities were reported, rumors say a spirit currently living in the Elms was involved in one of the fires.

Another fun fact guests love to learn during the tour: Since The Elms served as a storage space for liquor and as a party spot during prohibition, the hotel’s lap pool is said to host the spirit of a gambler killed by the mob.

The town of Excelsior Springs is hosting vineyard tours and wine tastings every weekend in April. How is the Elms Hotel & Spa preparing to accommodate guests who will be visiting for these events?

We are always excited for events happening in the local community and are more than happy to be a place for visiting guests to stay or for locals who want to come by for a delicious meal or unwind with a lavish spa treatment. The Elms boasts 153 rooms to accommodate any and all travelers, and the hotel team is very invested in being a part of the local community.

Can you talk about any future plans or upcoming events for the Elms Hotel & Spa that guests can look forward to experiencing?

We love hosting events at the hotel for both guests and locals to enjoy. We have several events confirmed for the remainder of the year including:

April: Easter Brunch at the Elms

May: Balance & Renew Wellness Retreat 

Self-discovery invites us to nourish ourselves, return to a healthy, innate rhythm and live-in harmony with the world around us. Don’t miss the soothing mind & body classes, creative activities, and wellness programming. Retreat will include grotto access, 1 hour yoga class, sound healing and a painting class in the meditation garden.

July: Spa Under the Stars

Attendees will enjoy spa treatments and grotto access, the evening will start under the stars with forest bathing, sound healing, guided yoga. Participants will release sky lanterns at the end of the event to symbolize a release of what no longer serves them.

August: Back to School Charity Event

The evening will feature express hydrafacials, hand treatments, and refreshments for all attendees. Attendees are required to bring a backpack with school supplies to be donated to our local district.

October: Yoga in the Vines

Start the day with a gentle flow yoga practice at Fence Stile Winery. We will then have a tour of the winery and settle in the wine cave for a tasting along with mini spa treatments. The day will end with a chakra clearing session and a wine toast; all attendees will leave with a gift bag of wine inspired goodies.

December: Glow Up a Holiday Event & Toy Drive

Attendees will enjoy spa treatments, grotto access, and refreshments. Packages and specials will be available for retail and treatments purchased during the event. Participants are required to bring an unwrapped toy; all toys will be donated to our local children’s shelter.