The Royal Hotel in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, was constructed over a period of years, beginning in 1898. The oldest portion of the building was first known as Wholf's Tavern. It was purchased by James Snapp, who renamed the building Grapple Tavern and then Snapp Tavern. He operated this a number of years. In 1905, he sold the tavern to Elena G. Hill and commenced with plans to build a larger hotel. (See Oaks/Snapp hotel)

Mrs. Hill renamed the five-story building Hotel Royal and more than doubled its size from 1905 to 1910 with a six-story addition to the west. At the same time, the north and east facades of the original structure were refaced with maroon brick, matching the new addition, the wrap-around porch was altered and the windows replaced. On the southwest of the original structure, Mrs. Hill also constructed a small kitchen addition. The west additions had room for commercial ventures on the first floor. Doctor's offices, the Royal Hotel Beauty and Barber, the Royal Hotel Billiard Parlor, the Little Royal Cafe', a jeweler and cigar shop were among the various enterprises which conducted business out of these storefronts.

The Royal Hotel was one of four first-class hotels to serve visitors traveling to Excelsior Springs to take advantage of the City's "healing" mineral waters. The Royal Hotel had its own source of mineral water, the "Royal" Salt Sulpher water served hot or cold in the lobby free of charge to guests. The Royal Hotel Bath House featured separate departments for both men and women that offered first-class mineral water treatments and massage therapy. A physician had offices in the Royal Hotel so that guests could receive prescriptions for the waters and bath treatments.

Many enjoyed dancing in the Grand Ballroom to the Royal Hotel Orchestra and chatting in the spacious lobby or on the huge 200-foot hotel verandas. Others relaxed in the sixth floor Garden Room, a square tower with red tile mansard roof, located on the roof a short distance back from the street. And, most can remember a good meal with friends at the Royal Grille. Until its closing in the late 1990s, the Royal was home to apartment renters and hotel guests, containing 45 hotel rooms and 40 apartments. A new owner purchased the building and in 1998, updated it with a new steam boiler, new hot water tank, and new copper plumbing. New wiring was done in 1970. Besides the hotel rooms and apartments, the building includes four store fronts, two bars, one restaurant, one dance hall, and one meeting room. There are two elevator shafts, one with working elevator.

As one of the finest examples of the property type "Hotels - 1st Class", the Royal Hotel is significant to the history of Excelsior Springs. The tremendous pressure for accomodations for the thousands of guests who flocked to the town resulted in the construction of these large hotels. The Royal is closed today. It is a key visual element of the downtown historic district. The Royal retains a high degree of architectural integrity from its period of remodeling and additions. For its association with the mineral water history of Excelsior Springs and as an example representative of its property type, it has been determined to be individually eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.


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