Travel Tuesday: Hotel Vandivort Review
After two back to back hotel reviews for my Travel Tuesday series (which I happened to start a month before the country locked down), I was wondering what I would do for my latest installment. That’s when it hit me that, instead of looking to adventures from the past, I could feature a property found right here in Springfield, Missouri. So, a couple of weeks ago, I decided to surprise my wife with a mini-staycation. The destination? Hotel Vandivort — a unique boutique hotel we’ve strolled through a few times but never had the pleasure of staying in.
Let’s take a look at what Hotel Vandivort has to offer and what I thought of my stay.
About Hotel Vandivort
Hotel Vandivort has the distinction of being Springfield, Missouri’s only Four Diamond hotel. According to their site, the property is “inspired by Springfield’s rich history and culture” and “capitalizes on its vibrant downtown setting to offer a truly authentic experience.” The hotel opened in 2015 in a building that once housed a Masonic Lodge and has since added a second building (V2), giving it a total of 96 guest rooms and suites.
Booking your stay (and how I booked mine)
While Hotel Vandivort is bookable in the usual places, they also have their own site where you can arrange your stay. One possible advantage of this path is that they offer a variety of rate discounts, including those for AAA members. There are also other goodies and extras to explore on their site, so I’d recommend starting there if you don’t have any real reason to go third party.
In my case, I actually elected to book my stay via Expedia. With Hotel Vandivort being a VIP Access property on the platform, I was able to redeem my Expedia points for double value. However, the site emailed me literally this morning, noting that VIP hotels will no longer have this feature and will instead earn triple points. C’est la vie. Anyway, in addition to redeeming my points for a great rate, I was also presented with coupons for two free cocktails when I checked in thanks to my Expedia Gold status. With each of the signature cocktails my wife tried running at about $12 a piece, this benefit was actually quite valuable.
My Experience at Hotel Vandivort
What I booked
As I mentioned above, I ended up booking our stay on Expedia, where I was able to select from a number of room types. What I landed on was the Balcony King, which went for a rate of $179 (before taxes and fees) on the Tuesday night we choose to stay. While I also considered a V2 Suite instead, the beautiful weather that was forecast for our evening stay and the following morning led me to value the balcony that much more — hence our final decision.
Hotel Vandivort is located in Downtown Springfield, Missouri, just a few blocks from the historic town square. The area is home to plenty of independent restaurants, coffee shops, record stores, and many entertainment venues including the Gillioz Theatre (where I’ve seen such acts as “Weird Al” Yankovic, Third Eye Blind, and Ben Folds in addition to tapings of Springfield’s very own late-night talk show The Mystery Hour). Given this prime location, you won’t need a car if you want to stay in the heart of the city. However, if you want to venture to the world’s largest Bass Pro Shop or head down to Branson, then a vehicle would definitely be advisable.
Currently, the Hotel Vandivort has suspended its valet service due to the pandemic. Instead, they advise guests to park in the public garage just behind the hotel, off of McDaniel St. This particular garage charges $5 per entry (payable in cash or via credit card) but, if you’d prefer a cheaper option and don’t mind walking a bit, there is a free garage a couple of blocks down at McDaniel and Campbell. There may also be street parking available, but pay attention to the restrictions and times for such spots.
Currently, the Hotel Vandivort is spread across the two buildings: one billed as the Historic Hotel Vandivort and the other known as V2. If you look on the Vandivort site, it will tell you whether your room type is featured in one building, the other, or both. The two buildings are across a small alley from each other, so you really don’t have much of a walk in you’re in V2.
Our room was located in the Historic Hotel Vandivort building and on the third floor. Now is a good time to mention that, in this building, there are only three floors of guest rooms (levels two through four). This also leads to one of my favorite details about this hotel which is that the elevators have glass backs, exposing a brick wall that shows what floor you’re on. Meanwhile, there’s also a level below the main one, which happens to be home of the restrooms famous for their selfie-friendly lighting. In all, the Vandivort aesthetic marries industrial design with modern touches, making it a perfect fit for Downtown Springfield.
The room design
When I entered our room at the end of the hallway and turned the corner after opening the door, I was immediately taken with how beautiful our Balcony King room was. Featuring super high ceilings, gorgeous lighting fixtures, and pitch-perfect furniture selections, I loved this room from the moment I turned the lights on. The combination of industrial and modern I observed in the lobby and elevator definitely carried over to the quarters, creating one of the most unique units I’ve ever stayed in. Of course, all of this was made even better by the functional conveniences also found in the room.
Room conveniences and features
One of the first features I encountered was the floor to ceiling shades, which are operated from the automation panels found around the room. These shades actually have two settings: sheer and blackout. I will note that the blackout shade wasn’t operating for one of the windows in our room, but the sheer shade coupled with the blackouts on the other windows made this less of an issue.
Another tech feature that I didn’t immediately notice is that the television is hooked up to surround sound, with the main speakers located above the bed. What’s more, there’s also a speaker in the bathroom, complete with a switch for toggling the volume between the two rooms. There was also an auxiliary cable near the nightstand where you could plug in your own device for listening, but we didn’t try this option out.
As for some of the less novel but ever-so-important amenities, our Balcony King room was equipped with a Keurig machine and stocked with a selection of both coffees and teas. The bar on which this machine was found also housed a mini-fridge and microwave while featuring a full-sized sink as well. There was also plenty of space to work, with a desk and couch/chaise found in the room in addition to the bed.
And then of course there was the balcony. At night, the view overlooking the alley may not be much to write home about but improves greatly in the daylight hours as you can see the historic buildings of Springfield emerge in the background. You can also spot the igloos found at Vantage (the bar and restaurant atop V2), which may be a strange site if you’re unfamiliar with their purpose. In all, this balcony proved to be a great spot to enjoy our morning coffee — which we actually imported from The Coffee Ethic on the Square — and do some light work leading up to our noon check-out time.
The Historic Hotel Vandivort lobby is home to The Order — a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as serving up signature cocktails. Looking at the menu ahead of time, I had originally planned to try their lamb shank but, at the last minute, I opted to try their Vandivort Kobe Burger instead (if you’re keeping score, that’s now three hotel burgers in three hotel nights for me). Topped with smoked gouda and smoked gouda alone since I requested the rest of the items be removed, the burger was tender and tasty. It also came with an insane amount of fries, allowing me to show some restraint and save half the burger for the following day’s lunch. Meanwhile, my wife selected the pork bao buns. In both cases, our logic was to save room for dessert, which ended up being a great decision.
One thing I really love about The Order’s menu — and particularly with the desserts — is that they feature ingredients from other Springfield small businesses. For example, my wife’s bread pudding highlighted our local shop turned national chain Hurt’s Donuts, while my chocolate pot de creme utilized both Coffee Ethic espresso and Askinosie chocolate. As it turns out, both were delicious (or at least I’ll take my wife’s word for it as I didn’t sample hers).
Turning to those signature cocktails, my wife sipped two selections: the Smoked Old Fashioned and the Dear Jessica. While she enjoyed every drop the former, it was the latter that really stood out. Consisting of Tito’s vodka, irish cream, espresso, and pumpkin spice syrup, it’s definitely not your average cocktail but accompanied our dessert wonderfully. Given the fall flavors featured in this one, I’d have to imagine it is a seasonal drink, just as much of the menu is also tailored for the time of year. Still, if you were headed to Hotel Vandivort and saw these options on the menu, I’d recommend any and all of them.
Final Thoughts on Hotel Vandivort
In my view, Hotel Vandivort definitely lived up to its reputation. From the absolutely gorgeous room to our delicious dinner at The Order, we loved our mini-staycation so much that we’re already planning future visits and stays (I secretly want to try every room type the property has to offer). It also makes me quite proud that such a unique and awesome hotel resides in our chosen home city of Springfield, Missouri. With all of that in mind, should you find yourself in Southwest Missouri, I hope you’ll find your way to Hotel Vandivort and explore all that Downtown Springfield has to offer.
Also published on Medium.