When most of us think of escape, we think of beaches, mountains, or plane tickets—things that are, in the time of COVID-19, items of Midwestern fantasy. While there is reason to hope that soon we’ll realize a more normal-ish life, true normalcy, whatever that means, is still months or even years away. In the meantime, stir craziness remains real and we are desperate (ok, I am desperate), for some form of escape. Gratefully, it turns out that there actually are a handful of places in our own backyard that are worthy of the label
If you look hard enough, there’s a day-trip escape out there for everyone, from a stay in a chic Crossroads location with the city’s best restaurants steps away, a modern Scandinavian loft on the water, a custom vintage Airstream with a private hot tub just outside its doors, and a plush downtown working space that makes even an office day feel like a retreat. Here are our top picks for local getaways that don’t feel like you’re just settling for something that’s not your own house.
The Chic Getaway
Nestled in the Crossroads, No Vacancy is an eight-room boutique hotel and studio space on the upper floors of a century-old brick building at 18th and Baltimore. Inviting, airy studios, each of them unique, feature details like clawfoot tubs, plush linens, live plants, and vintage accents.
There’s also a common space including a rooftop patio with a dreamy, pastel mountain mural practically begging for you to take a picture of it. You can book a single studio or the entire space. One big bonus: you can also request a two-hour massage in your studio. With keyless entry and limited staff interaction, you have the comforts of a hotel with the privacy of a short-term rental. Studios start at $90 per night. novacancykc.com.
The Airstream Getaway
There’s a tiny oasis, complete with palm trees, hidden away in the Westside. A few steps off of a residential street, down a corridor, and behind a tall locked gate sits a lovingly restored, sleek Airstream camper with a custom deck built around it. Tall wood fences grant lots of privacy, and the deck features comfortable, high-end outdoor furniture, patio umbrellas, string lights, and even a steamy hot tub.
The interior of the Airstream is more spacious than you’d imagine, with a full leather couch, custom tile shower, and the softest bed I’ve ever slept in. Rentals of the Airstream start at about $200 per night, before adding cleaning and service fees. airbnb.com.
The Work Getaway
Sometimes it’s not possible to fully disengage from life – or sometimes a vacation can just be a quiet place to get some work done (hi, fellow parents). Hotel Kansas City, one of the city’s newest (and most beautiful) hotels, has made its home in the former Kansas City Club, a gentleman’s club started in the 1920s that saw its heyday in the age of Tom Pendergast.
For people seeking that worky escape, the hotel currently offers a “Work from Kansas City Hotel” package that includes a daytime stay in a plush sixth-floor suite specifically set up for work. It features expanded table seating, morning pastries from renowned pastry chef Helen-Jo Leach, complimentary bottled water, gym access, and even an afternoon snack of local cheeses and house-made crackers. Extend your stay overnight for another $30, or finish out the day with happy hour in the Lobby Bar or at the signature restaurant, the Town Company. The “Work from Home” package is $99, with the additional overnight stay available for $30 more. Hotelkc.com (call 816-685-1228 to book).
The Outdoors Getaway
It’s a quick two hours south to Humboldt, Kansas, home of Base Camp. Base Camp is a lot of things, but principally it is a place to stay and relax. At Base Camp, you can reserve up to three impressive, Scandinavian-inspired cabins that overlook the property’s spacious pond. You can also opt for “glamping”-style A-frame tents (was there ever a word both more spot-on and cringeworthy than glamping), or primitive campsites, both of which are sheltered among tall pines and walnut trees.
Spend your days riding a bike on the newly-opened Southwind Bike Trail (A Rails to Trails Conservancy Project), or venture into Humboldt to visit Humboldt’s enviable coffee shop, restaurants, and shops. Humboldt is also full of surprises to come, including a music venue, two cocktail bars, a brewery, and a five-room boutique hotel. Cabins start at $100 a night; camping will be available in early summer. facebook.com/BaseCampHumboldt, basecamphumboldt.com.