Welcome to the Jungle: Inside Kansas City’s First Immersive Art Hotel Room

Posted on May 9, 2024

The following piece was written by Liz Schroeder for IN Kansas City Magazine.

Artist Patty Carroll sits in The Panther Room, , a new livable art installation inside 21c Museum Hotel. Images courtesy of 21c Museum Hotels

Artist Patty Carroll brought out the big cats for The Panther Room, a new livable art installation inside 21c Museum Hotel Kansas City. The room is inspired by one of Carroll’s photographs, Panther, from the series titled, Anonymous Women, Domestic Demise. The photograph, depicting a prone woman in a black dress who can easily be mistaken for the room’s namesake, hangs prominently above the bed.

Simply put, The Panther Room is a vibe.


21c Patty Carroll Panther Room Kansas City

The décor is dark and sultry, with a forest green jungle motif and imagery subtly mirroring Carroll’s work, exploring the paradoxical nature of women’s existence—identity and domesticity, empowerment and entrapment. Panthers are everywhere: a life-size statue stretches up the wall in one corner while others peek out from underneath the room’s coffee table and prop up table lamps.

Staying in The Panther Room feels a bit like embarking on a safari in the 1960s. Gold and metal accents mix beautifully with rattan furniture, and I soon felt as though all I was missing was a pith helmet. The nature-inspired touches continue into the bathroom, with more panther imagery and luxury bath products smelling of peppermint, rum, and cilantro.


21c Patty Carroll Panther Room Kansas City

Native Kansas Citians will recognize the 21c Museum Hotel Kansas City as the reimagined location of the historical Savoy Hotel and Grill. The Panther Room has some of the same creaks and idiosyncrasies inside every well-worn building, but its decadent floor-to-ceiling blackout curtains do a remarkable job of keeping things cozy and quiet, separate from the bustle of the downtown right outside.

Though it’s tempting to stay inside the seclusion of The Panther Room, much can also be seen right outside your door. The themes Carroll explores in this installation fit perfectly with the hotel museum’s current exhibition, The Future is Female, which features local artist Lily Mueller as well as Julie Blackmon, a photographer whose work depicting scenes of domesticity has been featured at the Nelson-Atkins Museum.

The magic of The Panther Room lies in its small, playful touches—panther figurines poised one after another around the ceiling, a book of artist quotes where other hotels might leave a Bible, small succulents built into lamps, and a jigsaw puzzle to pass the time. The usual hotel amenities are elevated, and I had almost forgotten the simple pleasure of stepping out of a shower into a towel that wraps all the way around. I treated myself to a double espresso in the morning, stretching out onto soft yet supportive velvet pillows to drink in Carroll’s Panther more fully.

For anyone who ever dreamed of being enveloped in an artwork, this is the way to do it.


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