Monday, March 2, 2009

Falling Water at the Westin Crown Center

The sound of rushing water grows louder as you round the bend on your way from Crown Center Shops to the lobby of the Westin Crown Center hotel, in Kansas City, Mo. Within moments the landscape matches the sound, as you find a breathtaking view of the hotel's legendary waterfall within a five-story atrium.

One of the city's most-photographed spots, this indoor waterfall and lush, terraced gardens have delighted visitors and residents since the early '70s, after the 729-room hotel opened. A large hill of natural limestone extends inside the building, providing the perfect backdrop for 60-foot-tall tumbling sheets of water; only underwater lights belie the fact that this was actually a man-made wonder. For a brief moment, city noise and activity melt away in the sight and sound of nature under glass.

But head for the lower level lobby and there's a rather surreal feeling as you step from the escalator onto multi-colored carpet, only yards away from the Westin Crown Center's signature site. As you walk towards the front desk the sound of rushing water gradually fades, conversation rises, and you return to the everyday hustle-bustle - until your next visit.

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