The Gathering Place, a popular Columbia bed and breakfast that closed almost two years ago, will reopen in early July as part of the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resource’s Hotel and Restaurant Management program.
The bed and breakfast will provide an educational Capstone experience for an elite group of students studying hotel and restaurant management—giving them a firsthand look at managing a hotel, serving customer needs and creating an upscale ambiance.
The effort will be supported by the college’s other entrepreneurial laboratories such as Tiger Garden that will supply fresh floral arrangements.
Approximately 375 students are enrolled in the hotel and restaurant program, said James Groves, MU hotel and restaurant program director. Graduates of the program have food, beverage and hotel careers all over the world, from chef positions in trendy Paris restaurants to customer service representatives at Disneyland.
“The Gathering Place will be used as an operating laboratory for students studying specific areas of hospitality,” he said. “Lodging students will use the facility to study hotel operations and will conduct projects in areas such as financial management, menu development, marketing planning and analysis and reservations and other technology systems. The advantage of the Gathering Place as a laboratory is that students will participate in the project planning, project implementation and project evaluation. No other commercial lodging experience will allow students this level of access to management systems.”
A second group benefiting from the Gathering Place as a laboratory will be meeting and events management students, Groves said. These students will be able to plan, implement, conduct and evaluate regular programs from routine meetings to special events. The students will also be instrumental in planning special presentations and packages for guests.
“For example, they will help the innkeeper develop different welcome basket packages, catering for special luncheons and other special request functions,” Groves said. “Meeting and events management is one of the highest demand majors on campus at the current time, yet internships and experiences are hard to arrange. The Gathering Place will offer these experiences to many hotel and restaurant management students which will help them to be more marketable when they are searching for careers.”
The University of Missouri Ag Foundation, a private corporation, purchased the bed and breakfast across from the MU campus and leases it to the college.
Built in 1905, the facility was operated for several years by the Duff family. It was a favorite spot to give potential faculty and VIPs an elegant place to stay while visiting the university and city.
The Gathering Place features four queen suites and one king room, each with modern private baths. Most rooms are filled with antique walnut, cherry and tiger maple furniture. The exterior of the house is dominated with an oversize veranda.
The bed and breakfast will be furnished in the same classic style as when operated by the Duff family, said James Hundle, assistant to the vice chancellor and dean. “The facility is designed to be a unique and homelike setting—small, comfortable, upscale and welcoming,” he continued. “The size of the operation, only five rooms, won’t accommodate conferences, but will be an ideal and cozy place for something like candidate interviews and small receptions.”
Located on College Avenue, the Gathering Place Bed and Breakfast is steps away from campus and close to art galleries, parks, museums, the District downtown area and the trailhead of the Columbia Katy Trail.
For more information or to make a reservation, visit: