Magnolia Hotel offers classy boutique stay in downtown Omaha


Omaha’s Magnolia Hotel offers guests upscale service while giving them a smaller boutique experience.

The Magnolia Hotel, near 16th and Howard Streets, is one of five boutique locations for the Magnolia Hotel chain.

The company opened its first hotel in Denver in 1993. Omaha joined the Magnolia brand in 2006.

The hotel serves two primary client types – corporate during the week and couples on the weekends. Since there are no swimming pools or children activities, the hotel doesn’t get many family guests.

The Omaha property was once part of the Starwood hotel chain. In fact, I worked in the basement of the hotel when I was a sales consultant for Starwood. The hotel was a Sheraton at that time.


The 4-floor hotel sits in the old Aquila Court building. The Aquila was built in 1923 by Chicago financier Chester Cook, according to Mandy Vanderloo, the hotel’s sales manager. He named it in honor of his grandmother. His parents’ faces are featured in the front of the hotel.

The Magnolia Hotel features Tennessee marble flooring in the lobby area, as well as Brazilian cherry wood.IMG_1641

As you walk into the hotel, you get the feel of an intimate, but upscale hotel. The front desk staff is very friendly. The front desk wall has a modern look to it. The name “Magnolia” is framed in a shadow box. The wall is white and has a floral look.

The hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. So, the original frame must remain intact.

IMG_1632 The lobby has an old directory of office suites. The Aquila Court was originally a mixed use building. It once had 18 shops and 240 offices.

An old mailbox is also located in the lobby. It is still used. Guests can drop letters or cards in a mail tube on the room floors. The items are collected daily. IMG_1630

The building’s overall design is based on an Italian palace.

Stepping out in the courtyard, you see that. Artwork dots the courtyard walls. Antique-looking vases sit on an overlook of the courtyard.


The day I stopped in for some pictures, the courtyard was set up for an outdoor wedding. The hotel hosts several weddings, Mandy said.


I loved the water fountain in the courtyard.


Back inside the hotel, there is a nice lounge and restaurant. The restaurant has a decent menu (with decent prices). Lisa and I both had burgers during our visit. They were delicious. We each had a cup of soup, which were also good.


The bar offers a decent selection of drinks. There is a lounge area surrounding a fireplace. It’s easy to imagine having a drink or latte late in the evening, unwinding in the lounge following a day’s worth of activities in downtown Omaha.


The hotel has 145 guest rooms and 12 two-level suites. The Presidential Suite is a two-story lofted suite. When I worked at Starwood, I recall then Vice President Al Gore staying there when he was in town during his presidential campaign.


Just over 60 rooms have king beds.

The rooms and suites feature swanky décor in a chic chocolate brown and turquoise color scheme.

The hotel’s room rates seem comparable to a little better than some of the other downtown higher-end hotels.

Besides hosting weddings, the U-shaped building offers more than 8,000 square feet of meeting space, including the Magnolia Ballroom. IMG_1661

The boutique hotel offers complimentary breakfast daily.

Guests can participate in a free beer and wine reception each evening.

Business guests can take advantage of the hotel’s complimentary access to the business center.

Guests can also have free access to nearby 24-Hour Fitness center.

As a downtown hotel, the Magnolia is not far from the main area attractions. It’s about a block from the Orpheum Theater. Some cast members of shows there stay at the Magnolia.


The Old Market, a popular spot for visitors and residents alike, is a few blocks away.

Most attractions are within walking distance of the hotel.

For those that may be a little farther away, the hotel does have complimentary shuttle service.

If you are looking for a nice hotel and don’t want to stay at one of the super large chains, check out the Magnolia. I know we are interested in staying here in the near future.