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LEO A DALY’s Restoration Design Reinvents Kimpton’s Historic Cottonwood Hotel in Omaha

The Kimpton Cottonwood Hotel Historic Schimmel Ballroom
The Kimpton Cottonwood Hotel Historic Schimmel Ballroom
OMAHA, NE — A storied destination between Denver and Chicago has been meticulously restored through a collaboration between international design firms LEO A DALY and DLR Group. Kimpton’s boutique Cottonwood Hotel recently opened, set in Omaha’s Blackstone entertainment district. The Kimpton Cottonwood Hotel is managed by hospitality company Pivot Hotels & Resorts.

LEO A DALY provided architectural and engineering design services, and DLR Group led interior design and experience programming. The two firms worked in concert to restore this legacy property and create a design that celebrates the spirit of the original 1915 Blackstone Hotel, which embodies the Renaissance Revival style and served for decades as a destination for presidents and cinema stars.

“Every great hospitality design begins with an even better story, and the new Kimpton Cottonwood Hotel in Omaha is a perfect example of a well-crafted cocktail that savors the flavors of old and new,” said LEO A DALY Global Hospitality Practice Leader Mark Pratt. “The infusion of modern appeal paired with preservation of the hotel’s iconic character inspired a beautifully executed restoration that showcases the full power of integrated hospitality design.”

The renewed Kimpton Cottonwood Hotel seeks to return to a transcendent destination, balancing sentimental longings for a European way of life — yet with a modern-day and forward-thinking Midwestern luxury appeal. Modern heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting, and technology are woven into the 105-year-old structure and its revived features, among them a marble staircase, original tile and hardwood floors, hand-carved terra cotta columns and pilasters, and an eighth-story ballroom with terraces overlooking the city.

The main historic tower is joined to a newly constructed annex, whose exterior resurrects architectural patterns from the historic Gold Coast neighborhood surrounding it. Interior spaces are tactile and driven by the property’s heritage, offering guests amenities from a lobby garden lounge, a lobby bar, and the French-inspired Orleans Café. In total, five delectable eateries adorn the premises and are powered by 21st-century kitchens.

Guestrooms characterize a respite from the energetic main-floor amenities. Inspired by the calm and reflective lawns of the original Blackstone property, they feature restrained and serene finishes with classic European Revival details. Custom wall coverings in guest baths reflect Midwestern prairie illustrations. They are combined with classic chrome and marble fixtures.

Interior experiences are threaded together through a common color palette of warm natural tones juxtaposed with contemporary furnishings and amenities. A recreation of the original speakeasy cocktail bar in the basement, the Cottonwood Room features a historically accurate circular feature bar, canopied by a metallic Cottonwood tree, all set against a restored translucent photo mural of the Missouri River.

To preserve the building’s history, engineers and architects approached design with a “gentle touch.” Each of more than 800 original windows were carefully restored rather than replaced. Structural additions to house two new elevators were designed to preserve existing foundations. Underused parcels adjacent to the historic property were repurposed, returning lost courtyards to adjoin interior spaces with moments of outdoor leisure and distractions. Throughout the property, designers maximized glimpses of, and access to the retail, dining, and entertainment of Farnam Street in the flourishing Blackstone District.

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