Hotel – What do you know about Chip, Joanna’s new project
Chip and Joanna Gaines replaced their feature walls with velvet and leather sofas.
On November 3, the “Fixer Upper” couple opened the doors to their latest project in Waco, Texas: the 1928 Hotel.
With so many TV shows, a famous market, a restaurant, several books, and recently an entire network, the first logical question is why (or why not) a hotel? “(Chip’s) been very interested in finding unique properties that needed a little reimagining, and he surprised me with this one in 2018,” Joanna Gaines told USA TODAY.
The property itself was a coincidence. The couple originally thought the building could serve as Magnolia’s corporate headquarters, and the current headquarters might serve as a hotel.
“The building itself was so huge and such an important part of our city’s history that it was a bit difficult to think about what it should become,” Joanna said. “We kicked around some ideas for a year or so, but it wasn’t until we decided to go the hospitality route.” “After we invited Ben Weprin from AJ Capital (whom we later partnered with) to tour the space with us.”
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It was certainly a different project for her, which scared her at times, but with Adventurous Journeys (AJ) Capital Partners, they combined the historic building’s original 1920s neo-Gothic style with trendy modern styles, green tiles, white marble and decor. Gaines’ famous elegant layered decor.
“It’s all inclusive, the duvets, the books, the liner, the pencils, the stationery, (the Gaines picked it all out),” said Ben Weprin, founder and CEO of AJ Capital — which also co-owns and manages the hotel. Which was once called XYZ.
USA TODAY was among the few to secure a stay before the 1928 hotel opened to the public. Here are the main takeaways.
For better or worse, you’re in Waco, Texas
Waco, Texas has become synonymous with two things: Magnolia and Baylor University. In this sense, the 1928 Hotel had to do double duty by catering to Chip and Joanna’s visiting fans and the local community.
“It was also our goal to reclaim this space as an ode to the city of Waco, to serve our local community and as an opportunity to open doors to visitors who may not know anything about our city, but when they are here, I can walk through the halls and understand how rich and resilient our history is,” Joanna said. “We put a lot of effort and time into telling the story of our city and finding ways to make guests feel that sense of warmth and belonging that you get from where you belong, so we hope that everyone who steps inside the hotel will feel that way, and they will feel at home.”
The location isn’t as buzzy as New York City, or as glamorous as Las Vegas, or as tropical as Key West, but maybe that’s the point. Hotel 1928 dedicates its space to those who want to enjoy a luxurious experience in a place that feels like home.
The hotel has a lot of history if you look closely
It is fitting that the 1928 hotel will reopen its doors to guests almost a century later. The updated glamor of the 1920s is on full display.
“When you walk inside, we really want it to feel like you’re stepping back in time,” Joanna said. “The structure was originally built in 1928, so we leaned into the golden age of American culture… We intentionally chose colors and materials that evoked a kind of nostalgia for those roaring twenties, and we hope that guests will feel permission to be swept up in this building with that feeling whether they are dining in one of the restaurants.” Or they play chess in the library.
The photographs on the walls, the books in the library, and some of the furniture around the hotel combine to tell the story of Waco’s past.
It is an ideal place for special occasions
Aside from the 33 rooms, café, library, restaurant, bar and rooftop lounge, the 1928 Hotel’s hidden gem is its ballroom.
Walking on the original (and restored) floors gives guests a sense of luxury. It’s an ideal location to celebrate life’s milestones with the added convenience of all the built-in hotel amenities.
“Hospitality has always been at the heart of what we do. Especially here in Waco, the idea of inviting people and inspiring a sense of home is the lens through which we create the experience at Silos, in our retail stores, and in our restaurants. For us, a hotel feels like a “An extension of this intention, and another opportunity to welcome people and make them feel at home.”
(It’s a good thing the property didn’t end up turning into Magnolia’s corporate headquarters because the hall space was considered a basketball court.)