'We're embracing the farm': New boutique hotel opens near Living History Farms - Heart Of America Group

A new boutique hotel near Living History Farms is embracing Iowa’s agricultural heritage, but with a modern twist.

Revel Hotel opens Thursday following a $13 million renovation of the former Sleep Inn property at 11211 Hickman Road, just east of Interstate Highway 80/35 in Urbandale.

It’s the second boutique hotel project in the area for Heart of America Group, the Quad Cities-based development company that owns the nearby Hotel Renovo as well as the Machine Shed restaurant.

“There’s nothing vanilla about it,” said Kim Whalen, executive vice president of Heart of America Group. “You’re in Iowa. We’re embracing the fact that we’re at Living History Farms, but it’s done in a modern way.

The art and design of the hotel are completely custom and it features murals from Des Moines artist Gustav.

Boasting 113 rooms, the hotel provides a bed-and-breakfast feel that’s unlike the experience at big-box hotels, Kim Whalen said. It features 16 room types, a meeting space and a lounge serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks.

A large outdoor patio offers an opportunity for guests to grab a drink outside or even play a game of bags.

“We’re in an experiential age, not a product age anymore,” said Mike Whalen, president of Heart of America.

Revel Hotel, a boutique hotel, boasts 113 rooms and 16 different unique room styles that take a modern twist on local agriculture and farming.


Revel Hotel is part of Hilton Hotels and Resorts’ Tapestry Collection of boutique properties that includes unique properties in New York, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina and the District of Columbia.

Rooms featuring one king-size bed or two queens start around $150 per night.

Boutique hotels, which were first popularized in the 1980s, typically have fewer rooms than most modern hotels and feature upscale accommodations that provide a more individualized experience.

Heart of America opened the 102-room Hotel Renovo in 2015 in a former Comfort Suites property next door to Revel Hotel. It features reclaimed barn wood, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a red, white and blue theme.

Heart of America also operates the AC Hotel, a boutique property in Des Moines’ East Village, as well as several other hotels across the metro.

Article By: Linh Ta, Des Moines Register

About Heart Of America

Starting with one, 100-seat restaurant in 1978, Heart of America Group has grown to include a portfolio of award-winning owned and operated restaurants, hotels and commercial developments. Noteworthy brands developed and operated by Heart of America Group include the Machine Shed Restaurant, Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse, The Republic on Grand, Hotel Renovo, Wildwood Lodge, Thunder Bay Grille, and The J Bar. We pride ourselves in building long-lasting properties that bring value to the consumer and to the communities in which we build.


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