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New and Renovated Historic Midwest Hotels

The Elms Hotel and Spa Exterior


The Elms Hotel and Spa announced the completion of renovations to its guest rooms, lobby, spa, ballroom, fitness center, outdoor space and dining areas in October. The historic hotel has welcomed guests for more than 125 years and debuted an updated look inspired by the hotel’s original features, preserving the property and its legacy while offering guests a timeless experience.

The Elms Hotel and Spa Firepits
The Elms Hotel and Spa Firepits

The 153-room property features mosaic tile flooring with emerald and burgundy hues in the lobby, complemented by modern neutral shades of gray and beige. Newly added spaces include Cafe Soterian, serving Elms Blend coffee drinks, smoothies, pastries and lunch daily and converting into a wine bar serving craft beers, flatbread pizzas and more in the evenings. The Market, also new to The Elms Hotel and Spa, provides guests a place to shop for treats, snacks and souvenirs.

Spa at The Elms introduced a new sanctuary space for guests to prioritize wellness and unwind ahead of spa treatments, and The Elms ballroom, suitable for large-scale events, was updated with subtle gray tones and maintains its historic feel through a custom carpet with a non-repeating pattern. 

In total, The Elms Hotel and Spa offers 11,000 square feet of restored meeting space across nine event rooms, as well as 16 acres of resort grounds for retreats and teambuilding activities. Outdoor event spaces include the hotel’s patio, pool deck, fire pit area and gazebo. 

[Related: New Illinois Hotels and an Ohio Renovation (October, 2022)]


The Abbey Resort and Avani Spa, just 90 miles from Chicago and sitting on 90 acres of manicured grounds at Lake Geneva, recently renovated its 35,000-square-foot Avani Spa. The resort has welcomed guests for more than 50 years to its Wisconsin lakeside experience.

The Abbey Resort Outdoor Meeting and Event Space
The Abbey Resort Outdoor Meeting and Event Space

The award-winning, full-service Avani Spa now includes 16 luxury treatment rooms, two new couples’ suites, salt and infrared relaxation areas, an updated spa and salon service menu, steam and sauna rooms and more. Guests at The Abbey Resort can indulge in seasonal flavors at 240 West, offering fresh farm-to-fork dining with harbor views.

[Related: Colorful and Creative Spaces That Inspire in Wisconsin]

The 334-room resort offers 40,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting space, including a 6,000-square-foot conference center and the 10,010-square-foot Harbor Ballroom. The resort’s West Shore Pavilion measures 6,000 square feet and is an outdoor tent space with climate control and floor-to-ceiling windows. 

The Abbey Resort and Avani Spa also facilitates teambuilding activities including At the Lake Scavenger Hunts, Bike Building Breakthroughs, Olympic Overdrive and Sailing Synergy. 


Hotel Fort Des Moines
Hotel Fort Des Moines

The newly transformed Hotel Fort Des Moines gives guests the opportunity to stay in the very same place as musicians such as Elvis and Johnny Cash to former presidents including John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Hotel Fort Des Moines is reminiscent of the past throughout its restored 4,200-square-foot grand ballroom and old-world Walnut Boardroom. 

Offering a total of 13,362 square feet of event space, Hotel Fort Des Moines provides opportunities to immerse guests in speakeasy culture during prohibition. In 1939, police liquor squads raided the hotel’s Log Cabin room and arrested 128 men and four women onsite for illicit Prohibition -era activities.

To celebrate the hotel’s original 1919 opening and honor its prohibition-style In Confidence Speakeasy, Hotel Fort Des Moines is offering a new group promotion that includes $1,919 toward cocktail hour hors d’oeuvres for every $5,000 in contracted F&B spend, as well as a complimentary 1.5-liter prohibition signature drink. 

Read this next: New and Renovated Mid-American City Escapes and Country Getaways

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