“Brilliantly unexpected.” That’s how Shane Lonowski, general manager of the Farnam Hotel, describes the new luxury hotel in Omaha’s thriving Old Market. “We get a lot of our energy and inspiration from the city,” he said. “Our legacy is rooted in the entrepreneurial spirit of Omaha’s boom movement from centuries past.”

Truly one-of-a-kind, the Farnam has the honor of being a Marriott Autograph Collection hotel — a global collection of luxury, independent hotels distinctly crafted to leave a lasting imprint on customers and communities.

Located at 13th and Farnam, the hotel features a sophisticated style enhanced by the city’s warm and welcoming character. Many of the design elements reflect Omaha’s historic ties to the development of the first transcontinental railroad in 1862. Henry Farnam — the hotel’s namesake — was largely responsible for ensuring that the Pacific railroad went through Omaha instead of Kansas City. That bold move dramatically transformed Omaha from a river town into a vibrant commercial trade center.

Much of the decor artistically reflects Omaha’s commercial history. Artwork is hung on industrial pulleys. Railroad ties embellish common areas. Carpets depict the Missouri River. Recycled and repurposed materials enhance the hotel’s beauty. The registration desk is constructed of wood columns from a local church. Even sawdust has been repurposed into artistic wall panels found throughout the hotel.

Since its opening on May 20, 2020, the hotel has earned praise from customers and garnered prestigious awards and ratings from the travel and leisure industry. Last year the hotel had the highest customer satisfaction scores in North America out of Marriott’s luxury brands.

The Farnam is the first and only hotel in Nebraska to be recognized by Forbes Travel Guide and is the highest rated AAA Four-Diamond Hotel in the state. Shane is proud of this recognition and credits the hotel’s environment and staff with much of its success.

“We’re really proud of our culture,” Shane said. “We focus on taking care of our team members. We know if we take care of them, they’ll deliver the best care to our guests and vendors. That’s how we do business day in and day out,” he said. “Incredibly passionate people work here. We’re glad to be Omaha’s upscale, luxury hotel.”

Giving customers more than they expect is a philosophy that’s apparent at the Farnam, and it’s also the advice Shane gives Omaha businesses. He recommends reading “Unreasonable Hospitality,” by Will Guidara to see how every business can choose to be a hospitality business—and transform ordinary transactions into extraordinary experiences. 

He also recommends membership in the Omaha Chamber as a way to be involved with elevating Omaha’s business culture. Shane appreciates the way the Chamber actively markets the city to bring in new business. “This growth provides employment opportunities, as well as boosts local economic development.” He also values how the Chamber contributes to the professional development of Omaha’s young workforce. “The networking events the Chamber hosts allow us to meet potential new clients and make friends along the way,” he said. “I connect with peers that have similar goals and challenges.”

This 120-room hotel, with 24 suites is a nod to Omaha’s history that guides the hotel. According to Shane, “Celebrating the past in a fun and energetic way and recognizing the city’s bold legacy makes us what we are — brilliantly unexpected.”

Learn more about The Farnam Hotel.