Whether you’re an avid fan of Fixer Upper, of Target’s Hearth & Hand by Magnolia products, or just casually know who Chip and Joanna Gaines are, there’s one thing we can all agree on: They’ve built something pretty impressive.
I’ve long been inspired by their renovations and home design, their adorable relationship, as well as Joanna’s personal style and her cookbooks, not to mention I buy whatever I can from their Hearth & Hand line at Target. I follow both of them personally and their brands on Instagram and have seen plenty of pictures from The Silos, always wondering what it would be like to actually be there in person and get to fully experience the Gaines’ impact on their small hometown.
So, when I actually got the opportunity to go down to Waco, Texas, and check out their latest endeavor—the elegant boutique Hotel 1928, I jumped. (Literally) From the moment I got there, it was clear (though not surprising) that they had created, once again, something really special. From the warm, leathery-meets-woodsy aroma that greets you as you walk in to the tiniest details in each corner, I knew I was in for a treat, and I was right.
Here’s my review of the new Hotel 1928: the shopping, the food, and more.
Staying at Hotel 1928: My Honest Review
About Hotel 1928
Designed by Chip and Joanna along with hospitality company AJ Capital Partners, the boutique hotel underwent a historic renovation since it first opened back in—you guessed it—1928 as the former Grand Karem Shrine Building. In its original glory, it spent 75 years hosting fabulous events and social gatherings, but as decades passed, the hotel was eventually sold to the county.
Fast forward to 2020, when the Gaineses and AJ Capital Partners partnered to purchase the historic property and reimagine it into what it is right now—a luxe, boutique hotel experience that’s home to 33 rooms, incredible history, gorgeous decor, and incredible food and drink if I do say so myself. (Watch the full renovation on Fixer Upper: The Hotel on the Magnolia Network.)
The decor is an artfully coordinated mix of Chip and Joanna’s signature Southern-meets-modern style with nods to the trends of the 1920s and mixed with the existing Moorish Revival architecture. The hotel is home to three restaurants, a bustling cafe, a luxurious library (which is where I started writing this piece), a rooftop bar, and a grand ballroom. Plus, a chic boutique where you can purchase Magnolia-designed items, too.
The Food at Hotel 1928
It’s no secret that Chip and Joanna know renovations and decor. But they sure know their way around food, too. While in Waco, I got to experience brunch at Magnolia Table, which was an experience in itself. The menu was extensive, and I was so grateful to be with a big group, which led us to order so. Much. Food. My personal favorites were the deviled eggs, the grilled cheese and tomato soup, and the completely insane pumpkin spice donut holes that Joanna told us we had to try.
For dinner, we enjoyed a three-course meal at The Brasserie in Hotel 1928. We began with lush craft cocktails, then a fresh salad, and I enjoyed a perfectly cooked salmon dish with heaping sides of sweet potatoes and macaroni and cheese. For dessert—a creamsicle-inspired icebox cake was, literally, the icing on the cake. Needless to say, I went to bed right after.
The Rooms at Hotel 1928
Oh, and when I returned to bed, there was turndown service, complete with fresh drinking water in a gorgeous carafe, trail mix, and slippers set alongside the bed. (Which, I might add, was one of the most comfortable beds I have ever slept in.) The hotel offers four styles of rooms titled: Franklin, Austin, Columbus, and Washington. I stayed in a Franklin room, a “traditional King and Queen room” at Hotel 1928 that starts at about $375/night. At higher price points, the Austin rooms offer a bit more space, the Columbus rooms are one- and two-bedroom suites, and the Washington group suites can sleep up to 12. All are pet-friendly.
I woke up to fresh, hot coffee delivered to my door—a tired mama’s dream come true. And I would be remiss to not mention the coffee itself, as it totally deserves its own shout-out. The custom Hotel 1928 blend is roasted with tasting notes of chocolate, almond, and brown sugar created by Merit Coffee Co. based in—naturally—Texas. The few bags I brought home are sadly, already gone.
The room came equipped with a Dyson hairdryer and Le Labo bath amenities which were the icing on top.
The Shops at the Silos
Just a few minutes drive from Hotel 1928 are the Silos—six shops, each curated by Joanna Gaines, that are quintessentially Magnolia. Each one is charming, well-stocked, and so fun to browse. My favorite shop, Vie Bein Aimee, is a self-care wonderland filled with body and bath products that smelled incredible and just had to come home with me.
Let’s just say I was super thankful that I flew in and only had a carry-on because, otherwise, I also would have come home with my very own indoor garden courtesy of Ferny’s Retro Plant Shop.
Oh, and the cupcake. I can’t forget about the cupcake from Silos Baking Co.—truly the best one I’ve ever eaten. Silos Baking Co. was featured on Season 4 of Fixer Upper long before it officially became the sweetest-smelling, most nostalgic bakery I had ever been to. I got the Shiplap cupcake—vanilla buttercream icing on vanilla cake—and it was absolutely the best cupcake I have ever had and I consider myself to be quite the connoisseur.
Is Waco Worth Visiting?
My quick trip to Waco was everything I had imagined it to be and more. While I wish I had a bit more time to explore the town itself, I was able to get a little taste of each of the Magnolia brand’s ventures, and it was such a cool experience. I’d wholeheartedly recommend a stay at Hotel 1928 for a couples trip, girls trip, or mother-daughter trip! It’s an elegant, relaxing vibe, and any design or decor fans will absolutely love it, too.
When I got home, I joked to my husband that it’s as if Chip and Joanna created their own version of the equivalent of Disney World for adults down in Texas, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.