Update: Things have gone downhill since our visit. Coco Key Water Resort’s license was suspended on July 11, 2018.
Love a good makeover story? The new Hotel RL Omaha is in the process of remodeling the Midtown Omaha hotel connected to CoCo Key Water Resort, and the result (so far) is beautiful.
I was invited to enjoy a stay there with my family to get a feel for the new place and share it with you. Hotel RL is part of the Red Lion brand.
Hotel RL Lobby & Living Space
The lobby and vast open space in the hotel is where you’ll see the most impressive updates. The lobby is a study in Instagrammable space. It’s so stylish.
Move on and you’ll find a coffee shop, bar, and The Living Stage. The Living Stage is a performance space for variety of styles. The night we were there, a band performed. See a calendar of upcoming performances here.
The thing families will want to note is that The Living Stage is a strictly-enforced 18 and older space in the evening. Look for posted signs to see when that curfew is the night you’re there.
But the rest of the day, the kids will enjoy the over-sized chess board and climbing the pyramid-like stairs.
Once you venture toward the conference room area (especially, when you’re making your way to CoCo Key), you’ll see some areas that haven’t been remodeled yet.
The Rooms at Hotel RL
The remodel process isn’t complete, and so, you’re not going to see much change to the rooms, yet. But check out what’s to come.
The sliding door to the bathroom is pretty cool, but I also want to point out that the rooms will be decorated with Nebraska-inspired artwork. Nice touch.
The room we stayed in was a suite, providing a lot of space for my hotel-crazed kids. We had two queen-sized beds, plus a sofa bed. The tub is large.
We had a room facing the large open space, so we didn’t have the benefit of outside light brightening up the room.
Our room also had a mini fridge and microwave, which is handy if you’re staying for a few days.
Dining at Hotel RL
There’s one restaurants in the huge Hotel RL called Castaways. The name and comical sign doesn’t do the restaurant any service. It was a surprisingly good hotel restaurant, with reasonably priced dinners (especially the kids meals). I tried fish and chips, and sampled a bit of Mr. Wonderful’s pulled pork sandwich. Everything was seasoned well, and the fries were spot on.
Breakfast was buffet-only, but here’s a good deal: Kids under 5 eat free. Adults are $12. There weren’t any surprises there, your usual spread of hot food likes eggs and bacon. However, I loved the abundant fresh fruit. The kids, naturally, loved the variety of donuts. The coffee was disappointing.
About CoCo Key Water Resort
If you’re staying at the hotel and you have kids with you, you can’t skip the indoor water park, CoCo Key. It’s pretty fantastic. You get a pretty good deal if you get a room and add tickets to it.
We were staying only one night, but fit in two trips to the water park.
We spent most of our time in the lazy river, and trying out the single and double-tube water slides. The huge play area with the giant bucket of water dumping out occasionally overwhelmed the kids at first, but they eventually found a way to avoid the bucket and enjoy all the water slides in that area.
Tip: It’s a bit of a walk bit from the hotel rooms to the water park, but definitely manageable. You can also drive over to the entrance. No need to bring towels from your room.
You don’t have to be a hotel guest to go to CoCo Key, and in fact, I bet a lot of people there were day visitors. If you’re a day visitor, bring a towel.
There is a restaurant and bar at CoCo Key, but the service was so slow to get food, I didn’t last long waiting before we left to eat elsewhere.
There’s an arcade between the water park and the hotel. Good luck walking through there without stopping.
What’s Near Hotel RL Omaha
Hotel RL is just off Interstate 80, making it ideal for family vacationers who want to get places like Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium, Lauritzen Gardens, and further afield to the Old Market. It’s also makes a trip out west to Strategic Air & Space Museum a little more manageable.
Close to the hotel, families have a few options for fun. It’s not far from Aksarben Village with its shops, playground, movie theater, and frequent fun events on the weekends. Cupcake fans will like that Jones Bros. Cupcakes is in that area. It’s also close to Baxter Arena, where if you time a visit well, you can catch a hockey game or sweet concert.
If you go
Hotel RL Omaha
Where: 3321 S. 72nd St.
Cost: You can book room-only, or look into family-friendly packages that include water park passes for four (starting at $189/night) or a zoo package. Definitely look around the packages offered because there are some incredibly low rates to introduce you to the hotel, well below $100! Add 4 CoCo Key passes to your hotel stay for $60 if you don’t have a water park package (this $60 bundle is only good for one day of admission).
Disclosure: My stay at Hotel RL Omaha was hosted by the hotel. I was not compensated for this post, and all thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.