Health-centric hotel, where guests can work out in their rooms, is no place for slackers


Disclaimer: This is not my original content, rather is being shared from HERE

I have personally had the pleasure of working with Dr. GANGAHAR on these projects and wholeheartedly believe in his focus and goals with this new hotel concept! 

A high-profile Nebraska heart surgeon may be retired from the operating room, but he’s now taking his push for fitness and heart-healthy living to another industry: hotels.

Dr. Deepak Gangahar, whose patient lineup included Tom Osborne and Husker quarterback Tommie Frazier, is a driving force behind a new InterContinental Hotels Group model set to open in April at 24th and Farnam Streets.

Called Even, the 132-suite structure that Gangahar is developing with business partner Kirti Trivedi is rising six stories in a transitioning downtown pocket infused recently with some new apartments and a few renovated storefronts. But the hotel, designed by Parekh Architects, based in Houston and Oklahoma City, stands out mostly because of its obsession with wellness.

Let’s just say it’s no place for slackers.

Each guest room will have its own exercise equipment, and extra-thick floors and walls to contain any noise or bounce. Staff members will double as yoga or spin instructors: The front area host, for instance, may check in a business group and later guide them on a bike ride.

The hotel’s Cork & Kale restaurant, also open to the public, will offer items like egg quinoa wraps, power granola and kale miso ginger salads. Even the cocktails and desserts have a fitness bent — try the low-calorie TY KU Soju or Deconstructed Yogurt Bar S’mors.

“It creates a culture where everybody is health-conscious,” said Gangahar of Anant Enterprises. “I wanted something that didn’t exist in Nebraska, and I wanted whatever we did to make a difference.”

The $17.8 million, 105,000-square-foot project is among five Even models in the pipeline. Three others are being built in New York City, and another will be in Miami. Earlier, IHG opened two Even lifestyle hotels in Norwalk, Connecticut, and Rockville, Maryland. IHG, which is based in the United Kingdom, owns the brands Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza, along with Even and others.

Deborah Ward, spokeswoman for the Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau, welcomed what she described as a new and different product to the local market that currently offers a total of about 2,700 downtown hotel rooms.

“It’s also a great option for locals who want a mini-vacation or a quick getaway,” she said.

While this will be the first fitness-centric hotel of its kind in Nebraska, Gangahar is no stranger to the hospitality industry in general — and neither is he a novice to pace-setting moves.

He and Trivedi are developing a five-story apartment and retail building at 16th and Nicholas Streets, on an industrial corner not yet reached by north downtown’s emerging entertainment and business district. The duo viewed that $9.2 million Nichols Flats project as a way to spur more activity around yet another of their investments, the Holiday Inn Downtown near 15th and Cuming Streets.

Likewise, Trivedi anticipates the firm’s Even Hotel to attract more commercial activity to its downtown intersection, which is two blocks south of the Dodge Street corridor’s Joslyn Museum, Central High School and NuStyle Development’s Highline apartments.

“Watch, in two years, this area will be very different,” Trivedi said. “When we broke ground in north downtown, everyone thought we were crazy, too.”

Of the 5,000 square feet of retail space that will wrap around the ground level of the Even Hotel, about 60 percent probably will be filled with hotel-related banquet and party space for the first two years, or until the area becomes established enough to draw more retail services, Trivedi said.

Ground-level retail bays are intended to engage pedestrians and enliven street activity. Gangahar said the hotel’s exterior also will feature a lot of glass to promote more connection to the neighborhood.

NuStyle co-owner Todd Heistand — who is adding on to the existing 194-unit Highline apartments — sold Gangahar’s firm some of the Farnam Street land upon which the Even Hotel is being built.

Heistand said he is looking forward to the hotel bringing more visitors and commercial bustle, which he expects will positively affect his tenants. The Highline’s new wing that is under construction will front Douglas Street and add 114 apartments, a swimming pool and two commercial bays to the existing complex.

“Hotels bring that 24-7 atmosphere,” Heistand said. “They bring visitors, they’re a great addition to a neighborhood.”

The hotel was originally slated to open this summer, but construction has taken longer than anticipated. The brand’s wellness features, including sound-proofing and built-in poles for exercise resistance bands, will increase typical hotel development costs by about 15 percent, Trivedi said.

He and Gangahar said they’re building the Even to own for the long run.

Gangahar’s entry into the hospitality industry dates back a dozen years, while he was still performing surgeries.

He started out building a small economy hotel in west Omaha, which provided a place for his brother to manage and to avoid a commute to Kansas. The business tapped many of the same principles that the doctor used during his health care profession. Now 67, Gangahar’s career highlights include helping to create Lincoln’s Nebraska Heart Institute and Nebraska Heart Hospital, and a stint at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Omaha-based heart transplant program.

“Treat each patient as if they were part of our family,” Gangahar said. “Mediocrity is not good enough.”

The tie with Trivedi came as Trivedi worked on a hotel project near Gangahar’s hospital. A mutual friend introduced them. Gangahar invited Trivedi to his first Husker game. Gangahar said he appreciated Trivedi’s hotel know-how and values, and they’ve since joined forces on about 10 finished projects and have a half-dozen in the works.

Their latest, the Even, allows a setting for Gangahar to instill his careerlong message: “Prevention is times better and cheaper than treatment.”

Among the hotel’s amenities: big windows and room sizes; no beds smaller than king-sized (except for kid bunk beds); a spacious lobby designed for socializing; a signature staircase to encourage climbing. Guests have a common 3,000-square-foot fitness area as well as their room exercise equipment.

Elevators, to be sure, will be available, as will choices for the not-so-energetic or not-so-calorie-conscious consumer.

Business travelers will have plenty of high-tech meeting space, and Gangahar said the Even is to be the first area hotel to offer one-gig Internet.

While Gangahar no longer performs surgery, he stays active with family, hobbies and Anant Enterprises, and mentors youth and volunteers consulting services to patients. His Even Hotel promotes his aim to continue to help “build healthy communities.”

“I may have left the practice of medicine,” Gangahar said. “But medicine has not left me.”

Contact the writer: 402-444-1224,



Business Travel deserves a page all to itself! Having traveled professionally for many years, I have learned many tried and true tips to ensure that corporate travel is as painless as possible. I was lucky to be mentored by my sister and partner for the first year, and I quickly realized that there are many Do’s and Don’ts when traveling for business. This page will provide articles, links and a vast resources of travel tips and guides to help you navigate the work of corporate travel!

Top 15 Mistakes When Flying


This article from Forbes hits the nail on the head. I have experienced every single one of these mistakes firsthand! Here is a recap, plus a little added commentary from yours truly: (for the full article click here)

  1. Not booking your seat when you book your plane ticket! (yup, you will only do this once until you get stuck in the VERY LAST row by the bathrooms, with no reclining seat).
  2. Dressing down for the flight. (It’s never a good day when you end up behind schedule and you have to attend a meeting in lululemon pants, and bed head…or having to get dressed in an airport bathroom. However, I NEVER check a bag for this reason as well)
  3. Trusting that your flight will have WiFi. (I learned this the hard way when leaving the country for an extended vacation. I figured a 5 hour flight would be perfect for catching up on last-minute emails and setting my auto-responder. And then….you find out they have no wi-fi on the flight!) 
  4. Wearing uncomfortable shoes(There is a balance here! I am horrified when I end up sitting next to a man in flip-flops how takes his shoes off in-flight. Gag!)
  5. Forgetting to check you plans before you land. (Use a travel app to stay organized, and double and triple check accommodations and travel times before hand or in-flight. As much as I hate to admit it, I have flown to the wrong city, I have forgotten to book a hotel, I have forgotten to book a car, and I have miscalculated travel time. Be prepared and double-check!)
  6. Not bringing back-up cosmetics in your carry on. (If nothing else….deodorant?)
  7. Not planning ahead to accommodate travel time from the airport. (see item 5 above)
  8. Forgetting to bring an extra tote. (When traveling, if I have down time…I inevitably end up shopping. It seems the only reasonable thing to do, shop or eat! Throw in a little reusable bag or tote so you can carry extra items. You won’t believe how handy it is!)
  9. Booking an aisle seat. (the article says it perfectly! must read!) 
  10. Booking a window seat. (the article says it perfectly! must read!) 
  11. Assuming you’ll get food on the plane. (There is nothing worse than running to catch a 3+ hour flight, and realizing that you are starving and your only food options is a small token bag of peanuts (delta now offers almonds), bring food with you!)
  12. Not getting a jump on jet lag. (Think about how your flight times will correlate with meetings and time zone changes. Sometimes a little extra cash for a better flight time offers enough productivity to make it worth the extra spend!)
  13. Suffering through coach. (Luckily if you travel extensively, and have status upgrades are truly a blessing. Once you have the chance to sit in Economy Comfort, Business Class or First Class, it’s tough to go back. Another justification is that more often than not you will be seated by other business travelers which offers a great networking opportunity!)
  14. Not planning ahead if you want to bring wine home. (Great point! See #8 above, or leave room in your bag.  Utah has very strict laws regarding shipped wine, however, you CAN either put it in a checked bag, or many airports have wonderful wine stores where you can purchase it  in the terminal to carry on!) 
  15. Thinking the gate agent will of assistance. (Basically, you are stuck with using your airline’s app, or call customer service. Anymore, the app is better to work with! )

Happy and Safe Travels!