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Take a break from chain hotels and experience a truly one-of-a-kind stay at two Iowa hotels along the I-80 corridor, the Highlander Hotel in Iowa City or Hotel Grinnell in Grinnell. Recognized as the only woman-owned hotels in the state and the top hotels in their respective markets, these two destinations each offer their own character and historic charm that show in everything from the renovated spaces and uniquely designed rooms to the thoughtful amenities. Book a stay for a family getaway, a couple’s retreat or even a think-outside-of-the-box corporate retreat.

The Highlander Hotel

Built in 1976 as a supper club destination, the Highlander has been renovated to offer a fun full-service resort. Situated just off Highway 1 and I-80 and only five minutes from downtown Iowa City, guests can choose between spending the entire weekend at the hotel dining poolside, in the Supper Club, in their room or at the patio bar, or venturing out to nearby shops, attractions and parks.

This urban resort is the perfect weekend escape. Grab a courtyard room with your own patio (a great option if you’re bringing the family dog), or get a poolside room for instant access to the pool and hot tub. It’s the largest indoor pool in the city, making it a great place for the kids to release their energy while parents unwind with a drink or snack from the poolside bar.

Once it’s time to settle down for the night, grab a record player and your favorite vinyl or a board game from the lounge to enjoy the rest of the evening together.

Spend the next day at The Supper Club, which has been transformed into a retro cocktail arcade. It includes all your favorite games, from classics like pinball, Skee Ball and Pacman to newer takes on Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero and Mario Kart. Stay for dinner and enjoy a selection from the food-truck inspired menu of street tacos, pizza, burgers, bowls, sweets and shakes alongside a cocktail or mocktail, beer, wine or seltzer. Live music accompanies the fun every Friday and Saturday night.

Then, spend an evening on the patio relaxing around a fire or playing a friendly game of bags in the courtyard. Head into the pool area to play a round of ping pong. Throughout the weekend, guests can also utilize the weight room to maintain their normal routine.

The Highlander has a unique laid-back vibe paired with authentic, attentive service – an urban resort for the independent spirit and a place where all ages get together to connect to more than the Wi-Fi.

Hotel Grinnell

After some quality family time, leave the kids behind for a relaxing couples retreat, girlfriends’ getaway or a rendezvous with friends at Hotel Grinnell in Grinnell, which is located just five miles north of I-80. Self-touted as the school you want to go back to, the former 1921 granite school building was transformed into a stunning boutique hotel featuring historic charm like soaring windows, lofted ceilings and original hardwood floors paired with modern luxury.

Every immaculate room includes organic soaps and world-class linens to pamper its guests, and features unique touches to honor its past as a classroom such as locker room-style benches, chalkboards for love notes and unique works of art.

Once you’re settled in, grab a table at The Periodic Table to enjoy a relaxing lunch or dinner inside or on the patio by the fire. The menu includes everything you could want, from charcuterie and fondue to pizza, tacos and delicious desserts.

Then, spend the rest of the day exploring Grinnell’s historic downtown, which boasts various restaurants, bars and cafés alongside community attractions such as the Grinnell College Museum of Art, Grinnell Arts Center, Makers Studio or Central Park right across the street. Everything is within walking distance of the hotel and, if you want to stray even farther, guests can borrow a hotel bike for free to explore area trails and golf courses.