Make your next stay in Iowa even more memorable by matching your hotel with your personal interests! We’ve rounded up properties for celebrity watchers, biking enthusiasts, art and architecture aficionados, history buffs and fans of small-town charm or upcycling.
FOR THE CELEB WATCHER
Part of the Marriott Autograph Collection, the Hotel Blackhawk in Davenport has hosted celebrity guests including boxer Jack Dempsey, writer Carl Sandburg, actor Cary Grant and presidents Richard Nixon, Barack Obama and Iowa’s own Herbert Hoover. The property features an on-site spa and barbershop, bowling alley, indoor pool and sundeck, the award-winning Bix Bistro restaurant and the gorgeous Gold Room ballroom for elegant events.
Built in 1839, the old Julien Hotel was the first building travelers saw as they crossed the Mississippi River into Iowa’s first city of Dubuque. Abraham Lincoln, “Buffalo Bill” Cody and Mark Twain all stayed at the Hotel Julien as did mobster Al Capone (reportedly whenever it got “hot” in Chicago.) The Al Capone Suite provides panoramic views of the Mississippi River.
FOR THE BIKING ENTHUSIAST
The bike-friendly Hotel Pattee is located just off the Raccoon River Valley Trail in Perry and will soon be connected via bike trail to the High Trestle Trail bridge. Bikers can take advantage of complimentary secure bicycle storage inside and a bike repair station and tire pump outside. Each of the 40 individually decorated and themed guest rooms preserve history and pay tribute to Iowans. The RAGBRAI/BRR (Bike Ride to Rippey) room features headboards made to look like giant bicycle tires and bedspreads marked like highways.
The Blackhawk Hotel
The Blackhawk Hotel occupies one of the oldest continuously operating hotel sites in the country. It opened in 1853 as a wooden frame “stagecoach” hotel called the Winslow House. In the late 1870s it was destroyed by fire and replaced with the four-story Blackhawk Hotel that still stands today in downtown Cedar Falls. The Cedar Valley boasts 100+ miles of recreational trails structured in a series of loops. Several are accessible from the downtown area. Riders can choose multiple options ranging from a one-mile stroll around the lake to a 50-mile cruise around the Cedar Valley.
FOR SMALL-TOWN CHARM
Located just off the Public Square in Greenfield, the Hotel Greenfield features a courtyard patio and lounge for guests and antique furnishings in every room. Built in 1919, the hotel was renovated in 2010 for modern guests. The hotel is steps away from the Warren Cultural Center, shops and cafes and a short drive from the Henry A. Wallace Country Life Center and the Bridges of Madison County.
The grand opening of the Hotel Ottumwa was celebrated in the Grand Ballroom in 1917. The restored 61-room property in downtown Ottumwa is just a short walk to Main Street shops and restaurants.
FOR THE ART & ARCHITECTURE AFICIONADO
Historic Park Inn Hotel
Frank Lloyd Wright designed six hotels in his lifetime. Only one remains – the Historic Park Inn Hotel. Prominent Mason City business leaders commissioned the famed architect to design the hotel as well as the City National Bank and law offices next door. A $20 million renovation turned the buildings into a four-star boutique hotel with 27 guest rooms, including the Historic Suite with an original claw footed tub.
The Current Iowa
Billed as “less of an art museum, more of an art experience,” The Current Iowa opened in 2017. The Marriott Autograph Collection property in Davenport features more than 500 pieces of Midwest-generated art. Pieces produced by Hot Glass, a local non-profit, are available for purchase. “The River,” a large glass installation that resembles water, hangs from the lobby’s ceiling and rotating art exhibits can be found in the tequila tasting room.
FOR FANS OF UPCYCLING
Sleep in a historic classroom-turned-hotel-room at the Hotel Grinnell, a restored 1921 junior high school, conveniently situated between charming downtown Grinnell and the bustling Grinnell College campus. Guests can choose from a variety of room styles, but each features the building's original wood floors and a vintage chalkboard. Also enjoy the former locker room that's now the hotel bar and restaurant - The Periodic Table - that showcases the school's classic scoreboard.
Courtyard by Marriott at Tech Works
A former John Deere Waterloo manufacturing building on the Tech Works campus was transformed into a 166-room Courtyard by Marriott. The original manufacturing floors were raised so guests could enjoy panoramic river views out the large, restored factory windows. Historic features like pillars and interior brickwork were maintained.
FOR THE HISTORY BUFF
At 11 stories tall when completed in 1919, the Hotel Savery in Des Moines was Iowa's first skyscraper. Each of its 300 rooms included an individual bathroom, a rare luxury at the time. During World War II, the hotel served as the induction center, barracks, mess hall and classrooms for the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps. A massive $35 million renovation started in August 2016 and was completed in January 2019.
A fixture on Decorah’s main street since 1905, the Hotel Winneshiek boasts a three-story lobby that opens to a skylight, antique furnishings, exquisite millwork and an elegant cherry grand staircase. The adjacent historic Opera House, dating back to 1870, retains its original tin walls and ceiling, beautiful mezzanine level and dramatic stage.
The Warrior Hotel
This revamped art deco style hotel in Sioux City melds Midwest moxy with a modern hotel experience. The Warrior Hotel was built during the Gilded Age of the 1930s. Restoration efforts referenced historical photos and a local historian's account of the hotel to restore the building to all its former glory. Opening in the fall of 2020, it's the first hotel associated with Marriott Hotel's Autograph Collection and features a ballroom, six-lane bowling alley with a club-like atmosphere, a spa and roof-top bar.