Recently on a hosted trip, I visited the beautiful Hilton Garden Hotel Inn in Iowa City, Iowa. Along with four other travel bloggers, Travels with Sara, Between England & Iowa, Simplify Live Love, and Meemaw Eats we were able to explore this wonderful place.
Sara Broers (Travels with Sara) is a co-founder of the Midwest Travel Bloggers. She arranged this trip and along with Sara, we were invited to check out this brand new Kinseth Property and on our visit, we had the honor of meeting up with Greg Kinseth of the Kinseth family. It was interesting to hear how Kinseth Hospitality Companies started as a vision of Kenneth Kinseth. A successful businessman, he developed several hotels, apartment housing and golf courses. In the mid to late 50’s Kenneth along with his wife Cyrena went into the hotel business. Their first hotel property was the Deluxe Motel located in Decorah, Iowa. In 1963 they added a restaurant and the hotel name changed to Cliff House. The family has went on to expand over the years offering quality hospitality at their many properties.
The new Hilton Garden Inn hotel has a contemporaryary vibe with a lot of warmth. There are many modern aspects but most of all for me was the clean beauty and wonderful service.
The rooms were comfortable and set up perfectly for someone on business with a great desk and work area. Fellow travel writer Patty commented on the quality of the linens.
My favorite aspect of the hotel is the amazing rooftop restaurant the Vue. There is a great view at the Vue (are you laughing at my pun?) in every direction. Outside there is a very cool rooftop area with a cozy fire that is enjoyable even on a cool eve.
We dined at the Vue and the food was amazing, the lights are the coolest I’ve seen. I had scallops and shared a cream corn dish with Patty that was quite tasty! We also tried a variety of appetizers among us and enjoyed learning about this new place to dine and stay. After our meal, Patty who is from Iowa City took us to the Clinton Street Social Club a neat 2nd story retro bar and diner. Sara and I shared a donut like dessert that we couldn’t pronounce, but we managed to eat just fine.
Breakfast was off the lobby at the Garden Grille restaurant where I had a made to order omelet cooked just for me!
We had a tour of the hotel which boasts 2,700 square feet of meeting space, again decorated with amazing lights and stone. This same space would also make great receptions and conference areas. Visitors can also enjoy the fitness room and the heated pool. Off the second floor is access to the parking garage which was nice and handy since the temperatures were a bit cool. When I checked out, I didn’t have to fight the elements to get to my car.
The 12-floor Hilton is set in the heart of the University of Iowa, making the city a vibrant place filled with students, medical advances and all types of cultural attractions. Being a history buff Iloved that we were close by to the Old Capital Museum which was the third capital in Iowa. Built in. 1842 the Capital is quite lovely and I was astonished to find that the architect that built the Capital here is the same one that built the Old State Capital in downtown Springfield, Illinois. The young woman that greeted us had worked in Springfield this past summer at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and knew my sister, such a small world!
We toured this beautiful building and also walked the pedestrian mall. Downtown we saw several literary quotes and artwork on benches and cool public art, one is an open book Treasure Island. We stopped in a bookstore that we could have stayed in all day. This city is called The City of Literature and is recognized as a UNESCO heritage site.
While that reflects some of the history we also saw the innovative and entrepreneurial side of the city with a tour of MERGE, a place where you can rent space for the day, or for a piece of time.
Offices are filled and some of these budding businesses are taking off with great success stories. We spied an amazing man who has a 3-D print business making items as intricate as medical devices used in spine surgery.
I love diners with a story. Lunch was at the Hamburg Inn, an iconic restaurant where many presidents have met. The Inn opened in 1930 originally. The Inn besides being famous for a political meeting place offers up a pie milkshake. I would have loved to try either the shake or piece of chocolate pecan bourbon pie, but after eating chili and half a tuna melt there was no room. Two of the group tried a cherry version of the apple pie milkshake and thought it quite tasty.
Our last stop was at the University of Iowa athletic Hall of Fame where we saw some famous athletes from the past, fun mascots and played some interactive basketball. I talked to three young women, two softball players and one on the rowing team. I loved the interaction of this trip with students, Hilton Garden staff and best of all some wonderful bloggers that before I only knew through Facebook connections.
If heading to this fun city to play tourists or for a business meeting, stay at the Hilton Garden Inn, eat at the Vue and stop at the many places we went to, it is a great time! Located at 328 S Clinton St, Iowa City, IA 52240 call (319) 248-6100 for details!