The Downtown Hotel Boom

Believe it or not, we were once a one hotel district and if you weren’t quick enough to book your stay, you found yourself on the outskirts of all the action. At the time, the only property available was the Sheraton (now Graduate Iowa City) and a response to that demand was first given in 2005 with the addition of hotelVetro. Downtown has became more dense and walkable each year, constantly drawing more workers and visitors to the area. Which has created another round of demand to stay close to all things work, live and play downtown. Enter the Hilton Garden Inn (2017), Hyatt Place (2018), Hotel Chauncey (2019) and The Element (2020). Now that the dust has settled and the construction cranes put away (for now), it was time to recognize all the great places to stay Downtown.

Geared towards wellness and sustainability this extended stay also features a concept called ‘Studio Commons’. The first of its kind in the industry to blend a hotel room with a home rental, providing a flexible design for groups looking to spend time together in a more private setting, while still enjoying all the comforts of a hotel room.

With scenic views of historic Downtown Iowa City and the University of Iowa this property opening in 2019 is geared toward those that like to stay awhile. Each room is equipped with a full kitchen with cutlery & utensils. Inside the same building is a cinema (Filmscene), a bowling alley restaurant (404 Social) and a coffee shop (Fix!). Hotel Chauncey gets its name from Chauncey Swan who helped settled the site of Iowa City in 1839.

This hotel offers modern aesthetics and a warm communal atmosphere in the lobby. Each room comes standard with a ‘Cozy Corner’ sectional with dedicated spaces to work, sleep and play. Stays come with a complimentary Breakfast.

Home to Iowa City’s 12th story rooftop restaurant (The Vue) and the only saltwater hotel pool, the Hilton Garden Inn is perfectly situated for your visit. The property is the closest hotel to the University of Iowa campus and looks right across the street to the stately appointed Voxman music building.

Floor to ceiling views overlooking Downtown Iowa City coupled with sleek, modern accommodations, hotelVetro has an abundance of perks. Housed inside the Plaza Tower, hotelVetro guests receive complimentary access to a full service gym, can walk to the grocery store/deli (Bread Market Garden) as well as the Japanese restaurant (Formosa) without ever walking outside.

Part of a well curated collection of hotels that set up shop in the most dynamic University Towns across the country, Graduate properties wink and nod at the heritage and history of each unique locale in which they operate. Iowa City is no exception. There is a lot to take in, see if you can catch all the Iowa references. Be on the lookout for Gene Wilder, Crunch Berries, Field of Dreams, City of Literature; as well as the state bird, the Goldfinch.

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Through a collaboration with Think Iowa City, Iowa City Area Development Group, Iowa City Area Business Partnership and the Iowa City Downtown District, we're providing continued updates and resources for COVID-19 related information.

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