The Hilton Garden Inn is a brand new hotel (opened in October 2017) located in Downtown Iowa City, just 1 mile from the Iowa Hawkeyes football stadium (which has recently made the news thanks to the new tradition ‘The Wave’, where the whole stadium waves to the children overlooking the game in the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital). With a room rate starting at $124 per night, it definitely makes for an affordable central stay, has some great amenities and is within walking distance from things to visit such as the Ped Mall and the Old Iowa Capital Building!
Disclosure: Thank you to Kinseth Hospitality and the Hilton Garden Inn for hosting my stay in Iowa City. As always, opinions are 100% my own.
My Favourite Amenities at the Hilton Garden Inn Iowa City
The Hilton Garden Inn FEELS different to other hotels. I love the decor, it just feels like every single aspect has been thought about rather than just an exact replica of a hotel in another location. For example, the Hilton Garden Inn in Iowa City is one of only a couple to have that exact bedroom style.
The great thing about staying in a newly built hotel, is that they are accommodating (literally) the changing needs of guests. The rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn have more than enough power outlets ALL AROUND THE ROOM for several guests to plug in all at once. There’s nothing worse than having to move desks out of the way, unplug lamps, take a power strip (not light packing friendly!) or even have to make a ‘charging schedule’ so everyone has plug access. Both sides of the bed have 2 USB outlets AND 2 plug sockets each, with further plug sockets near the desk and in random places around the walls. Even the seating area in the lobby have plug sockets BUILT IN to the sofas!
The WiFi is complimentary and fast. Being an expat, even when I’m away/working, I always FaceTime home and in some hotels the connection is so poor when it comes to video, it makes holding a conversation impossible. Not in the Hilton Garden Inn, it was perfect.
Another aspect of the room I liked was the mini moveable coffee table that meant I could also comfortably work from the sofa, rather than having to sit at the desk. I could have spread out with my legs up on the sofa and still have my laptop over my lap in a way that meant I wasn’t twisted in a weird way or having to lean down over a low table.
The lighting in the rooms is quite dark, as you can see in the photo below. There are no main ceiling lights, it’s lit mainly by various lamps. I do like the way though that if you were travelling with someone else and one person wanted to sleep and the other wanted to read, the reading lights by the bed are the perfect brightness to not make your room mate feel as if they are sleeping on the sun.
My room was located on the 10th floor, overlooking E Court Street and I had a great view which featured Johnson County Courthouse and it caught both the sunrise and the sunset quite well!
Speaking of views, the Hilton Garden Inn has the ONLY rooftop bar and restaurant in Iowa City! The Vue Rooftop offers views across Iowa City in 3 different directions, perfect for observation deck fans (or plane spotters as you can see the Iowa City Municipal Airport too)! I personally love the outdoor area and fire pit! The food is very reasonably priced and the combination of flavours on the menu and the presentation of the dishes feel like something that would be served at a high end restaurant. For the craft beer fan, all the beers on tap are from local breweries, coming from places such as; Iowa City, Amana AND Cedar Rapids.
Breakfast comes with a surcharge but there are several different pricing options:
- Cold buffet $8.95 – cereals, yogurt, fresh fruit, pastries and breads, hot oatmeal, waffles.
- Hot buffet $10.95 – everything available from the cold buffet, plus scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon and potatoes.
- Cooked to order $12.95 – both the hot and cold buffet, plus eggs ‘your way’, omelette with a range of toppings (I had bacon and mushroom!), pancakes and/or french toast. Juices, teas and coffee are all self service.
Something I always look for in a hotel is if it has a gym and/or a swimming pool. The Hilton Garden Inn has both! The gym is open 24hrs and has a range of machines (and people were using it at both 11pm at night and 6am in the morning!) and the pool is open between 5am – 11pm, with ‘adult only’ swim times for the first and last hour of the day.
A question I was asked several times was ‘how cold was the water’. My answer – a little chilly at first but then it was perfect. The room was warm which may have made it feel colder. The hot tub was hot…very hot. It was nice to have a bathroom poolside too and not half way down the hallway, I sometimes feel awkward walking around a fancy hotel in wet swim gear, it was nice to have somewhere private and close by to change!
A big concern when visiting a city, is the parking situation. Along the front and side of the Hilton Garden Inn there is free 10 minute parking so you can get yourself checked in (and eat a free cookie…). The reception will then give you a map on how to find the entrance of the multi-storey car park. On the 2ND LEVEL of the car park, there is a sky bridge which will then put you onto the 2nd floor of the hotel (the conference room floor). Parking for hotel guests is $14.
Next to reception is a snack shop selling funnily enough, snacks, along with Iowa gifts and forgotten toiletries. In the rooms there is a Keurig Coffee Maker which comes with complimentary 2x Morning Blend Coffee, 1x Morning Blend Decaf and 1x English Breakfast Tea. I thought it was good that if you want different flavours, other K-Cups can be purchased from the snack shop!
During my visit, my group were spoilt and had the use of the hotel’s shuttle bus for the majority of the afternoon. But it is in fact a service that guests can enjoy too! The Hilton Garden can provide a shuttle service to places within a 5 mile radius of the hotel!
So if you’re looking for hotels near Kinnick Stadium, the Hilton Garden Inn Iowa City should definitely make it onto your list!