Hotel Grinnell Iowa Review: A Cool Stay In A Converted High School | USA

Last Updated on August 6, 2022

The Hotel Grinnell in Grinnell Iowa, is located in what was a former junior high school building that dates back to 1921.  The school was in operation until the late 1970’s. It has now been transformed into a modern hotel with 43 bedrooms and suites, a restaurant and bar, a ballroom and a theatre!

Disclosure: I was invited to stay at the Hotel Grinnell in Iowa and received a complimentary stay and dinner.  As always, opinions are 100% my own! This post contains affiliate links, for more information visit my Privacy & Disclosure Policy.

Hotel Grinnell IA

Hotels in Grinnell Iowa

Hotel Grinnell Iowa

Signature Suite

The guest rooms at the Hotel Grinnell are in what used to be the old classrooms in the school!  Keeping in line with the history of the building, you’ll find several school themed ‘touches’ that appear within the rooms.  The windows were restored to the original design and are massive, letting in so much light!

Starting right at the door, the traditional ‘do not disturb’ door handle cards are replaced with ‘Not Now’ ties!  Each room has a chalk board on the wall, complete with a board eraser and a couple of pieces of chalk.  Of course I had to have a go!  It’s been years since I’ve played with a chalk board!

One of my guilty pleasures when I stay in hotels is that I always hunt down and read the in room information packs.  At the Hotel Grinnell, the in-room guide is in the style of an American school notebook. The hotel feedback form is a report card and instead of a pen, there’s a #2 pencil!

The in-room guide is definitely worth having a flick through. Not only does it give you all the usual information that you’d expect, but it tells you interesting facts about the hotel and gives a list of all the amenities that are complimentary or available to borrow or purchase!  There’s a huge list!

Hotel Grinnell Guide

Related ReadingThe Differences Between UK and USA Schools

Room Amenities

My room had a basket of snacks and goodies that could be purchased.  Rather than bottles of drinking water, they have ‘boxed’ water. Yay for cutting down single use plastic. I filled up my own reusable bottle for free in the workout room. I loved the way that they included an adult colouring book, it’s a good way to relax and unwind.

Hotel Grinnell Eco Boxed Water
Coffee Maker

Another cool amenity in the room is the coffee maker.  Yes coffee machines are nothing unusual but the coffee makers at the Hotel Grinnell are 2 cup machines!  Coming from Europe, hotel rooms tend to have kettles and instant coffee so it’s easy to make multiple cups at once.  In the USA, hotels seem to only provide single cup machines. They take forever if several people staying all want a drink! OR you get a giant coffee pot where you then have to make like 4 cups in one go, not practical for a solo traveller! So I liked the 1 or 2 cup option on the coffee maker.

Hotel Grinnell Suite

The Signature Suite has a bedroom and a separate living room area, which has a second fold out bed.  The king bed in the main bedroom is like sleeping on a cloud though. It has a pillow topped mattress and 2 choices of pillow softness to choose from.

Beside the bed are 2 USB charging ports and a socket on EACH side, which is awesome.  I really like being able to just travel with leads, rather than the plugs too!

Hotel Grinnell
Unique Artwork

Each room has unique pieces of artwork, no two pieces are the same.  So you can imagine my absolute joy when I discovered I had a giant painting of a Volkswagen bus above the bed!  I’m obsessed with them and purely by coincidence the only hoodie I’d packed was my VW camper one!

Chester Travel Minima Suitcase

I was in room 112, on the ground floor, right next to the entrance and my suite had a dual rain head shower which was AMAZING.  The Hotel Grinnell is making an effort to be eco conscious. The shampoo and conditioner are in refillable dispensers to save on waste. However shower gel and body lotion are still in the typical personal sized bottles.

Hotel Grinnell Dual Shower

The suite I was in had yoga mats in the room, ready to use. Otherwise you can request them from the front desk, They even have room service by text.  There are thousands of yoga sessions on YouTube, I just set up my laptop and followed one of those.  The high speed WiFi meant I had no problems streaming videos online!

Other Amenities at the Hotel Grinnell


There is a small workout room on-site with: weights, an exercise ball, an exercise bike, rowing machine, an elliptical and a treadmill.  I loved the treadmill. I’ve used ones with TVs and games on the screen before but this one had live videos. This made it look like you were going for a hike in various different locations!  Very cool!  If you’re in need of more equipment, you can get free access to one of the larger gyms in Grinnell.

Hotel Grinnell Gym

Treatment Room

Next to the gym is a treatment room where you can schedule a massage.  They recommended ‘Massage by Kelsey’ to me.  I scheduled an appointment but decided to check out her location in town, rather than use the hotel’s room.  I was very impressed with the treatment I received, the hot towels were lovely!

Bikes Rental

Hotel Grinnell has free bikes that you are able to use whenever you wish!  They are really nice cruiser bikes with a large seat (no sore bums!) and gears!  A few of them have padlocks but it is first come first served.  If you require a helmet, you’ll need to bring your own.

Hotel Grinnell Bike Rental

Swimming Pool Pass (Seasonal)

During the summer months, guests at the Hotel Grinnell can get free passes to the Grinnell Mutual Family Aquatic Center. Passes are available from the front desk. The pool is a mile from the hotel (so you could cycle there!). It’s really nice, and most importantly, the water is WARM!

The Periodic Table Bar & Restaurant

Hotel Grinnell Iowa The Periodic Table

I really liked the decor of The Periodic Table!  As I was travelling alone, I didn’t have anyone to play the giant Scrabble with but it didn’t stop me from having a little go of it!  There are various other board games that you can borrow too and there’s even a shuffle board table.

On the wall is the school’s old gymnasium score board that still lights up!  There’s also a large patio area with fire pits and bean bag games. You can borrow blankets from the front desk.

The Periodic Table has some really interesting combinations for cocktails. The majority are listed as ‘mocktails’ and then you have the option to ‘boozify’ it with your choice of alcohol.  I opted for the ‘Bee Garden’ of the few that wasn’t on the mocktail list, as I thought it sounded interesting (ingredients such as creme de violette, honey and rosemary…I asked for it with minus the egg whites!)

Hotel Grinnell Cocktails

The food menu isn’t huge, more appetisers and lighter bites.  I had the ‘Breakfast Flat’ which was a personal sized pizza with tomato, bacon and a fried egg. I don’t eat cheese so I had it without the mozzarella. Strangely enough I really like cheese-less pizzas, even though they are hard to eat as all the toppings tend to fall off! And for dessert I had a creme brûlée!


On weekdays a light complimentary breakfast is available at The Periodic Table for hotel guests.  There were a choice of:

  • pastries
  • strawberry or vanilla yogurt
  • a hot plate with mini quiche
  • cereal
  • coffee
  • cartons of orange juice and chocolate milk.
Hotel Grinnell Breakfast

Conferences & Events

Hotel Grinnell is a really popular wedding venue!  The old school auditorium is now a 400 capacity theatre. The old gymnasium acts as the ballroom and the locker rooms are now 2 bunk rooms!

Hotel Grinnell Theatre

The bunk rooms sleep 10 people in each one and I think they’d be a really fun place to stay with family and friends after a wedding or party!  The bunk beds have all the same great quality bedding as the other rooms, so there’s no sacrificing comfort and each bed has its own light and power outlet!


Hotel Grinnell

I was very impressed with the Hotel Grinnell.  The accommodation was spotless and all the staff were so friendly and helpful.  I loved all the little touches and the connections to the building’s previous life, yet it’s still very modern at the same time.  For example, all the wooden floors are original but at the same time there’s a modern system that pipes fresh air into the hotel from outside to help guests sleep better!  It’s great that local companies were sourced during the renovation process.  For those that like to travel with pets, dogs are allowed in rooms on the upper floors.

Hotel Grinnell Iowa

Hotel Grinnell Iowa Location

925 Park St, Grinnell, IA 50112, United States

Grinnell is located, just north of the I-80, an hour from Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Des Moines. There’s plenty of free parking on the streets around Hotel Grinnell! You may find this post useful if you are looking for things to do in the area: 10 Top Things To Do In Grinnell Iowa | USA

Book A Stay At The Hotel Grinnell

Related Reading: 8 Unique Places To Stay In Iowa USA This Year!

Kylie Signature

Inspired to stay at the Hotel Grinnell in Iowa? Pin It For Later!

Hotel Grinnell Iowa

17 thoughts on “Hotel Grinnell Iowa Review: A Cool Stay In A Converted High School | USA

      1. I loved that they incorporated the “school” theme in decorating and materials. Really loved the “Hall Pass” key holder – the planners of this project really got it right.

    1. I saw a couple of other kids while I was staying there! Depending on their ages, they’d love the board games that you can borrow! The bikes were only adult sized though if that is something you’d be interested in 🙂

Leave a Reply