A boutique hotel is a small hotel which typically has between 10 and 100 rooms in settings with upscale accommodations and individualized unique selling points.
They are a delightful option for travelers who are not necessarily comfortable with the intimacy of bed and breakfast
inns but want more personality than often is offered in your typical chain hotel. Hotel Grinnell in Grinnell, Iowa is an elegant boutique hotel where old school tradition merges with new school attitude.
Located about 50 miles east of Des Moines, Grinnell is a quaint community of fewer than 10,000 people about 10
miles off of I-80. That population gets a boost from the 1500 students at Grinnell College, a private liberal arts school nestled in the community. A popular Iowa college town offers visitors a peaceful, quiet visit with interesting things to do.
Grinnell is home to Grinnell College, which adds to the comfortable and inviting feel of this city. It is a place where visitors can walk the streets, shop,eat and enjoy the friendly, laid back atmosphere. Grinnell is known as the Jewel of the Prairie, as it is loaded with some of Iowa’s best independent restaurants and unique shops. It has been
named as one of the Top Ten Coolest Small Towns in America by travel journalists.
In 1921, a junior high school was built that served its purpose well for nearly 50 years. Not wanting
to see the building go to waste, the city of Grinnell took over the property and repurposed the building into office space.
Angela Harrington, an energetic woman who self-identifies as a serial entrepreneur, saw both the potential in
building and the need in the community.Her first order of business was to establish an events center that could support weddings, conferences and conventions in the city and that directive resulted in the development of Hotel Grinnell.
For 30 years, the building was rarely used, resulting in deterioration. Harrington saw the building as a diamond
in the rough and had a vision of turning it into a luxury hotel – something she believed Grinnell deserved. She felt that Grinnell had all of the trappings of a big city and a luxury hotel would fit right in.
As you can imagine, the road to making the property what you see today was quite rocky. According to Harrington, it took 8 years to secure financing, 1 year to obtain tax credits and another year for construction. During those 10 years, never once did she think about giving up. She is a tenacious woman who, once she sets her mind to something, simply never gives up.
With the help of the Grinnell community and Iowa state government leaders, Harrington found solutions to all the problems she encountered along the way,something she does not think would have been possible in other states or big cities. She felt that it was easier to make connections in Iowa, get to know city council members and the city managers. As a result, she was able to make a difference and be impactful more quickly.
Harrington did figure it out, in a big way!
Hotel Grinnell melds its literal old school history with innovative designs and amenities for today’s contemporary traveler. There are intentional nods to the building’s old school days in every room.
These details include hotel registration forms printed on notebook paper, red wooden apples, and
guest rooms with chalkboards. The hotel’s on-site bar and patio is named The Periodic Table, the ballroom
floor mirrors a basketball court and some furniture is made from old lockers.
In addition to the scholastic past, Harrington wanted the hotel to be sexy. Staying with the theme, men’s neckties are used as “do not disturb” signs and guests receive room key card sleeves that resemble
Harrington hopes to replicate the success of Hotel Grinnell in 3-5 other cities with Grinnell, Iowa
providing the blueprint for success.
To learn more about Hotel Grinnell and to makereservations, visit www.hotelgrinnell.com.