The Graduate Hotel in Iowa City, Iowa is the perfect place to stay right in the Ped Mall close to shops and restaurants.
If you’ve been following along with my Boutique Hotel Series, you know that I am a huge fan of the Graduate Hotel chain.
This Spring Graduate Hotels appeared in four episodes of Handcrafted Hotels, on Magnolia Network. You can follow along with their in-house design team and local artisans as they bring the Graduate vision to life! I can’t wait to watch!!
(Affiliate links are used for your convenience. Read my full disclosure here.)
SEE THE OTHER POSTS IN MY BOUTIQUE HOTEL SERIES
- The Graduate- Evanston, Illinois
- The Vault- Houghton, Michigan
- The Hewing- Minneapolis, Minnesota
- The Lodge Kohler- Green Bay, Wisconsin
I was so excited to check another Graduate Hotel location off my bucket list this past Fall, The Graduate in Iowa City, Iowa.
Check out the exterior of the hotel with the black and gold colors of the Iowa Hawkeyes. Their mascot, Herky, welcomes you to the front entrance.
My oldest daughter was a student at The University of Iowa, she just graduated in May. Back in the Fall my other daughter and I went down to visit her and have a little girls weekend. Even though her apartment was just around the corner, I booked a night at The Graduate for a special night of hanging out together.
Iowa City is such a fun location to visit, whether you are there for a University of Iowa Hawkeye sporting event or just looking for a new place to explore.
I went to college just north of Iowa City at Coe College in Cedar Rapids and then lived in Cedar Rapids and Swisher for several years after graduating. We would spend time in Iowa City enjoy the bars and restaurants and great little shops in what is known as the Ped Mall (Pedestrian Mall) on campus.
For my time with my daughters, we enjoyed walking around taking in the sights. I’m always looking for inspiration everywhere I go and loved this outdoor seating area with the planters full of mums, picnic and bistro tables and string lights. This would be an easy area to recreate in a backyard.
We had a delicious dinner at Pullman Bar and Diner.
A stop at Insomnia Cookies was a must. My daughter said that they often have a discount if you come in your p.js.! It was easy to see why this was a popular stop for college kids at all hours of the night!
For breakfast the next morning we had a delicious meal to start the day at The Dandy Lion.
Just revisiting these photos and writing about the trip, I can’t wait to go back down again!
Each Graduate Hotel takes inspiration from the college campus it sits on and the local area. Part of the fun of visiting these hotels is exploring and finding all the unique ways they incorporate these stories into the decor.
The Graduate, Iowa City is centered around the rich writing history of The Iowa Writers Project.
I love how they decorated with backwards books behind the checkin desk.
One of the things they do at every Graduate is make student ID cards of famous alumni for the room keys.
The writing theme continues at the valet desk made out of an old card catalog. It’s inspiring to see creative ways to use antique pieces. Research craftspeople or carpenters around your town or area that may be able to help you repurpose some of your unique finds. If you feel handy yourself, head to YouTube and get tips for doing projects yourself.
As an avid reader and a writer, I feel right at home in this hotel.
Want to get daily encouragement? SUBSCRIBE HERE so you don’t miss any posts!
The walls all around the lobby are covered in excerpts from
Most Graduate Hotels have large gathering tables where guests and students from campus sit to study and work. Graduate lobbies are open to students, wanting to be part of the campus experience. I love hanging out in beautiful hotel lobbies and I love the great energy all the people working gives to me, like being in a coffee shop or library.
The mixes of fabrics and patterns around Graduate Hotels are always amazing. I love the bright blue carpet, the stripped seating and the botanical print on the light shades.
The library lights around this seating area are the perfect touch.
I stayed in this hotel a few times “back in the day” before it became The Graduate so it’s fun to see how it’s been restyled.
Great hotel lobbies always have a variety of seating options for either quiet reading spots, couples or for group gatherings. Notice the mix of textures among this mid century modern furniture here with the woven rocker and the corduroy sofa.
The details are what makes The Graduates so special.
They even think of the elevators adding in beautiful plaid carpet.
When you get off the elevator, your feet step right onto another plaid carpet, this one in Hawkeye colors or black and gold.
The Graduate doesn’t leave out Iowa’s ties to farming with the unique wallpaper down the guest room hallways.
More odes to The Iowa Hawkeyes can be found in the lobby on this long couch.
How fun would it be to be on the team deciding how to decorate The different Graduates. I can just hear the creative designers, “What if we…” “How about if we…”
Another great plaid shows up on this lobby chair. My favorite color is plaid!
The guest rooms are beautifully appointed and full of interesting elements just like the rest of the hotel playing into the history of the State of Iowa and The University.
Did you ever watch the movie, Field of Dreams? “Is this Heaven?” “No, It’s Iowa.” The bedrooms have wallpaper that looks like baseball seam stitching.
And Field of Dreams artwork hangs above the writing desk.
Iowa’s state bird is the and shows up in the bathroom wallpaper . I love that they aren’t afraid to mix patterns, use bold colors and take risks in design at The Graduate.
One of the best traditions at Iowa Hawkeye football games is when the fans wave at the Children’s Hospital patients at the end of the first quarter. They intentionally built the hospital so they could watch the games and started the tradition in 2017. Above the toilet is a sketch of the wave.
The mirror is in the shape of a capital letter i.
Mixed in with the vintage style of some pieces like this pink lamp are conveniences like outlets and charging plugins.
On their website they say, “rooms to write home about” pulling in the writing theme. And the rooms are just that!
We stayed in one of the Family Suites that has two rooms, one with a couch, bunk bed and games.
A few other perks at The Graduate Iowa City:
- Pet Friendly
- Complementary Bike Rentals
- Workout in The Gym
- Loaner Headphones
Coffee shops are my jam. I love visiting different ones and frequenting my favorites. There were so many fun elements to Poindexters. They have breakfast eats and pastries.
They have a wall covered in over 180,000 No. 2 pencils. It’s a tribute to the Iowa Writer’s Workshop.
After college I was an elementary school teacher and participated in the IWP one Summer. Learn more about this amazing program HERE.
I’m really excited! You can now preorder theGraduate Hotel coffee table book which releases in October!
Be sure to add Graduate Iowa City and a trip to Iowa City to your bucket list!