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“Well, not really anywhere else to stay”
Review of Iowa House Hotel

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Iowa House Hotel
Ranked #7 of 7 Hotels in Iowa City
Reviewed 1 April 2012

Was here for a conference. Sort of a cross between a dorm and a prison. Very spartan and I wasn't so sure about the bathroom (really new for the 50s). Breakfast provided but, ahem, rubbery bagels not exactly my cup of tea. That said the location almost makes up for it. Right in the middle of campus and beside the river and the green. Really quite beautiful and after all what can you expect from a campus hotel?

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled on business
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Thank Pablo B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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89 - 95 of 104 reviews

Reviewed 22 February 2012

If you’d like to stay right on the university campus this is the place to be. We came to visit the college with our senior and we were there for the Hawkeye Day visit (which was run extremely well!). The Hotel has refurbished some of the rooms but not all of them, so if you want to save a little money, stay in the older rooms, which aren’t fixed up as nicely. They are the same rooms – just not updated – and very plain. What the problem is, is that you are dealing with a building that was most likely built in the late 50’s and hence the bathrooms being small, the one single window, the lobby being rather simple.

The cheaper rooms could be updated without too much of an expense by adding curtains (at least – not just mini blinds) and nicer bedspreads. It’s pretty basic and the walls are very thinly constructed – we could hear the people next door talking word/word. Temperature of room could not be controlled individually yet it wasn’t too hot or too cold. A continental breakfast is included but it’s on the 2nd floor – not in the River Café (which is what they should give you for staying there). That way they could eliminate the need for using up a small very bare/simple room for the included continental breakfast. Another thought is that they could at least give you a discount voucher so you can use the River Café. However, parking is free and they have Redbox in the lobby and blueray players in the room.

You can walk to the downtown easily – classrooms – across the river and along it for a nice stroll. The Hotel is within the union and the union is not large compared to most University campus unions – not even a bookstore in it! The newer parts are very nice – and the older section (ballroom) is impressive. It’s a pretty clean place and there is a very small Starbucks inside it, but it’s not open very early though. The workout facility is across the street and you get a free voucher to use it.

The newer rooms run $120 and if you can swing it may be worth it. It’s hard to say! We paid $85 for our room, free wi-fi and no tax!

Room Tip: pay a little more and get the nicer room!
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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Thank twins5300
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 October 2011

My experience was definitely not as bad as the other posters here, but overall, I agree the main reason to stay at the Iowa House is for the location. As a Univ. of Iowa alum, you can't beat staying in the student union, which is near the center of campus, very close to Downtown Iowa City, and a 20-min walk to Kinnick Stadium.

Price: I paid $179 for a one-night stay on a football weekend. That's just the way it is during a football weekend or big university event like graduation or orientation. It's no different than what you'd pay in Madison WI or Lincoln NE.

Room: My room was certainly not as bad as other people have posted. The sheets and bed were in generally good condition. The shower and sink had plenty of hot water, and the towels were in okay condition (not amazing quality, but no holes or stains).

Heat: My main complaint in the room was the inability to control the temperature of the room. There was a radiator in the room that had low/med/hi settings, but no ability to control how hot the air flow was. At one point, the room got hot and I opened the window to cool the room down.

Breakfast: Included was a small continental breakfast. This was nothing more than bagels, toast, cereal, yogurt and pre-packaged muffins, but then again, I wasn't expecting much! (If you're looking for a good breakfast, check out the Hamburg Inn on N Linn Street. Good stuff).

Overall, the accomodations are nothing special. But, if you're in town for a university event or a football game, I recommend the Iowa House. If you're coming for business, or some other reason that doesn't require walking distance to campus or Iowa City bars/restaurants, then you can stay elsewhere.

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled with friends
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1  Thank skaps21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 October 2011

The small continental breakfast is not well published. As an alum, it is so nice to have a central place to park and tour. Free parking too. Always nicely maintained. Great to just leave the car parked.

Room Tip: Ask for Riverview !
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  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled with friends
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2  Thank jacjsc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 September 2011

I don't even know where to begin. I stayed there for a wedding weekend in late September of 2011. I booked 3 rooms at $120 each! You have got to be kidding with that price. I understand it was a football weekend, but they really charge that much when Iowa is playing Lousiana-Monroe?!?!? Come on! I live in Chicago, so I know a thing or two about pricey hotel stays, and this was a joke. The hotel is obviously a converted dorm. The change to a hotel looks like it was made in the 70s and the place hasn't been touched since. The bedding was old, worn thin, dusty, stained, and smelled like mold. The carpet was also stained and dirty. There isn't much in the room (no fridge)... 2 beds, a small table, a tv (no DVD player although there's a Red Box in the lobby, interesting to say the least), a closet, and a small cramped bathroom. Speaking of the bathroom, I was not able to enjoy a shower all weekend. There was no hot water, and even if there was the shower head was so old that it was litereally spitting water at me. At first I thought that I must have gotten the worst room in the hotel and was about to make someone switch with me since I had gone through the trouble of booking them. Not so lucky. I actually had a decent room compared to the other two I had booked. Not one person I talked to in the rooms immediately surrounding mine had hot water all weekend, and the shower heads were all the same (spitting water). Then there was the ice-maker. At first I thought it would be convenient to have the ice-maker literally outside my door (I could honestly fill a bucket of ice without leaving my room). With no fridge I went to the gas station and paid $5 for a cheap styrofoam cooler. Then I heard the ice-maker about 10 minutes later. My door was closed and tv was on and I swear it sounded like the building was falling down that machine was sooo loud. Not only that, but the walls are so thin that you could literally hear every word out of anyone's mouth who was in the hallway. I could have a conversation with my buddies in the room next to me through the wall. I actually did this in the morning. When I woke up, in a normal voice, I asked my buddy if he was awake and we talked about where to go for breakfast. We were in seperate rooms, but were having a conversation like we were in the same room! I've never experienced anything like it before. Then there is the air quality issue. I honestly don't even think this building is safe to stay in. I work in Construction Management and can honestly say if anyone had breathing issues like we all had when we woke up at iowa House in a building I was working on I would have professional air quality testing done immediately. We all woke up sneezing and completely congested from the stale, moldy air. I am still having issues and I checked out over 24 hours ago. I've been in old buildings, I've been in dirty buildings, I've been in buildings with mold growth, I've been in buildings with flood damage, I've been in buildings with fire damage, I've seen it all, I've managed build-outs and clean-ups of the worst situations, and I've managed the construction of ground-up new facilities. I know what I am talking about. This was one of the worst functioning buildings I've ever walked into in my life. From the mechanicals to the decor, this place is old, dirty, run-down, unsafe, and far over-priced. The only thing that it has going for it is it's close proximity to campus.

They also had the stones to charge my credit card an extra $15 a night for "incidentals". After a phone call this morning they've since reversed those additional charges, but just the fact that they had even would consider it is beyond insane.

Put another way: if I ever have to come back to Iowa City and the Iowa House is the only hotel with vacancy I will be sleeping in my car.

Room Tip: Stay anywhere but the Iowa House.
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  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled with friends
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3  Thank Tim H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 July 2011

Booked two rooms to accommodate our family during student orientation. The only reason...THE ONLY REASON...you should book into this hotel is if you want to be on campus (Iowa House Hotel is located in the U of I Student Union). This location was desirable as we were there to participate in Student/Parent Orientation. Orientation activities ended both late in the evening and back at the Student Union...so it was very convenient for my incoming Freshman and all programs for adults were in the Union so it was convenient for us.

We paid $95/room which included a cont. breakfast (bagels, yogurt, dried cereals, etc.). This was no bargain, but I suspect the Iowa House knows when families will be looking for rooms and jacks fees accordingly. I saw below someone paid in the $65 range: still no bargain given the condition of the hotel.

The good: frig in room, sheets looked clean, bed was comfortable, microwave/coffee pot in room. Plenty of towels.

Lots of bad: The rooms were plain, spartan, shabby and dirty. The bedspreads were ancient, dusty and stained. Deep stains in carpeting. Deep stains on sides of box springs. Funky smell in elevator. The bathroom was tiny with the towel rack mounted above the toilet (be careful standing up!). Easy chair in room, but no floor lamp. Air conditioner is of 1970's vintage with three settings: low, med, high. High produced a wisp of cool air unequal to the task of cooling the room. Window blinds kind of close but not all the way. No dvd player (but a Redbox in the lobby, go figure), No "On Demand". No room service, no pool, no gym, no spa, no restaurant. Not even any carts in the lobby to help with hauling luggage. Very much like a dorm that has been converted (forty to fifty years ago) into a hotel. For some reason we couldn't get WiFi in hotel. No automatic close on the doors (they stay open when you leave the room).

Service seems to be run by the students themselves. Most were earnest and polite but struggled with check in and check out. Went to front desk to ask directions to a vending machine (at about 9 pm) for a popcorn run. Woman at front desk was coaching someone over the phone about some computer security related issues. Could have been a friend, a co-worker, a second job...who knows? I purposely waited to see how long she would leave me hanging without acknowledgement. Five minutes. Of course, I figure she was a student...but honestly, where's the common sense.

Next morning I called the front desk to asked for late check out. The immediate answer: "no". I decided to argue. "We have two rooms, so clearly there is the potential for late check out in one of them. Your maids will be busy but not in every room." Stumped the guy... but, I got to hand it to him for his adherence to policy, he held his ground. We checked out at eleven.

We now have the lay of the land in Iowa City and on campus and won't be staying here again.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
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4  Thank SmilingWanderer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 June 2011

Other reviewers have given this a pretty fair assessment generally. This is a bit worn around the edges, but keep in mind it is right in the middle of the campus in the Iowa Memorial Union. For the money, it is good value.

The room was clean and decent sized. The bathroom a little small with little counter space. A mirror in the room itself would have made it more practical for two in the room.

It was clean with a large flat-screen TV with cable, free wi-fi, free parking and free continental breakfast. The staff was very friendly and helpful. The setting, on the edge of the Iowa River, is lovely.

Two issues: The room's air conditioning kept it too cold no matter the setting (I finally solved this by putting suitcase on top of wall-mounted vents) and the sign on the front is missing some letters (not a good first impression).

When we were there, there was no food available in the building or nearby except for breakfast and vending machines. Downtown is just a couple short blocks (uphill) away.

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled with friends
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1  Thank dodgema
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Iowa House Hotel

Address: 125 North Madison St., University Of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242
Region: United States > Iowa > Iowa City
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 7 Hotels in Iowa City
Price Range: £75 - £84 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Iowa House Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 97
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Enjoy the convenient location of the Iowa House Hotel,right in the heart of University of Iowa campus on the Iowa River located 2 blocks from downtown Iowa City. Located inside the Iowa Memorial Union the 97 room, the universities self-operated hotel, offers many room styles and amenities to serve your needs during your next visit to Iowa City. Guests of Iowa House enjoy free covered parking, continental breakfast, free wireless internet, and free access to UI fitness centers, including the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center which is ranked in Top 5 college facilities. Inside the Recreation facility you will find state of the art fitness equipment, rock climbing wall, Olympic size pool, a lazy river and much more. Inside the Iowa Memorial Union, guest can find meeting spaces, theaters, ballrooms and more. Become part of the tradition and book your room with Iowa House Hotel today! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Iowa House Hotel Iowa City

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