August 08, 2011

The Hotel at Kirkwood Center

As I mentioned in our last post, Juli and I were on the road part of the weekend.  We went to Cedar Rapids to visit her son, who will be a senior at Coe College this year.   Since he is a college kid, with a typically small college-kid apartment and a roommate, we couldn't stay with him, so we looked around for a good place to stay overnight.  

I should note that our previous hotel stays in Cedar Rapids had been pretty much unpleasant.   The first time we went there, we got an alleged nonsmoking room that smelled so strongly of smoke one might suspect it had been an ashtray in a previous life.  We had been going cheap that time, though, so the next time around we stayed at Cedar Rapids' downtown Five Seasons Center hotel.  Unfortunately, a train station is located right behind the Five Seasons, so we were awakened night and day by the sounds of trains and train whistles. 

While doing some research online, Juli came upon the Hotel at Kirkwood Center.   We were both pleased by the result of her research, because we had a fantastic stay.

The Hotel at Kirkwood Center is an upscale boutique hotel, and it also serves as a teaching facility for Kirkwood's Hospitality Arts program.  It opened just over a year ago.  Eco-friendly and posh, the Hotel boasts a one-to-one service employee to staff ratio.  It is, quite frankly, the best hotel either of us has ever stayed at. 

The Hotel is lavishly decorated with marble, attractive carpets and a lot of art, including lots of hand-blown glass.  All of the art was created by Kirkwood college and faculty members and local artists.  The spacious rooms include king or double queen beds, custom furniture, 32" wall-mounted flat-screen TVs, large marble bathrooms including granite counter tops and even a Kurig coffee maker.  Ameneties and services include free parking and shuttle service, same-day dry cleaning, free wi-fi, high-quality complimentary toiletries, room service, a bar and a full-service gourmet restaurant.  We found the rooms to be incredibly comfortable and quiet, with virtually no noise from the hallways and no noise whatsoever from other rooms.   We didn't even hear any noise from surrounding guests using the showers or toilets, which was quite welcome.

The base rates for a stay at the Hotel at Kirkwood Center aren't cheap.  Standard rooms go for around $200 a night.  Deluxe rooms and executive and presidential suites are progressively more expensive, with a presidential suite costing about $400 a night.   However, if one does a little homework and plans ahead, you can get a standard room for a lot less.  Expedia dropped cost of our standard room to less than $100.  That's quite good for a hotel in Cedar Rapids, especially on a weekend.  As far as we're concerned, the comfort and the friendly, courteous service made it a bargain.

The living area of one of the Presidential suites.

Now, you might ask why we are writing about this hotel on our food blog.   Two reasons, really.  First, we were really impressed and pleased with our stay at the Hotel, and we wanted to put out the word about this wonderful facility.  Second, we did mention the gourmet restaurant and that the Hotel is a teaching facility for Kirkwood's Hospitality Arts programs.  That includes their Baking and Culinary Arts programs.  We'll write about the restaurant and the academic programs in upcoming posts.

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