Des Moines, Iowa, is a city with attractions spread throughout the metro area, so choosing a hotel for a home base can be tough. It’s an easy-to-navigate city, but knowing what you want to do there will help narrow down your options.
I was set on seeing the Living History Farms for the first time, so being hosted to the city by Catch Des Moines, I was hooked up with the Wildwood Lodge, located in Clive, a suburb of West Des Moines.
What to expect at Wildwood Lodge
The location of Wildwood Lodge isn’t exactly what I typically look for – it’s nestled among chain restaurants like Chili’s and Applebee’s. But it’s also near the Living History Farms, as well as Clive Aquatic Center, Jordan Creek Town Center and the interstate. Its convenience could not be beat.
The front lobby of Wildwood was my favorite thing of the entire hotel. It has a cabin theme throughout.
I spent one afternoon reading by the fireplace while everyone in my family napped. If I squinted real hard, I could imagine the parking lot was a lake.
If you’re traveling with little ones, you know the pool is a make or break thing. Here, the pool was large enough for play, plus there was a great hot tub.
If you aren’t traveling with kids, you’ll be happy to know they kick them out after 9:30 p.m. (which is plenty late for my kiddos, so I wasn’t put out).
The hotel offers a couple extras for guests, including a complimentary happy hour appetizer during the week and breakfast every day. During the week, that breakfast includes some hot elements. One day it was scrambled eggs for us, the next biscuits and gravy. Guests arriving Sunday through Thursday receive a cookie, too.
The hotel also has free wi-fi, which I love.
The rooms carried some of the cabin theme into them. Our first room overlooked the pool area, which is cool in theory, but in reality, it made the room reek of chlorine. The front desk staff promptly helped us change rooms.
The rooms are pretty standard for mid-range hotel – there weren’t a whole lot of frills to it, but it was comfortable.
Dining near Wildwood Lodge
There are several restaurants within walking distance of the hotel. They’re all national chains, which you might want the familiarity.
I like to find local restaurants near hotels I’m staying at. One of the most well-known Des Moines Restaurant is about a five-minute drive: The Machine Shed. Go with a big appetite!
And a camera, because we had a lot of fun taking pictures in front of the restaurant.
I asked the clerk at the front desk what she’d recommend and she recommended the Waterfront Seafood Market. She said they had the best clam chowder (she added that she’s a Boston native with a nod of authority).
Attractions near Wildwood Lodge
One of the biggest draws to this West Des Moines area is The Living History Farms, which depict Iowa farm life over three centuries. It’s about 2 miles from the hotel – a very quick drive!
Even a shorter distance from the hotel is the Clive Aquatic Center. Cool off at this outdoor water park (not in the “big water park sense,” but one with a couple slides, a cute kids pool area and a huge pool).
About 3 miles in the other direction is the huge mall and shopping center, Jordan Creek Town Center. We found a lot of families walking around the lake, looking at the cute ducklings and loud geese. There are several higher-end chain restaurants around the lake with outdoor seating to enjoy the view. The mall has a movie theater, as well.
The drive to downtown Des Moines from the hotel is about 10 miles – very manageable if you plan on visiting any of the attractions there.
If you go
Where: 11431 Forest Ave, Clive, Iowa (being an out-of-towner who doesn’t know better, I still consider this a Des Moines hotel)
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Plan your own Great Iowa Road Trip!
To learn more about some of the destinations on this trip, visit the blog over the next few weeks. I can’t wait to tell you about these places: