Earlier this year, we had a weekend getaway in Iowa to ski and hang out with friends. Our destination: Perry and Boone, Iowa, two small towns with big personalities. Our home base was in Perry, where we stayed at the historic Hotel Pattee.
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Disclosure: My family’s stay was hosted by the Hotel Pattee, though our food, bowling, and spa experience was on our own dime. All thoughts, opinions, and typos are my own.
Where is Hotel Pattee?
Since 1913, Hotel Pattee has been a grand presence in the town of Perry, (about 130 miles from Omaha).
Perry is a town of about 7,700 people and is considered part of the Des Moines metro area. One thing to note is that the hotel is near quite a bit of interesting public art. I took a stroll with the kids (a brief one because it was, well, winter) and found some fascinating stuff.
Next to the hotel is an alleyway that you should just stroll through to see. There were some statues, tributes to local notable people, and large scale metal sculptures.
What are the rooms like in the Hotel Pattee?
The hotel has 40 individually-decorated and themed guest rooms, which definitely was a highlight for us. Our room was a junior suite with a travel theme (perfect, right?).
A junior suite is perfect for families. They include a king-size or queen-size bed and an adjoining room that either has a bed and trundle bed, or bunk beds.
The nice thing about the junior suites is that the adjoining room is separated by sliding doors. Both rooms have their own televisions.
Other options include a full suite, which includes a sitting room, premier rooms, and classic rooms.
The thing about these theme rooms is that if you have a specific one you want, you’ll need to call to book it. You can’t request specific rooms through online booking.
What are the hotel amenities?
Being a historic hotel, I wasn’t really going to expect a large pool or anything to entertain my kids. It’s usually a requirement for wherever we stay. However, Hotel Pattee has some unique offerings to make up for lack of splashing pool time.
First, the hotel has a small bowling center that’s pretty unique. There is an additional fee to bowl.
The hotel has a dining room and lounge, which sells some local beers for those who are interested.
Our large group had breakfast at Harvey’s inside the hotel one morning. It had a railroad theme, a nod to the town’s history. While the wait was a bit long when youngsters were involved, the food was delivered promptly and warm.
Just a note: There is no kid’s menu, so our kids ordered off the regular menu and no child finished their meal. Think about splitting dishes.
The dads of the group spent one happy together at the lounge one evening, and the moms got the next night in the lounge for a late dinner.
Sure, there were salad and healthy options in the lounge. I went with a massive cheeseburger instead. We also tried some unique appetizer, like buffalo cauliflower.
The highlight, for us moms anyway, was the full service spa in the basement of the hotel. Copper Door Spa offered massage, and while we waited for each mom to have her turn, we alternated between sitting in robes in the lounge and sitting in robes in the sauna. (We forgot swimsuits or we would’ve totally taken advantage of the hot tub near the spa)
Is it kid-friendly?
Absolutely. But, not in the traditional sense, where my kids spent most of their time in a pool. There is no pool.
But when I asked them what they liked best about the hotel, here’s what they said:
- There’s a self-playing piano in the lobby that fascinated them.
- Each night, the staff puts a plate of warm cookies on a table on each floor. There may have been more than one cookie eaten by each kid.
- (And each adult.)
- My kids noticed, and appreciated, how each room was uniquely decorated. Like I said before, our room had a travel theme. The other rooms in our party had rooms with a storybook theme and a Swedish theme.
We stayed at the hotel in February for a weekend ski trip. That’s right – a ski trip in Iowa. And you know what? It was awesome and we’ll probably be doing it with the same group of families next year, too.
Hotel Pattee is not located next to a mountain. It’s still Iowa. But, it is about a 30-mile drive to Boone, where you can find the rather hilly terrain of Seven Oaks Recreation. Seven Oaks also offers summer recreation, which I think we’ll try out later this year (river floats).
Now, Boone also happens to be home to another warm-weather activity a few of you might like: Train rides. The Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad departs from a small station in town. We went on a train ride with the kiddos a few years ago.
It is scenic, but it can be rather long for younger kids. Pack entertainment, just in case, or opt for one of the themed rides.
If you stay in Perry, you are also near one of my favorite Iowa State Parks: Ledges State Park. It’s about 30 miles from the hotel. I wrote about our quick visit there when we were taking our Great Iowa Road Trip.
If you want to stay at Hotel Pattee
Where: 1112 Willis Ave., Perry, Iowa
Reserve a room: If you want to reserve a specific themed room, call 515-465-3511. Otherwise, you can reserve a room online on at hotelpattee.com.