If you’re looking for charm and character off the beaten path, while still staying close enough to access the fun of a metro area, try the historic Hotel Pattee, in Perry, Iowa. This lovely old building, which first opened in 1913, offers the serenity of a small town location close to nature while still being close to a metro area with lots of attractions.
Art sculptures at the roof top courtyard of Hotel Pattee, photo: Sheila Scarborough
Guests can access the Raccoon River Valley Nature Trail just by crossing the street. (You can rent bicycles next door.) Nearby, you’ll find places to kayak, canoe, and play golf. You can spend a relaxed day in Perry, soaking up the small-town flavor. Or you can make the easy drive (forty minutes of four-lane highway) into Des Moines to take advantage of museums, a living history farm, amusement parks, horse racing, and more.
Each room in the Hotel Pattee, whether classic, premiere, or suite, is decorated to a theme. The hotel is filled with artwork. Our inner room faced brick walls and a roof, yet when my kids opened the wooden blinds the first morning, they discovered a quirky sculpture park housed in the enclosure. Even more delightful was the discovery of a platter full of chocolate chip cookies (really soft, chunky ones!) on the stairwell landing every evening.
Indian Room, photo credit: Hotel Pattee
Because it’s an older hotel with heavier construction, the rooms are more soundproof than most. We had ample room to walk around two queen beds, two chairs, an ottoman, and a cushy lounge. Even with a rollout cot in the room, we weren’t tight for space. We also had a large bathroom with a jetted tub, separate walk-in shower, and double sinks.
We did not have a refrigerator or microwave, nor is there a swimming pool. However, the hotel does provide free wifi, as well as a hot tub, both dry and steam saunas, and two lanes of bowling, all free to guests, as well as massage and spa options available for an extra fee.
On-site, complimentary bowling
While you’re staying at the Hotel Pattee, take advantage of the live music in the lobby on Friday and Saturday nights. Grab a book and lounge in the charming Soumas courtyard, with its fabulous recycled-art gates. Be sure to enjoy Dave’s Milwaukee Diner, which provides great food and train-themed artwork. For breakfast, we recommend the Pain Perdu, a house specialty.
Also take time to visit the nearby Firehouse Ice Cream (which also serves burgers) and Firehouse Museum (free, though they accept donations). If you’re lucky, Brian, the owner, will give you a personal tour. And the hamburgers were out of this world.
Rooms start at $114 a night, and packages are available.
The Hotel Pattee is in Perry, Iowa, at the corner of Willis Avenue and Iowa 144.
My family and I stayed at the Hotel Pattee as guests of the hotel, for the purpose of providing an honest review.