Our Story


Guest Rooms

Most guest rooms have the original 1921 hardwood classroom floors and 12-15 foot vaulted ceilings.

Parachute bedding is designed in Venice Beach, California and responsibly manufactured in Italy by the world’s best artisans. Oeko-Tex certified, meaning they’re free of synthetics and chemicals. During the hotel’s development we tried seven different company’s sheets. The ones you will sleep on were the most sumptuous sheets, premium long-staple Egyptian cotton, softer than anything we ever experienced.

The iron furniture in our guest rooms was custom built by Co-Line Manufacturing, an Iowa company just a few miles from here that specializes in metal fabrication. Their team worked with us to design one-of-a-kind beds, vanities, tables and desks for each room. The quality and durability of these U.S. made iron furnishings is second to none.

We want to do our part to care for the planet, which is why we went in search of an alternative to the sample size plastic bottles traditionally found in hotel bathrooms. Instead of tiny bottles that ultimately fill our landfills, each shower is outfitted with modern dispensers filled with organic shampoo, conditioner and body wash.

Succulent plants are known for their sleep benefits, which is why we partnered with our local flower shop to place a plant in each guest room. Succulents emit oxygen, improving air quality for a more restful slumber.

We went all-out with Internet and TV because we know how important it is to you. We partnered with local technology experts to outfit each room with wireless and hard-wired Internet capabilities, along with smart TVs set up for easy streaming from your personal device.

The counter height table in every guest room provides more versatility than a traditional desk. A counter height option gives you a place for in-room dining, cocktail hour or for working on your laptop, either sitting or standing.

We have yoga mats available upon request to make it convenient to continue your wellness routine while traveling. You’ll find treadmills, yoga balls and free weights down the hall.

We decided to try something out of the ordinary for the Midwest: Bunk Rooms! In addition to our 43 guest rooms and suites, we have two bunk rooms with 10 beds in each. How fun would they be for a sports team, youth group, hunting excursion or bridal party?

We’ve stocked our front desk and in-room mini bar basket with everything we can think of to make your stay enjoyable. If you forgot to pack your toothbrush (don’t we all?), we’ll hook you up!


Looking for fun things to do while you’re in town? We’ve created local experience itineraries with our top recommendations. We’ll also email you prior to your visit to ask if we can create a custom itinerary for an authentic and unique Grinnell experience.

Borrow one of our bicycles for a cruise around town. We even have a tandem bicycle available to guests. Thanks to our local bike shop for hooking us up with some awesome bikes!

Find entertainment right down the hall from your room. The lobby bar is outfitted with shuffleboard, giant Scrabble, and three big screen TVs to catch your favorite game.

Check with the front desk for other entertainment in the hotel and around town. We have disc golf supplies, kid activity kits, biking/running route maps, aquatic center passes, and more!

Food & Drink

We partnered with a nearby business, Kahawa Cup, to serve fair-trade certified coffee. Their specialty coffees are sourced from all over the world and enable farmers to earn fair wages, work in safe conditions, protect the environment and provide an education to their children.

We serve Blue Bunny ice cream, which is made in LeMars, Iowa, the Ice Cream Capital of the World. More ice cream is made in our home state than anywhere else on Earth!


There are 17 restaurants within walking distance of Hotel Grinnell. You’ll find our top suggestions listed in our local itineraries.

It is a two-block walk from the hotel to the Grinnell College campus. Did you know Grinnell College is often referred to as the “Harvard of the Midwest?”

There are two art galleries and two museums in our downtown.


Design & Construction 

We used LED light fixtures wherever we could.

The overhead light pendant in your room is a replica of the one used in the 1921 school.

You’ll find high quality, solid brass lamps, white quartz vanity countertops, and vanity lights in every guest room.

To keep you in the loop you will find that all the bed side tables have a charging station.

Industrial shower panels have been installed to represent the industrial presence here in Grinnell.

The acoustic panels in the stairwells are not only functional but also mimic the original five panel school doors that you will find throughout the hotel.

The Periodic Table Bar currently sits where the locker rooms were once located.

The Fitness Center once overlooked the gym and was designated as seating for the visitors to watch sporting events.

Each room has been decorated with a unique piece of art, not one piece is the same; some are even seven feet tall!

Rooms 310-315 were once a “quiet only” zone for the bookworms and nerds but now even the jocks will want to spend time in the old library rooms!

We did everything we could to soundproof our guest rooms – there are 10 inch insulated walls between rooms!

The dramatic Penthouse Suite was originally the theater’s dressing room – how fitting!

The terrazzo floors are original to the 1921 school. They were covered with lots of glue and carpet for 35 years until we restored them during construction.


We pay homage to our building’s scholastic past in a number of ways. You will find historic photos on the walls, old lockers turned into benches, chalk boards in every room and the old scoreboard now hangs in the lounge.

Hotel Grinnell is an adaptive reuse of the old junior high school in downtown Grinnell. The building was erected in 1921 as an addition to the high school, with three stories of classrooms, a large gymnasium and an auditorium. The high school was torn down in 1980, but the newer junior high was saved and remodeled into a community center that housed various offices.

After years of being widely underutilized, Steve Holtze and Angela Harrington purchased the beautiful building from the city in 2016 and set out to repurpose it into a boutique hotel and event venue.

Locals recall memories from their youth of science classes on the third floor, typing classes with towels over their hands, band practice in the old coal room, awards on the big stage, track practice in the gym, and many rowdy study halls and detentions.

They also share recollections of running up and down the three flights of stairs between classes and the smell of the squeaky, oiled wooden floors. A lot of fun was had in this place. Trampolining in the gym was a thing, as was archery practice in Central Park across the street. After school, hurdle practice brought the halls to life and kids played around with boomerangs in the park.

We think there’s something special about soaking in the history of this old building and have taken care to add thoughtful touches of the school throughout our hotel. This is a place where old school tradition merges with new school attitude.

When you stay at Hotel Grinnell, you’ll sleep in an old classroom. The former locker rooms have been transformed into a bar, and the old scoreboard now decorates the lounge. The old gymnasium has a new life as a modern ballroom, and the auditorium is now a lively performance venue.