I am a professional traveler. The kind of guy that logs in on average over 330 nights in hotels, builds up a fortune in hotel points, and then when he goes on vacation, stays in a hotel. I am slowly turning my house into a museum. I figure since I don’t live there, I might as well put it to some good use.
For my latest assignment, I have been stationed in Coralville, Iowa; a quiet, sleepy suburb of Iowa City, home of the University of Iowa, the acclaimed Iowa Writers Workshop, and more miles of bicycle paths than a good city deserves.
For this stay, I am staying at the Coralville Marriott Hotel. I have stayed at numerous Marriott’s around the country. The Marriott brand is my default hotel brand of choice, and I am currently closing in on over 3,000 nights within their chain. By the time I leave the hotel from this stay, I will have resided over five months in this hotel. Altogether, I have stayed here at this hotel over one year.
With this number of stays under my belt, I can say with absolute authority, that the Coralville Marriott Hotel is one of the finest, if not the finest, Marriott class hotel within the chain. Here are three reasons why:
1. The Iowa Writers Library- Off the main reception is the Coralville Marriott’s library. A very real library, with great chairs, a set of fine couches, and a real fireplace that the hotel lights in the cooler season giving the room that added special touch. Iowa is something of an anomaly in the field of writing, and is home one of the largest collections of award winning writers in the world. Such is the power of the written word here, that UNESCO has awarded Iowa City the distinct designation as a City of Literature in 2008, making Iowa City the world’s third city to have such a designation. The hotel’s library pays homage to these writers and it is well worth your time to peruse the hotel’s collection.
2. The Concierge Lounge- Without a doubt, the concierge lounge here and the staff that attend to it really are the finest. The hotel restaurant provides an ample dinner that is excellent. Pastas, meats, sandwiches, the menu is varied every day. On the day I wrote this article, it was salmon. There is no set schedule for what you may be getting. But, it is always excellent. An ample supply of cheeses, fruits, and vegetables and dips always accompanies the meal. If you have an opportunity to stay several days, you will not be disappointed. However, it is the staff that really excels here. Phil expertly handles dinners, Nancy the breakfast crowd. The two have been handling the lounge for years and have come to know their customers by name. And, the customers have taken notice of this excellent service.
3. The Area- The Coralville Marriot is situated in an area of rebirth. The city has turned once former brownfields into a thriving community within a community and numerous entertainment and eating establishments are directly in front of the hotel. As of this writing more are being developed. I have had an opportunity to enjoy many a beers and live music at the Backpocket Brewery and delicious dinners at Vesta. If you’re interested in a beer, head to the Backpocket Brewery, sit outside by the fire and enjoy the evening. For food, Vesta’s is excellent. Everything I have had there has been delicious and the portions are quite ample. If you’re interested in walking, there is a lovely bicycle trail directly behind the hotel. I have walked for hours along the trail, crossed the Iowa River dam and wandered back to the dog park. The area is quite safe.
Not many people travel as much as I do. So, when I make a recommendation, you can take it from an expert. If you are in the area and you’re looking for an upscale hotel, this is the hotel for you.
Eric Wynn encourages feedback and loves to hear your thoughts!