Small Town Spotlight: The Hotel Pattee, Perry, Iowa

Downtown Perry on a snowy evening, across from Hotel Pattee on Willis Street. Photo by Abigail Wallner.

Located about 40 miles outside of Des Moines, Perry is a small town with a massive gem. Standing at three stories tall, with forty rooms, the Hotel Pattee is a huge draw for the town.  

“This isn’t something you would see every day. Well, I guess I see it every day because I work here, but it never gets old,” laughs Hawn Wong. As the event coordinator at the Hotel Pattee, Wong has seen a variety of people come and go through the doors of this historic hotel and claims that no two people have the same experience. According to hotel management, this hotel is one of two historic boutique hotels left in the United States today. With forty very different room styles, guests can customize their experience to their own taste. However, the hotel wasn’t always this way.

The hotel was built in 1913 and renovated in 1997. The structure is beautiful, with plenty of mahogany beams, a large elegant fireplace in the lobby and an original marble staircase leading to the second floor. One of the things that makes this hotel especially unique is that each room was designed by a different individual. During the renovation in 1997, each designer worked on creating an atmosphere so that no two rooms are alike. Some are themed to a culture, some to a celebrity, others to a lifestyle. The cultural rooms were made to represent some of the diversity in the Perry community and have been meticulously thought out. Each suite in the hotel has a wood burning fireplace. The most sought after suite is the Louis Armstrong Suite, which housed the famous musician twice as he toured the country.

The Barry Kemp room is designed with many items referencing movies that he directed. Photo by: Abigail Wallner.

When guests enter each room, they are transported into the world of that theme. Room 211, the Swedish room, is decorated with plaid linens, authentic furniture and several Swedish sayings adorn the walls. Everything matches the theme, even down to the ice bucket and its tray. Room 204, the Barry Kemp suite, features decor from his most notable films. “Grease”-themed helmets serve as the base for table lamps and a Patch Adams poster sits across from the bed. The furniture is deliberate and matches the theme. Each room has a story that has been carefully thought out.

Aside from the rooms, the hotel offers a series of unique amenities, including a bowling alley and a palatial whirlpool spa. Harvey’s, the restaurant attached to the hotel, is another delicious draw.

The Swedish room is designed with items specific to the Swedish culture, and provides a unique atmosphere. Photo by:
Abigail Wallner.

“We get traffic from Des Moines, but we are attempting to have more events to reach that community even more in the future,” Wong says. Hotel Pattee is hosting a series of concerts in the courtyard adjacent to the hotel, and that schedule can be found on the hotel’s  website. Wong expects that with the commencement of weekly Free Music Fridays, featuring local artists, and the annual Easter Brunch this year, the summer will be busier than ever.

“We have a new draw and that’s the restaurant, officially titled, ‘Harvey’s at the Hotel Pattee’,” Wong states. “This restaurant had a huge following in Redfield, IA and now that they’ve closed that location and moved to our hotel, that following has moved as well. We are very proud to say that everything at Harvey’s is homemade, right down to the sauces.”

“Harvey’s is something special,” says lifetime Perry resident and owner of the Ben Franklin Five and Dime, Andrea Tunic. “They make everything from scratch, even the ketchup. It’s definitely somewhere you want to try.”

Menu items at the Hotel Pattee’s signature restaurant, Harvey’s, are all made from scratch. Photo by:
Abigail Wallner.

With a moderately priced menu, the restaurant offers everything from shepherd’s pie to cookie dough cheesecake. This restaurant offers what could be considered the essential comfort food. Each dish looks delicious and tastes even better.

The atmosphere in the restaurant resembles the style of the hotel and creates a feeling of consistency as you step through the threshold. The continuation of the wood and tiling, allows you to take in the beautiful architecture even further while you enjoy your meal.

Located right off of First Avenue in the heart of this 7,500-resident town, this hotel is a beautiful homage to the history of Perry. Take a step back in time and enjoy the experience that this hotel can offer the next time you are looking for an adventure.

All photos were taken by: Abigail Wallner.

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