WE ALMOST DID NOT ASK, almost passed by Hotel Winneshiek in downtown Decorah, Iowa.
But what the heck, why not ask about the cost of staying overnight in this historic hotel, my husband and I decided on a recent visit to this river town.
Much to our absolute delight and surprise, we booked a third-floor room for $105 (that includes local and state taxes and an AARP discount). That’s less than we’ve paid for a room at a chain hotel in Fargo, North Dakota, and less than we paid the following night for a stay at another chain hotel in Marquette, Iowa, both minus in-room whirlpools.
The Beaux-Arts style Hotel Winneshiek, built between 1904-1905 and restored in 2000 to near original construction, impresses with its terrazzo floors, marble walls, cherry woodwork, octagon rotunda/three-story atrium, stained glass and a general feel of luxurious elegance.
Often I struggle to sleep well in a hotel. But in our corner room (with a king bed and a whirlpool bath) overlooking the back parking lot, I slept deep and long. That, in itself, earns a star rating.
Norway’s Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Martha even stayed here in 1939 in a three-room suite.
Hotel Winneshiek is suited for royalty. From the minute we entered the hotel, paused in the impressive corridor and then walked up to the front desk in the stunning Atrium, I felt sheltered, cocooned and transported in time. You get that kind of Old World comfortable feel here.
For someone like me who appreciates historic architecture and details, this marked the perfect place to spend a night in the heart of Decorah’s historic downtown. We could walk to shops and eateries. The hotel complex includes Albert’s Restaurant and Pub, where we didn’t dine, but perhaps should have. We heard good recommendations later.
Now, I would not recommend arriving in Decorah without a reservation at the 31-room Hotel Winneshiek, if that’s where you really want to stay. I expect we were fortunate to find a room available on a Monday night as walk-in guests.
Just so you are not surprised, room rates start at $109 (plus applicable taxes) and reach up to $249 (plus taxes) for the Presidential Suite.
And, because you may wonder like me about that name, Winneshiek was the chief of the Winnebago Indians. Decorah is located in Winneshiek County and the historic Hotel Winneshiek therein. To learn more about the hotel’s history, click here.
© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling