Iowa’s Clarion Highlander Hotel to be renamed the Bohemian

US: Set to undergo a $5 million renovation, Angela Harrington will oversee the retro-revival refurbishment of the former 1970s supper club.

Harrington is the owner and operator of Hotel Grinnell – a boutique property renovated from a secondary school originally built in 1921 in Grinnell, Iowa. The classrooms were transformed into hotel rooms, and the gymnasium became a ballroom.

“At the Bohemian, there will be a record player in every room and a vinyl lending library in the lobby,” she said. “So those kinds of special touches that really tells the story of Iowa City in the 70s, is going to be really, really fun”.

The now operating Clarion Highlander Hotel and Conference Centre, at the intersection of Interstate 80 and Dodge Street, was once The Highlander Inn and Supper Club. Built in 1967, it comprised 90-bedrooms and in 1973 received a ballroom addition.

The old supper club will be leased to another tenant, however the 450-person ballroom will remain part of the hotel.

During the renovation, which is slated to begin 20 December, the hotel will remain open with one quarter of the guest rooms being worked on at a time. The interior is expected to be completed by 1 May, whereas the exterior may take until the summer.

The $5 million makeover, which includes acquisition, is paid for through a bank loan and private equity.

Iowa City economic development coordinator, Wendy Ford, said: “In a way, they’re not new rooms being added to the inventory; they’re just going to be upgrading the place which will make it more appealing for certain. It won’t change the supply. It will change the quality of the supply, butt how much of an effect that has on the whole picture remains to be seen”.

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