Retro Family Fun at The Highlander Hotel

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Retro Family Fun at The Highlander Hotel in Iowa City, Iowa

When our family travels it is all about the attractions, local eats, craft brews, parks, and of course, lodging. We love to experience unique and new things. When planning a fun Spring Break trip to Iowa City, Iowa I came across a fun, retro-inspired hotel that I knew would check all the boxes for the kids and the parents, The Highlander Hotel.

About The Highlander Hotel

Before I go into all the amazing fun we had, there is an interesting back story of this unique Iowa City hotel. The Highlander Hotel used to be a supper club many years ago. Since its original opening in 1967, it has been passed down through several owners as a hotel and conference center. Most recently, it was purchased and given a whole new facelift that now highlights a fun retro feel for families.

Learn more about the history of The Highlander Hotel supper club from Olio in Iowa.


When booking a stay at a hotel for anyone, we all are interested in what amenities it may provide. The Highlander Hotel provides awesome amenities that include hours of fun for the entire family.

  • Largest indoor pool in the Iowa City area. If you are a family who loves to swim, this is the place to stay when you are visiting Iowa City, Iowa. It is large, there are lounge chairs all around, a hot tub, and pool side snack bar. You could spend your entire day playing in the swim area alone. Actually, The Highlander Hotel offers day passes, so if you live nearby you can still experience all the fun without an overnight stay.
  • Outdoor Courtyard. The pool area has large garage doors that open to a fun courtyard area too. In the courtyard area, The Highlander Hotel offers fire pits, lounge chairs, and outdoor games.
  • Indoor games. Fun games are not just offered outdoors! There are games indoors as well such as bag toss, a ping pong table, and a giant interactive Pictionary wall.
  • Vinyl records and lending library. The Highlander Hotel would truly not be a retro, groovy hotel without some old-school vinyl records. Grab your favorites and introduce some classics to the kids. The music playing throughout the hotel was definitely a highlight while we were there.
  • Snack Shack. You will never go hungry or thirsty during your stay. The Snack Shack is located right in the pool area and offers adult beverages including fun cocktails, flatbread pizzas (so yummy), complimentary soda and coffee, and more. They are also an eco-conscious hotel so no straws, no paper cups, no styrofoam, and plastic bottles. During your stay, they offer complimentary breakfast which you can grab in the Snack Shack.

Hotel Rooms

The amenities are nice, but what about the rooms? The Highlander Hotel offers plenty of options so no matter how big your family is there is always room for some groovy fun from a penthouse suite with a kitchenette to poolside rooms so you never miss a beat at the pool.

We stayed in a large poolside room which was perfect for the four of us. It was cozy and right outside our room was a designated table and chairs. We enjoyed chilling at our table eating flatbreads, sipping drinks, and splashing. It was also perfect when little ones needed some rest time, but we want to play.


When you entered the lobby of The Highlander Hotel you definitely could feel the retro vibe and our kids loved it! We had so much fun walking around to check out all the fun decor. They also felt they could not take a photo without holding up the ‘peace sign’. They were definitely feeling the retro vibe!

If you are traveling or looking for a fun weekend getaway, I highly encourage you to jump back in time and enjoy some retro family fun at The Highlander Hotel in Iowa City, Iowa.


Erin Huiatt

Erin is a reliable resource and stepping stone for women and families to find support and make connections within our community. She wants families to feel confident to reach out and ask for help and advice to get pointed in the right direction. She enjoys traveling and exploring with her two children in tow!

One thought on “Retro Family Fun at The Highlander Hotel

  1. This looks like so much fun! I love all the activities for families. We will have to check it out. Thanks, Erin for the great run-down!

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