by Michael J. Shapiro | March 21, 2018
The first hotel connected to the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines opened today, in the form of the 330-room Hilton Des Moines Downtown. The Events Center comprises Hy-Vee Hall, the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center and the 17,000-seat Wells Fargo Arena.
The newly constructed hotel pays homage to the city's importance both as an agricultural center and as a growing technology hub. Hotel windows are arranged in a binary pattern to resemble barcodes, in-room carpets are inspired by circuit boards and light fixtures mimic the appearance of wiring. In terms of tech amenities, the property has digital check-in, a lobby full of USB ports and a tech lounge with complimentary use of computers and Internet. But the building's exterior and décor pull colors from the agricultural surroundings, and exterior elements were inspired by wheat, and by corn and soybean rows.
 
"As the first Hilton Hotels & Resorts property in the city, we look forward to introducing the brand's world-renowned hospitality to Des Moines and fully integrating into the fabric of the community," said Dave Marr, senior vice president and global head of full-service brands for Hilton. "Des Moines has many development projects in the works, and we know this hotel will play a critical role in supporting the influx of travelers expected to the city."
 
The property has 14,000 square feet of meeting space of its own, including a 10,000-square-foot ballroom that opens onto an outdoor terrace. Every meeting room is lit with natural light, and all meeting space is on the same floor. The function space is outfitted with touch-screen navigation signage, smart window lighting and ClickShare wireless presentation systems in the boardrooms. 
 
A modern restaurant, Park Street Kitchen, will soon open on-site with an outdoor patio fireplace and a menu built on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. It will be helmed by chef Nick Marino, previously at Hilton's Waldorf Astoria Chicago [http://www.waldorfastoriachicagohotel.com].
 
"Hilton Des Moines Downtown will attract even more people and events to central Iowa," predicted Greg Edwards, president and CEO of Catch Des Moines, the city's convention and visitors bureau. "The fact that the hotel is connected and right next door to the Iowa Events Center is a game changer for us in luring new conventions, sporting events and trade shows to the metro." Edwards added that his team has recently booked more than 23 new events, with an expected economic impact of nearly $73 million.