Quaint Elegance in Great Location A review of The Raphael Hotel, Autograph Collection
My boyfriend and I were in the mood for a quick getaway, and saw an ad in the Des Moines Register for $99 per night rooms at The Raphael. I'd always wanted to stay there, considering it's just steps from the Country Club Plaza shopping and restaurant area and looked so charming and elegant from the outside, so this seemed like a good opportunity to try it at a discounted price. We weren't disappointed. Valet service greets you with a smile, and the small lobby area exudes dark wood furnishings and a charming, historic feel. The hotel used to be an apartment building, but you really can't tell. It looks like it's always been a "boutique" hotel. Even though our room was located on the first floor RIGHT next to the lobby area, it was very quiet. The only downside was that our windows overlooked a parking area. We could have requested a better view, but knew we wouldn't spend too much time in the room --- we had a shopping spree to go on!In fact, the location of the hotel is perfect if you want to buy things and not have to haul bags around all day. It's easy to cross the short bridge and dump your purchases in the room at any time during the day. We didn't eat in the attractive, romantic-looking restaurant, but did order room service both mornings for breakfast. At many hotels a "Continental Breakfast" is pretty skimpy, but not here. We were both plenty full when we finished eating and headed out for the day. The prices were quite reasonable for room service, too.I think the best part of the stay was the feeling that you've gone "back in time" a bit. Plus, everyone from the front desk to the room service attendant to the valet guy were friendly and pleasant --- as they should be. I'd like to try the Fairmont next door next time, but would definitely stay here again.