The Highlander Supper Club was built in 1967. The hotel, ballroom, and pool followed in 1974. For the next 30 years, both experienced extraordinary success playing host to celebrities like Micky Mantle, Joan Baez, and Arnold Palmer, arguably becoming one of the most popular entertainment, event, dining, and hotel destinations in Iowa history.
The following 20 years were a time of slow decline for The Highlander; by 2019, the icon was in serious distress with dated decor, broken furniture, a roof leaking in countless places, and pests larger in number than guests.
Iowa entrepreneur Angela Harrington purchased the Highlander in December of 2019, three months before a pandemic would bring financial catastrophe to the industry. Somehow, the Highlander survived somehow, and three years later, the interior renovation was complete. The property is now designated as a local landmark by the Iowa City Historic Preservation Commission.
The Highlander Hotel has been reinvented as a chic boutique urban resort, now the only independent hotel in Iowa City and the number one traveler-ranked hotel on Trip Advisor for two years running. The Supper Club, shuttered for two decades, has new life as a retro cocktail arcade, its epic sunken bar restored.