Contributed by Jim Ellias

Muscatine and the Midwest’s newest four-star luxury hotel, The Merrill Hotel & Conference Center, plans to open March 12. 

Even before it’s open, this spectacular new pearl is earning accolades. The International Association of Conference Centers (IACC) has named The Merrill Iowa’s only IACC Certified Venue, making it part of an elite group that represents innovative meeting venues throughout the world.  

The Howe Conference Center crowns the hotel, taking up the entire sixth floor with spacious rooms, natural light, and scenic views the of Mississippi River from three sides. The conference center consists of over 12,000 square feet of state-of-the-art, flexible meeting space. The opulent Grand Ballroom will accommodate up to 360 banquet guests while treating them to a commanding view of the river from its 1250-square-foot terrace. When rooms require AV presentation, blackout shades can be lowered to ensure planners and guests have the optimum conference experience. The Grand Ballroom can also be divided into three separate conference/banquet spaces. 

Flanking the sixth-floor conference center are the matching Clemens Room on the west and the Clark Room on the east. Each of these ballrooms can seat up to 150 banquet guests or be divided into three rooms to accommodate smaller groups and meetings.   

Down the north corridor of the Howe Conference Center are smaller classrooms, board rooms, and meeting spaces, making this facility quite flexible for meeting planners and giving guests a conference-going experience with windows and natural light all on one floor. 

As The Merrill readies to open, a number of events are on the schedule. The Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce & Industry will hold its Annual Meeting & Recognition Night on March 29, the first banquet in the new hotel. Additionally, Muscatine Community College and The Merrill are teaming up to bring back the Taste of Muscatine fundraiser, scheduled for later this spring. 

Guestrooms in The Merrill are located on the second through fifth floors. Room rates will be competitive with others in the market, starting between $160 to $199. Queen and king rooms along with junior suites are found throughout the hotel. The secure fifth-floor Club Level includes two three-room Presidential Suites, meeting rooms, member pantry, and Club Lounge to accommodate guests with additional amenities. 

The first-floor lobby welcomes guests with concierge services, bell hops, and valet parking. The business center, fitness center, spa, salt-water lap pool, and the hotel’s kitchen are located on the first floor. 

Maxwell’s lobby restaurant and bar will serve guests breakfast, lunch, dinner, and cocktails in a relaxing lounge environment. When the weather is nice, guests can dine alfresco in the Green Space, a park-like setting located between The Merrill and the old Hotel Muscatine. The Green Space will be complete with benches, trees, a water feature, and sculpture art.   

Parking for guests includes 16 handicap spots located on the east side of the hotel, a two-level controlled-access parking ramp, and a lot at the former Button Factory Restaurant offering a total of 189 parking spots.    

The Merrill Hotel & Conference Center is located 119 Mississippi Drive West.  For more information, please visit 


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Merrill Hotel Job Fair Feb. 2 & 3 


The Merrill Hotel & Conference Center is now hiring. The new hotel will hold a second job fair on February 2 and 3 at The Button Factory, 215 W. Mississippi Drive in Muscatine. Once fully operational, The Merrill expects to employ between 50 to 70 full-time and part-time workers. 

This new four-star luxury hotel in downtown Muscatine is now hiring for full-time and part-time positions including: accounting, administrative assistant/receptionist, banquet servers, bartenders,

bellman, concierge, cooks, dishwashers, food & beverage director, guest services representatives, housekeepers, laundry, housekeeping inspector, maintenance, night auditors, public space attendants, reservation agents, restaurant servers/bartenders, and restaurant supervisor. 

Job fair hours are Friday, February 2 from 4 to 7 p.m. and Saturday, February 3 from 9 a.m. to noon.  

Applicants are encouraged to submit an application at the fair, where managers will be available for on-the-spot interviews.   

Find the jobair at The Button Factory, 215 W. Mississippi Drive in Muscatine. Enter through the front-street door on Mississippi Drive. If unable to attend the job fair, applicants may submit a resume via email to [email protected] 

The Merrill offers competitive pay and a benefits package that includes dental & vision, 401K, life insurance, and paid time off.