DES MOINES, ILL. – Surety Hotel opens its doors on November 11, 2020 in the Des Moines’ downtown district, heralded as the Midwest’s burgeoning financial center and fastest growing metropolitan city. Just a walk to the idyllic farmers’ market, boutiques, galleries and cafes, Surety Hotel is the latest property to launch by Aparium Hotel Group’s Kevin Robinson and Mario Tricoci, whose award-winning portfolio includes Kansas City’s Crossroads Hotel, Detroit Foundation Hotel, Minneapolis’ Hewing Hotel and more.
A brilliant adaptive reuse of the historic century-old Hippee building, the soon-to-debut 137-key hotel marks a revival of a Beaux-Arts Classicism-style architectural gem, built for The Iowa Loan & Trust Company in 1913 as Iowa’s tallest building at the time. The hotel is aptly named after a surety bond, the promise of an individual to have your back. Surety Hotel will honor its namesake by guaranteeing unparalleled service, high design, and exceptional food and beverage for travelers and locals alike.
“In its entirety, Surety Hotel is a tribute to our beloved city,” said Allison Streu, the hotel’s General Manager. “Nearly every aspect of the design and programming celebrates Des Moines and helps to shine a light on our neighbors who make the district so special.” Des Moines is true to its community, not steered by national conversations or influences but rather humble, independent, eclectic, and skipping to its own beat.
Slingshot Architecture and DLR Group’s interior design preserved many of the building’s historical features, from the 12-story main staircase to the ornate mail chute that runs down the structure’s entire length. They also maintained the bank space on the main level, including original vault doors. Evoking the city’s proud heritage of banking and finance, the hotel’s interiors are outfitted in marble, hand applied artisan plaster, hardwood millwork, leathers and rich metals, reminiscent of the coins that previously passed through in exchange. Surety Hotel is a confident juxtaposition of historic American opulence and modern artistry, eclecticism, and casual relevance.
“In honoring the architecture while also making what is new feel appropriate to the old, we have brought the space back to life and returned it to its former glory,” said David Voss, Principal at Slingshot Architecture.
The large, open lobby, serving as the hotel’s “living room,” encourages guests to gather and features original vaulted coffered ceilings and ground-glass skylights that once looked down upon the former bank space. In the lobby lounge, Surety will serve as a daytime coffee parlor that transforms into an evening destination for cocktails and wine.
“Paying homage to the building’s roots in financial transactions, we aimed to foster communal and social transactions through our design,” said Staci Patton, Principal at DLR Group and interior design director for the project. “We played into the artistic backbone of Des Moines to bring the community together with a design that embraces over 28 original works of art by local Iowan artists.”
Surety Hotel’s elaborate Beaux-Arts facade is complemented with renewed present-day interiors and its design muse was a businessman set in the 1920’s. Inspired by the fashion of guests during that era, the color palette features cognac brown hand applied suede plaster walls, green and burgundy leather furnishings, heathered tweeds, and copper, zinc, and black accents. With original maple wood flooring and natural light streaming through large windows, the understated guestrooms were simply designed in contrast to the richness in architecture of the bank building. The new hotel guestrooms evoke a humble yet sophisticated design: simple, contemplative, unadorned confidence. The bathrooms’ marble hexagon tile flooring harkens back to the building’s original design and features a forest green-tiled accent wall in the glass-enclosed showers. In addition to the 126 guestrooms, nine corner studios overlook the county courthouse, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Marchande Suite, the hotel’s presidential suite whose name nods to the building’s French influence and banking past, features a large living room space, kitchenette and bar.
Tapping Des Moines’ under-the-radar arts scene - home to the largest nonprofit arts space in the U.S., Mainframe Studios -- Surety Hotel collaborated with local galleries Olson Larsen Gallery, Liz Lidgett Gallery & Design and Moberg Gallery on specially commissioned pieces such as Artist Julia Franklin’s “dress shirt” made of waxed 1920s banking documents.
Executive Chef Marque Collins is leading the hotel’s culinary program, headlined by Mulberry Street Tavern. Worldly takes on traditional tavern fare in a vibrant setting that features a zinc bar and an open-hearth kitchen. Complementing a space that is communal and full of energy, the menu comprises shareable dishes and platters, as well as meat-forward fare, thoughtfully prepared to showcase the flavor of the wood grill. The restaurant’s Midwestern setting meets British pub culture, with signature dishes including the local tomahawk ribeye with horseradish cream and “De Burgo” sauce, Vadouvan curried mussels, and a “killer” pub burger.
The entirety of the Mulberry Street Tavern menu is locally inspired, including its robust bar program. Each of the signature cocktails, named with references to Des Moines, feature fresh juices, local honey and organic blossom waters. Local and regional breweries like Confluence Brewing Company, Exile Brewing Co. and Toppling Goliath Brewery will be on tap, while guests can also opt for specially curated whiskey flights. The sober curious can indulge in a selection of zero proof drinks.
Rich wood, warm red leather booths and warm lighting make for a cozy environment for an after-work drink that lingers into dinner and an eventual night-cap. The restaurant dining area features a hand-fired copper metal cookline visible from the Mulberry sidewalk. The bar design also features additional crafted finishes with a wood and stained glass back bar. Lush courtyard seating is set to debut in 2021.
As with all Aparium properties, Surety Hotel feels original and genuine to its home city - what the brand calls ‘translocal hospitality.’ The property worked closely with the surrounding area’s designers, artists, and other tastemakers and entrepreneurs to infuse the property with local flair. Coffee and tea by BLK & Bold, which donates a percentage of all profits back to youth programs, will be served in custom ceramics from Alfar Pottery. Charcuterie at Mulberry Street Tavern will be served on hand-carved boards by local artisan DamonLayne Woodworking. Small-batch soy candle company Currently Co. created a signature scent for the hotel, with tailor-made candles available for purchase in the lobby.
Just outside the doors of Mulberry Street Tavern is a 2,220 square foot courtyard showcasing a bespoke neon sign that reads “City of Certainties” - after Des Moines’ early 20th century nickname - handcrafted by the last neon vendor in Iowa. The courtyard, along with the ballroom and two other spaces, make up Surety Hotel’s 6,700 square feet of indoor and outdoor meetings and event space. Guests also have access to the on-site 24-hour fitness center.
Surety Hotel is just steps away from Des Moines’ Court Avenue entertainment district. The hotel is also amid Des Moines’ year-round outdoor haven, which offers more than 800 miles of trails for activities like cross country skiing and biking.
Surety Hotel is located at 206 6th Ave, just five miles from Des Moines International Airport (DSM).