Surety Hotel has opened its doors in Des Moines’ downtown district, touted as the Midwest’s burgeoning financial center. Just a walk to the 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 portfolio includes Kansas City’s Crossroads Hotel, Detroit Foundation Hotel, Minneapolis’ Hewing Hotel and more.
A reuse of the historic century-old Hippee building, the 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.
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. The hotel’s interiors are outfitted in marble, hand-applied artisan plaster, hardwood millwork, leathers and metals.
The large, open lobby, serving as the hotel’s “living room,” has original vaulted coffered ceilings and ground-glass skylights. In the lobby lounge, Surety will serve as a daytime coffee parlor that transforms into an evening destination for cocktails and wine.
The new hotel guestrooms have marble hexagon tile flooring in the bathrooms with 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, has 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 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. The menu comprises shareable dishes and platters, as well as meat-forward fare, prepared on the wood grill. Think: Midwest meets British pub culture, with signature dishes including the local tomahawk ribeye with horseradish cream and “De Burgo” sauce, Vadouvan curried mussels and a pub burger. Each of the signature cocktails, named with references to Des Moines, use 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. Tip: There’s also a selection of zero-proof drinks.
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. 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.
Allison Streu serves as the hotel’s general manager.