Inspectors find sex toy in microwave at unlicensed Des Moines hotel

By: - January 23, 2023 11:34 am

Inspectors cited the owners of Baymont Inn & Suites at 4685 N.E. 14th St., Des Moines, with 14 regulatory violations after a Dec. 22, 2022, visit. (Photo via Google Earth)

A previously unlicensed Des Moines hotel where inspectors found trash, pests, nonworking smoke detectors and a sex toy in the microwave oven of a guest room has been granted a new license by the state.

Inspectors visited the Baymont Inn & Suites at 4685 N.E. 14th St. on Dec. 22 and cited the owners for 14 regulatory violations – an unusually high number. At the time, the hotel was operating without a license. According to the inspector’s report, he initially refused to grant conditional approval for a license due to uncorrected violations related to the condition of the guest rooms.

The owner agreed to not accept any new guests or reservations until the hotel license application had been submitted and the license was awarded. The next day, the inspector reported, the hotel had corrected the guest-room violations and a conditional license was approved pending the submission of a license application and payment of a fine.

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During the Dec. 22 inspection of one guest room, the inspector found an accumulation of trash behind the bed, a “sex toy” inside the microwave oven, a soiled shirt stuffed in the ice bucket, and other articles of clothing that had been discarded under a couch. In addition, the smoke detector in the room wasn’t working. The owner agreed to dispose of the microwave oven.

In a separate room, the inspector found trash behind a dresser console and clothing discarded behind a couch. A review of seven other guest rooms uncovered similar problems: non-working smoke detectors, accumulations of trash, a soiled table and couch, a prong of some kind stuck in a bathroom electrical outlet, food debris, broken outlet covers, visibly stained furniture that had to be discarded, and toilet bowls that were visibly soiled with accumulated debris and feces.

One bathroom faucet could not produce any hot water and the interior of the lobby ice machine was soiled with debris. In addition, the inspector found rodent droppings in the breakfast-area cabinets and underneath the kitchen’s food-preparation counter, as well as dead gnats and dead fleas in a cabinet near the kitchen’s reach-in freezer.

The hotel had recently changed ownership from Serenity Hospitality to Relianse Iowa and as a result it was operating without a valid hotel license, the inspector found.

Relianse Iowa was formed last August and is affiliated with Relianse Global, a Texas company that invests in hotels and retail properties.

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.

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