Hotel wins license despite rodents, soiled bedding and dog feces in guest rooms

By: - February 27, 2023 12:14 pm

This Des Moines hotel was recently granted a license after an inspector found rodent droppings, soiled bedding and animal feces in the guest rooms. (Photo via Google Earth)

The new owners of a Des Moines hotel were recently granted a license after a state inspector found rodent droppings, soiled bedding and animal feces in the guest rooms.

During a Jan. 26 visit, state inspectors cited the Super 8 hotel at 4685 NE 14th St., Des Moines, for 12 violations – an unusually high number.

The visit was considered part of a routine, pre-opening inspection due to the hotel having changed ownership. Along with the nearby Baymont Inn & Suites, the Super 8 had been sold by Serenity Hospitality to Relianse Iowa in December 2022.

For a period of time, both hotels were operating without a valid license while owned by Relianse Iowa, a company that was formed last August as part of Relianse Global, a Texas company that invests in hotels and retail properties.

Relianse Iowa had been given until Dec. 30, 2022, to apply for a license for the Super 8 and to pay all of the related fees, but after failing to meet that deadline the company agreed to keep the Super 8 closed until the business was considered ready for inspection and reopening.

A state inspector happened to be visiting the nearby Baymont Inn & Suites on Jan. 26 when he noticed the Super 8 was open and had resumed hotel operations, despite the fact that it still had no license. When the inspector inquired about this and initiated an inspection, the general manager agreed to get online and apply for a license and pay all of the associated fees.

Although the inspection resulted in a dozen citations for violations, the license application was approved that day by the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals.

The inspector examined seven of the hotel’s 64 guest rooms. In room 254, the inspector reported “evidence of rodent activity,” with mouse droppings found on the two beds and on a chair. In addition, the mattress protector on one of the two beds showed signs of “chew marks.” The owner agreed to close the room to guests until he could provide documentation showing the room had been cleaned, sanitized and treated by a commercial pest control company.

In room 149, the inspector found food from a previous guest inside the refrigerator. In room 154, dog feces were observed on the wall near a window, the bathroom ceiling vent was visibly soiled, and there was debris of some kind on the lip of the bathtub. In room 155, the bed sheets were visibly stained and the glass window was broken.

In room 237, the deadbolt on the door of the guest room was missing and there were visible stains and debris on the walls. In room 252, the chair was visibly stained and the bathroom ceiling vent was visibly soiled. In room 246, there were visible stains and debris on the walls.

The inspector also noted water damage on the ceiling of a stairwell, and reported that the soffit in one area of the building was in disrepair and falling off. In the laundry room, the pipes behind the washing machines were “severely leaking,” the inspector reported, and there was water pooling on the floor.

Other hotels cited

Other Iowa hotels cited for violations in the past month include:

City Center Motel, 1138 State St., Bettendorf – During a Jan. 27 visit, Scott County inspectors cited the owners for several violations, including a “bedbug-infested mattress and box spring” and other debris found on the premises. The manager was advised to “keep the property cleaned and maintained.” The inspector also noted that the storage rooms were littered with debris, mouse droppings and clutter. The owner was advised to remove all items no longer in use. The motel was also cited for guest room bedding that was stained and torn. In addition, mouse droppings were found in the motel’s mechanical room. According to the inspector, most of the rooms were being rented for long-term stays, with only five of the 30 rooms treated as short-term motel rooms. Three of those five rooms were inspected.

Best Western Pioneer & Suites Hotel, 2110 W St., Grinnell – During a Jan. 31 visit, an inspector cited the establishment for operating without a valid license and for failing to post guests’ rights and the room rates. The hotel had undergone a change in ownership in August 2022 and had been operating without a license since that time. As part of the visit, six of the 57 guest rooms were inspected.

Days Inn & Suites, 1901 Hackley Ave., Des Moines – During a Feb. 7 inspection, the manager agreed to temporarily halt food service in the lobby due to imminent health hazards. The inspection was conducted in response to a non-illness complaint.  The inspector wrote in his report that the halt in food service was triggered by the facility being unable to properly sanitize dishes and being unable to provide a handwashing sink for the staff. In addition, the hotel was cited for not having a certified food protection manager in charge and for failing to ensure handwashing and the sanitization of utensils. Three days later, the inspector returned for a scheduled inspection and cited the hotel for six additional violations, including the inability of the manager to establish proper concentrations of sanitizing solution. Normal food-service operations were allowed to resume.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

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.