Des Moines Gets a New Boutique Hotel

Surety Hotel opens in Iowa today

Surety Hotel Lobby
Credit Jason Thomas Crocker.

Jason Thomas Crocker

On November 11, downtown Des Moines will get a new boutique hotel. The 137-room Surety Hotel is inside the restored 1913 Hippee building, a Beaux-Arts Classicism-style architectural gem that was Iowa’s tallest building when it first went up. Originally built for The Iowa Loan & Trust Company, the hotel is aptly named after a surety bond, which is the promise of someone to have your back.

The interior design by Slingshot Architecture and DLR Group preserves many of the building’s historical features, like the 12-story main staircase, the ornate mail chute that runs down the structure’s entire length, and the bank space on the main level that still has its original vault doors. The hotel’s luxe interiors are outfitted in marble, hand-applied artisan plaster, hardwood millwork, heathered tweed, buttery leathers, and metals like copper and zinc. The 1920s-inspired color palette features cognac brown, green, and burgundy, and black accents. The hotel collaborated with local galleries Olson Larsen Gallery, Liz Lidgett Gallery & Design, and Moberg Gallery on 28 specially commissioned pieces by local Iowan artists.

Surety Hotel guest room
Jason Thomas Crocker

Guest rooms feature original maple wood flooring and large windows, with marble hexagon tile-floored bathrooms. Nine corner studios overlook the county courthouse, including the Marchande Suite, the hotel’s presidential suite with a large living space, kitchenette, and bar. 

The large, open lobby features original vaulted, coffered ceilings and ground-glass skylights that once looked down upon the former bank space. The lobby will house a coffee parlor during the day, which will transform into a chic cocktail bar come evening. Coffee and tea are by BLK & Bold, which donates a percentage of all profits back to youth programs, and it will be served in custom ceramics from Alfar Pottery, based in nearby Ames, Iowa. Iowan company Currently Co. created a signature scent for the hotel, with tailor-made candles available for purchase in the lobby. 

Surety Hotel
Jason Thomas Crocker

The hotel restaurant, Mulberry Street Tavern, offers global-inspired spins on traditional tavern fare. Executive Chef Marque Collins’ signature dishes include a local tomahawk ribeye with horseradish cream and “De Burgo” sauce, Vadouvan curried mussels, and a pub burger. The tavern also has a robust bar program, with signature cocktails named after references to Des Moines. On tap are brews by local and regional breweries like Confluence Brewing Company, Exile Brewing Co., and Toppling Goliath Brewery, and there are also curated whiskey flights. Just outside the tavern's doors is a 2,220-square-foot lush courtyard showcasing a bespoke neon sign that reads, “City of Certainties,” after Des Moines’ early-20th century nickname. The last neon vendor in Iowa handcrafted it. Courtyard seating for restaurant customers is set to debut in 2021.

Located in the heart of the downtown financial district, the hotel is a short walk to the city’s farmers market and the chic boutiques, galleries, and cafes of Des Moines’ Court Avenue entertainment district. Surety Hotel is the latest property to launch by Aparium Hotel Group, whose award-winning portfolio also includes Kansas City’s Crossroads Hotel, Detroit Foundation Hotel, and Tampa’s Hotel Haya.

To make a reservation, visit or call (954) 647-5242. Starting rates begin at $179, and advance purchase non-refundable rates start at $152.

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