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Saloon Hotel Peters Out

By Lavender August 13, 2010

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Bar’s Upstairs Sibling Succumbs to Financial and Bedbug Woes

According to Keith Spohn, Manager of both the Saloon Hotel and Saloon Bar, sibling businesses in the same building with respective addresses of 828 and 830 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, the hotel, occupying the upper two floors, officially closed on July 18. Saloon Bar owners John Moore and James “Andy” Anderson also own the Saloon Hotel.

Originally known as Hotel Amsterdam, and later rechristened Saloon Hotel, the establishment opened in 1994 as the brainchild of controversial then-Manager Tim Romans, then-Manager of the Saloon Bar as well, who envisioned a place for assignation to complement the bar downstairs. Indeed, a substantial portion of the hotel’s business during its 16-year-existence came from guests who met at the bar, then needed somewhere to further their encounter.

Recently, the Saloon Hotel apparently suffered a marked decline financially. When asked why it closed, Spohn admitted that it “wasn’t cost-effective—it was a matter of not making money.”

In addition, the Saloon Hotel deteriorated physically. An unnamed guest from Duluth in town for the Twin Cities Half Marathon who stayed there July 3-4, just two weeks before it closed, posted this description on the TripAdvisor.com website: “I see holes punched in the wall. Cigarette burns on the carpet. No working televisions. Bathrooms unkempt.”

Regarding the hotel’s clientele, the website poster put it this way: “The parade of prostitutes with cigarettes behind their ears, creepy [persons] staring at my backpack and looking to see what room I was getting.”

A List of Incidents at the Saloon Hotel for the period January 1, 2009, to July 30, 2010, obtained from the Minneapolis Police Department, contains 41 reports. They included nine “Unwanted Person”; four “Disturbance”; four “Domestic”; three “Assault in Progress”; three “Drunk/Intoxicated Person”; two “Emotionally Disturb Person”; one “Burglary Business-Report”; one “Customer Trouble”; one “Suspicious Person”; one “Threats”; and one “Unknown Trouble.”

Another nail in the coffin of the Saloon Hotel was a repeated infestation the past two years of Cimex lectularius, i.e., Bedbugs, reddish-brown insects that feed preferentially on human blood. A Minneapolis Department of Regulatory Services Complaint Inspection Report (CIR) dated May 6, 2009, noted a “mass infestation of bed bugs resulting in the entire hotel being evacuated.” A CIR dated April 2, 2010, stated: “Complainant stayed at the hotel within the last three days and has several bites on his body from bed bugs.”

Regarding another entomological problem, a CIR dated June 11, 2010, detailed: “Caller’s husband started itching immediately. Caller calling from HCMC. Caller complaining that their stay in hotel [resulted in] scabies.” It’s a contagious itch caused by parasitic mites.

When asked about the future of the former Saloon Hotel space, Spohn stated that it probably would remain vacant, as the cost of bringing it up to current city code would be prohibitive.

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