Area Hotels Given Clean Bill Of Health

According to county hotel inspection records, Majestic Mountain Inn is a picture of health with no violations in its file.

According to county hotel inspection records, Majestic Mountain Inn is a picture of health with no violations in its file. |

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Ever wonder when the last time the sheets were changed or if anyone has ever vacuumed under the bed? Luckily, area guests can relax.

County health records give Rim Country hotels a clean bill of health for well, staying clean.

The Roundup requested inspection records dating back several years for 21 area hotels/motels from the Gila County Health Department.

Records reveal nearly no establishment had recent violations and the few that did were minor, ranging from dirty baseboards to adding new caulking around tubs and screening windows.

Shane Stuler, Gila County Division of Health and Emergency Services environmental health manager, said it is rare to see anything beyond minor fixes and that most hotels do a good job cleaning and sanitizing rooms.

Gila County inspectors check hotels once a year, looking for 31 things like clean bedding, hot and cold water in the bathrooms and rooms free of vermin.

Insects are always high on Stuler’s list when he looks through rooms.

He says he checks the corners for spiders and cockroaches and looks under the mattress for bed bugs. There has never been any evidence of bed bugs in the Rim Country, he said.

While other cities and states have grappled with a near infestation of the inextricable bugs, the Rim Country has been spared.

There is only one customer complaint of bed bugs in a room in 2006 and a county inspector found no evidence of the bugs.

Spiders are more common, especially in the outlying areas like Christopher Creek where there can be more bugs in the older-style cabins. However, the health department receives few customer complaints about hotels and most date back several years.

If a hotel is dirty or insect-ridden, it will not stay open long because no one will visit it, Stuler said.

Although hotels are required to maintain some health standards to receive a permit to operate from the county, there are no state or federal hotel requirements regarding cleanliness.

David F. Nance, with the Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association, said hotels must comply with all local and state health codes, however, there are no industry specific regulations currently.

The state did have a hotel/motel sanitization statute in the administrative code, but it expired in June 2007 when the Arizona Department of Health Services did not renew it.

Stuler said he only learned a few weeks ago that that code had expired. The county does not have a written code of its own and generally follows the state’s statute. While that statute is null, county inspections still rely on the guidelines, although Stuler said they need updating.

Most hotels follow “standard practices of the industry” and change sheets and towels between guests, clean bathrooms and offer clean drinking cups, Stuler said.

If a hotel is not minding these common practices, the county works with owners and managers to fix the issues before shutting them down.

Stuler said it would take a lot to close a hotel and most likely, the issue would have to pose an imminent health hazard, such as a bed bug infestation.

This year’s inspections of both rooms and hotel kitchens, if breakfast is served, turned up few issues.

According to records, the Budget Inn, 302 S. Beeline Highway, was instructed to clean the corners and baseboards; the Days Inn, 301 S. Beeline Highway, label chemical bottles; Comfort Inn, 206 S. Beeline Highway, sanitize dishes after cleaning; Paysonglo Lodge, 1005 S. Beeline Highway, add caulking around tubs and replace bath mats; Star Valley Motel, 3758 E. Highway 260, add working screens to windows, Kohls Ranch, 202 S. Kohl’s Ranch Lodge Road, sanitize dishware between guests; and the Creekside Cabins, 1520 E. Christopher Creek Loop, screen windows.

Although no hotels have been dinged recently, several inspections noted hotels needing to clean behind headboards.

One of the hotels that didn’t have any dings in its record is the Majestic Mountain Inn, 602 E. Highway 260, which has also been voted readers’ favorite a number of years in the Roundup’s Best of Rim Country awards.

Manager Brenda Long said hotel staff takes cleanliness seriously.

“We have very high standards,” Long said. “We are constantly doing inspections before guest arrivals and we are very dedicated to customer service.”

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