December 12, 2012

Ambassador Hotel to open on Dec. 26

The Ambassador Hotel Wichita will open sooner than officials previously thought.

The Ambassador Hotel Wichita will open sooner than officials previously thought.

Officials of the upscale hotel at Douglas and Broadway said Tuesday that the hotel’s 117 rooms, conference facilities and the Siena Tuscan Steakhouse restaurant will be open for business Dec. 26.

“We’re able to get in a little bit sooner,” said Ambassador general manager Michael Frimel.

“It’s been a long haul. I remember the day we started tearing the walls out.”

The opening is a few days earlier than originally planned. In October the Ambassador said it would open on New Year’s Eve with a party from 7 p.m. to 1:45 a.m. that will benefit the Orpheum Theatre.

That event is still on; officials continue to take reservations for the party only and for five different packages that include the party and an overnight stay.

Advanced sales at the $22.5 million hotel have exceeded expectations, officials said.

The Ambassador is housed in the refurbished, 14-story building first opened in 1926 by the former Union National Bank. In addition to standard guest rooms, it will have 11 suites as well as the 1,500-square-foot Rock Star Suite, which is on the hotel’s 14th floor. Amenities will include complimentary guest transportation using a Cadillac Escalade as well as 24-hour room service.

The hotel is part of the Ambassador Hotel Collection, which includes similar upscale, boutique hotels in Kansas City and Tulsa developed by Paul Coury.

It is a private-public partnership and is receiving $15 million in public incentives.

Partners include Coury, the city, Old Town developer Dave Burk and Dave Wells of Key Construction. Key is the hotel’s general contractor.

The Ambassador is one of several projects under way on a downtown city block that has been branded Block One. Other projects on Block One — bounded by Douglas to the north, William to the south, Topeka to the east and Broadway to the west — include the Kansas Leadership Center, a public parking garage with retail planned for the first floor, and the former Henry’s department store building.

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