The hotel business is one subject Michael Frimel understands. Wichita is another.
Frimel, general manager of downtown’s newest hotel, the Ambassador Wichita, is no stranger to the upscale hotel business or the Air Capital. He has 30 years running high-end hotels, and he spent two years in the early 1980s in Wichita.
“I’ve been with a variety of higher-end hotels – the Doubletree, Hilton, Hyatt – and I’ve moved up in virtually every single one of them, doing everything,” he said. “Front office, housekeeping, sales, catering, restaurants.”
And retail: Frimel was one of the staffers who opened the Target store at Towne East Square.
He’s been with Ambassador developer Paul Coury for almost six years, opening hotels in Oklahoma City, Fort Worth, Kansas City, Bartlesville and Tulsa while running the Ambassador Tulsa.
“We work to train our staff. We don’t have somebody standing at the door asking for tips and gratuities. Everything we do for you is included in the price. We may charge a little more, but it’s about personalized service and the feeling that ‘I’m not in a huge hotel where I’m Room 425.’ It’s about a level of service that isn’t daunting but is a memorable experience.”
“I think people saw an opportunity with the hotel to do something with the Henry’s building and the parking garage. I think Kansas Health was in the throes of the expansion anyway. It all says to me that Wichita’s ready to develop its downtown. If we happen to be that catalyst, great, but it’s not something we look at and say we were. We just think the timing is great.”