March 3, 2014

Wichita Marriott hotel’s $5 million renovation complete

A $5 million renovation project at the Wichita Marriott hotel near east Kellogg and the Kansas Turnpike is complete.

A $5 million renovation project at the Wichita Marriott hotel near east Kellogg and the Kansas Turnpike is complete.

The 10-month-long project encompassed nearly the entire ground floor of the 11-story, 294-room hotel at 9100 Corporate Hills Drive, said general manager Michelle Ruffin-Stein.

“We basically tore everything down and started from scratch,” said Ruffin-Stein, who added that the hotel remained in operation throughout the renovation.

She said it was the first extensive renovation of the hotel’s ground floor since the hotel opened in 1987. It follows a renovation of the hotel’s guest rooms about four years ago, she said.

The hotel is owned by Ruffin Properties.

The hotel’s lobby, front desk (now a series of pods), restaurants, ballrooms and meeting rooms were among the spaces transformed. The project also added 3,128 square feet of meeting space by converting space that used to house Corrigan’s Sports Bar and prior to that the once-popular east-side nightclub Charades.

Another change moved the concierge lounge from the 11th floor to the first; it’s now the M Lounge, for private use by Marriott Rewards members.

“Our meeting space is in such high demand,” Ruffin-Stein said of the decision to add a meeting room, which is now called the Corporate Hills Ballroom.

She said the hotel now has 17,128 square feet of meeting and banquet space.

The contractor was Crossland Construction and the architect was GH2, based in Tulsa.

The renovation was done using Marriott’s “Greatroom Lobby” concept, which has opened up many areas that were previously walled off on the main floor of the Wichita Marriott. The bar and part of the dining space, for example, now flows into the hotel lobby.

The renovation has given the main floor of the the hotel a more contemporary look, with clean lines; earth tones and textures – lots of stone and wood; and modern fixtures and furniture.

“We like to call it stylish and polished,” Ruffin-Stein said.

She said even though Marriott has a specific model for the “Greatroom Lobby” concept, the hotel was able to add some touches of Kansas, such as wood ceiling beams cut in wavy patterns that are representative of the state’s Flint Hills.

Marriott Hotels & Resorts spokesman John Wolf said the Greatroom Lobby is a signature feature of Marriott Hotels and that 70 percent of the brand’s 500 properties have it. All 500 are expected to have the Greatroom Lobby by the end of 2015, he said.

In addition to the renovations, Wichita Marriott has refreshed its food and beverage menus.

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