Hotelier – one of the many titles the billionaire businessman has – Phil Ruffin is getting ready to build a new hotel in Wichita.
Of the 10 hotels Ruffin currently owns, two are in Wichita: the Wichita Marriott at Webb Road and Corporate Hills Drive and the Fairfield Inn & Suites in front of it, which also is a Marriott hotel.
“The original Fairfield on Webb Road was one of the first built in the country,” Ruffin says. “We were one of the first franchisees.”
He recently remodeled it, in part to add some suites that Marriott requested. Now, though, Marriott wants Ruffin to convert to the new style of Fairfield instead of the one he has.
“It’s a very nice hotel, but it’s old-style Marriott,” he says. “They don’t want them anymore. … It does not fit the criteria that Marriott wants.”
The chain wanted him to tear down the existing Fairfield and rebuild it on the same spot, but Ruffin says he decided to build a new Fairfield where his former East Pike building used to be. It’s near the other hotels at Kellogg and Webb Road but closer to Kellogg than the Marriott, Fairfield or most of the other ones congregated there.
The Pike building was the one covered in plastic a few years back while it was remediated and then torn down.
Ruffin says the Kellogg frontage will be great exposure for the approximately $10 million, 110-room hotel.
“We hope to open it … in about 12 months,” he says. “The old one we’ll have to rebrand something else.”
Ruffin says he hasn’t selected a new hotel brand yet.
The existing Fairfield has 100 rooms.
“We just remodeled the whole thing,” Ruffin says. “It’s a beautiful property. The rooms are just great.”