Hotel at Old Town borrows Neiman Marcus gift idea

WICHITA — If you’re desperately seeking that special last-minute gift, perhaps for the person who already has everything, Michael Frimel wants to talk to you.

The vice president of sales and marketing at the Hotel at Old Town is taking a page from the annual Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog, which offers what it calls “fantasy gifts” that are outrageously priced, one-of-a-kind presents.

Frimel’s idea is to sell the entire hotel and its banquet space for New Year’s Eve 2014 – that’s next New Year’s.

“It’s the ultimate Christmas gift, which is why I think now is the perfect time,” he says.

He’s selling it for $123,120.14.

Fourteen cents? Does that really matter on a $123,000 tab?

“Look at it from a date perspective,” Frimel says.

That’s Dec. 31, 2014.

“So that’s the price tag,” Frimel says. “That includes guest room accommodations for 114 of your favorite couples. It includes all of your food and beverages.”

Read More »

Jack DeBoer creates new VP position for former Ambassador GM Michael Frimel

UPDATED — The new vice president of sales and marketing for the Hotel at Old Town and the Hotel at WaterWalk is a familiar face in the Wichita hotel world.

Michael Frimel, who was the former general manager of the Ambassador Hotel, has the newly created job.

“He reports directly to me,” says hotelier Jack DeBoer.

Former Hotel at Old Town general manager Sheila Cole and former director of sales Amy Grossman now hold the same positions at the 6-month old Ambassador. DeBoer is suing them for alleged breach of fiduciary duty, the destruction of evidence and the misappropriation of trade secrets, among other things.

DeBoer says Frimel’s hiring has nothing to do with Cole and Grossman or where they went.

“It has absolutely no connection,” he says. “I met him after all that confusion.”

He says Frimel wanted to stay in Wichita and contacted him about a job. DeBoer says he’d already hired Jennifer Finlay as general manager for the Hotel at Old Town. He says she’s worked for the hotel for a decade.

“That was easy,” DeBoer says of hiring her. “She’s terrific.”

Frimel says he didn’t immediately call DeBoer after resigning from the Ambassador at the end of May because he considered getting out of the hotel business.

“This allowed me to, number one, keep my family here,” says Frimel, who has a son going into high school.

He says this position will allow him to focus more on sales and marketing, which he says is something he loves.

“I will talk to anybody about anything,” he says.

Frimel hasn’t discussed his departure from the Ambassador publicly yet, but he says there’s no story beyond his choice to do something else with a new company.

“There’s really not,” he says. “It was definitely my decision.”

DeBoer says he’s still looking for a few more sales people.

“We’re just beefing up.”

Although the lawsuit is yet to be resolved, DeBoer says he doesn’t want his staff at the Hotel at Old Town or at the Hotel at WaterWalk dwelling on what happened with the hotel departures.

“It’s forbidden at both hotels to talk about that whole issue,” he says. “It’s over. It’s done with. … Our job is to get on with it.”

You don’t say

“I’m thrilled it’s such a hot commodity.”

Ambassador Hotel general manager Michael Frimel on how all 11 of the hotel’s $2,000 New Year’s Eve packages sold before invitations even went out (other price ranges are still available)

You don’t say

“I can actually look out my window and see the property and keep an eye on the progress, which is pretty exciting.”

Michael Frimel of the Ambassador Wichita on leasing office space at Broadway Plaza until the hotel at Douglas and Broadway is ready later this year