Ambassador Hotel finalizes deal with Autograph Collection by Marriott

WICHITA — The Ambassador Hotel has finalized a deal to become part of the growing Autograph Collection by Marriott.

Have You Heard? first reported the deal was a possibility in September.

“It’s been a big deal,” says Paul Coury, chairman of Tulsa-based Coury Group.

His Ambassador hotels in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Kansas City are part of the deal as well.

Coury says Marriott officials are “excited about the fact that they could bring four hotels into their brand.”

“It’s going to have a great impact on the people in the corporate world who want to stay at hotels that get reward points.”

Coury says the ramifications are huge for his hotels as well.

“Well, obviously, I did it because I think it’s going to have a big impact.”

Coury says the Autograph Collection is what’s known as a soft brand. The Ambassador will keep its own identity and add Autograph Collection by Marriott to its name.

He says Marriott has high standards and that the Ambassador already meets them.

“We basically had everything they were looking for.”

Not everyone is excited for the new brand, though.

“There were some objections,” Coury says.

He says there’s a process Marriott goes through when deciding if a hotel fits its brand. Part of that is getting the opinions of other Marriott franchisees in the area. None of them could be reached for comment for this story.

In October, the Tulsa Ambassador will be the first of Coury’s hotels to be rebranded. The Wichita Ambassador will follow in the third week of October.

Guests can’t start booking through Marriott until then.

“In the meantime, everything’s getting in place to make that conversion within the system and the training,” Coury says.

Other than that, Coury says he doesn’t have to do anything.

“Nothing,” he says. “That’s what’s beautiful.”

Siena Tuscan Steakhouse loses chef

UPDATED — Another person in what’s been a string of Ambassador Hotel employees coming and going – from the general manager on down – is gone.

This time, it’s executive chef Marshall Roth, who moved to Wichita to open the downtown hotel’s Siena Tuscan Steakhouse.

“We kind of just parted ways,” Roth says. “I need to do what’s right for myself, and they need to do what’s right for the hotel.”

Hotel owner Paul Coury says he’s a huge Roth fan.

“He’s a great guy,” Coury says.

Roth says he came to Wichita to be his mother’s caretaker. He says he recently was looking to hire more nurses for his mother. Now, he says, he won’t have to.

“I’m going to be taking care of my mom.”

Coury says Roth’s schedule of caring for his mother sometimes conflicted with his schedule at the restaurant.

Read More »

Ambassador Hotel closer to possible Autograph Collection by Marriott deal

WICHITA — Last fall, Have You Heard? reported that the Ambassador Hotel may become part of the growing Autograph Collection by Marriott.

At the time, Paul Coury, chairman of Tulsa-based Coury Group, said that he was looking into a soft brand concept.

He didn’t confirm that the Autograph Collection by Marriott was one of them. Nor is he confirming anything now.

However, it looks like the deal may be getting closer. There are still a few hurdles to go, though.

The soft brand trend allows boutique hotels to retain their independence but align themselves with the power of a large chain.

“We’re not where we originally hoped to be by now,” Coury said in September.

“I don’t think we did as good of a job as we needed to to get the major demand generators exposed to our product.”

He was referring to groups and businesses that can commit to annual contracts with hotels, often at the start of each new year.

“It’ll be fine,” Coury said. “It’s going to be a great property for us, and it fits well into the market we’re trying to develop.”

Look for more news soon.

Ambassador Hotel may align with Autograph Collection by Marriott

WICHITA — Wichita’s Ambassador Hotel, which has struggled since opening in January, may become part of the growing Autograph Collection by Marriott.

“I’m looking into soft brands,” says Paul Coury, chairman of Tulsa-based Coury Group.

The soft brand trend allows boutique hotels to retain their independence but align themselves with the power of a large chain.

Coury won’t confirm if he’s working on a deal for the Ambassador to become part of the Autograph Collection.

He does say, though, “If we were to do anything, it’s a good fit for what we do.”

Coury says a soft brand would allow the Ambassador to keep its name and individual style “but still maintain certain standards.”

“We’re not where we originally hoped to be by now,” he says.

“I don’t think we did as good of a job as we needed to to get the major demand generators exposed to our product.”

He’s referring to groups and businesses that can commit to annual contracts with hotels, often at the start of each new year.

“We’re getting ready to burn through 2013 pretty quick,” Coury says. “Once January rolls around, based on the feedback we’ve been receiving … we’ll reach the original projections.”

There are several hurdles, he says.

“Sometimes things don’t go the way you project,” Coury says. “I made some mistakes. I misread the market on some things.”

Read More »