When luxury is a must, visitors look to Ambassador Hotel in Wichita to bring it. For anywhere from $219 a night to a robust tab of $1,500 for a night in the 1,600-square-foot condo-like Rockstar Suite on the 14th floor, the Ambassador Wichita boutique hotel is a place to lay your head. It’s the only Kansas hotel with a AAA Four-Diamond rating and was recently named the best hotel in Kansas by U.S. News & World Report.
Additionally, it’s a place for fine dining, a drink after work, a business meeting and is an elegant setting for a wedding reception or special event. The high-end, multi-purpose facility is centrally-located in Wichita’s downtown for easy access to entertainment and attractions, and also features an impeccable view of Wichita at night.
“It fits a niche that not many hotels do in Wichita,” said Tad Stricker, General Manager. “If you are wanting to entertain, feel special or host an upscale event, the Ambassador Hotel is the top choice.”
The Ambassador Hotel has a residential feel in its 13 suites plus the giant Rockstar suite, the latter the equivalent of four standard hotel rooms. The suite has room for a buffet, and has a refrigerator and ice machine that will accommodate large parties. It targets some of Wichita’s most famous guests, with the unusual multi-purpose complex of rooms that include unique features, such as a shower room for six, complete with a $7,000 pulsating light and water system. Notable guests include President Donald Trump, Peter Frampton, Dog the Bounty Hunter and Miss Kansas.
And then there’s the Siena Tuscan Steakhouse and Bar, with seating for 100 that is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. “Siena serves up a blend of classic and modern cuisine with local ingredients and home-made pasta daily,” said Stricker. “Additionally, Siena has earned awards of excellence from Wine Spectator and TripAdvisor.”
Susie Santo, president & CEO of Visit Wichita, said the Ambassador’s niche appeals to a variety of potential Wichita tourism recruits. “It really adds to the breadth of our portfolio,” Santo said. “From a leisure or business perspective, it appeals to the traveler looking for the boutique luxury experience.”
The Ambassador Hotel Wichita is part of Coury Hospitality, which operates luxury boutique hotels in historic buildings in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Kansas City, Mo.
The 14-story Union National Bank building, where the Ambassador Hotel resides today, was originally built in 1926. At that time, it was the tallest building in downtown Wichita.
The Chicago-style building was a banking destination for decades in Wichita. The Dockum Drug Store operated out of the first floor, and became famous in July 1958 as a site of a civil rights sit-in. It then sat vacant for more than a decade before a 1970s remodel.
In 2012, the building’s transformation into the Ambassador Hotel was complete and the hotel opened, spurring $40 million in public and private investment including the development of a city parking garage, rehabilitation of the long-vacant Henry’s Department Store, and the construction of the Kansas Leadership Center and Kansas Health Foundation Conference Center.
In addition to its many amenities, such as meeting facilities and fine dining, the Ambassador Hotel also offers a trendy speakeasy experience of the 1920s. Dockum, tucked in the basement of the Ambassador Hotel, provides an intimate bar atmosphere with a décor reminiscent of the historical drugstore that was housed in the Union National Bank building for decades.
Dockum opened its doors in October 2016. “Dockum provides an experience not like any other bar or lounge in Wichita. When you walk through the space, you’ll see the homage to Dockum Drug Store,” said Stricker.
In addition to the wide selection of craft cocktails, wine and beer, Dockum serves small plates and tapas. Although entrances to the speakeasies of the 1920s were hidden, the Dockum entrance is accessible by following the pharmacy signs in the hotel lobby.
Reservations are accepted at Dockum for individuals having dinner earlier in the evening at the Ambassador’s Siena Tuscan Steakhouse. Additionally, the original Union National Bank vault from 1926 is available to reserve as a private setting for parties with six to 18 people.
“The Ambassador Hotel experience, complete with dinner at Siena Tuscan Steakhouse and Bar and cocktails at Dockum Apothecary, is exactly the kind of destination essential to attracting visitors to Wichita,” said Santo. “And a destination is exactly what it is. It’s more than just a hotel. It’s a truly unique, luxurious experience to be had in the heart of downtown Wichita.”