|By Dan Voorhis, The Wichita Eagle, Kan.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Nov. 8, 2005 - The eight-year old Hyatt Regency Wichita is getting a facelift next year.
The hotel is spending $3 million to install new beds, furniture and decor in its 303 rooms.
The work will be done by contract crews working two floors at a time over nine weeks, beginning in January.
The decor is moving toward a more brown/beige combination and a sleeker design. The televisions will be 42- inch flat-screen LCD versions. The beds have new pillow top mattresses.
Although the city of Wichita owns the hotel, the money comes from funds set aside during the hotel's ongoing operations. However, the city did contribute $800,000 to the hotel's furniture and fixtures fund when the city took over ownership in 2001, according to the original management contract.
The renovation is more of an insurance policy than a response to competition, said general manager Jeff Pace.
The hotel is performing well financially, Pace said. It pulls in many visitors in town for aviation business and a fair amount of convention traffic.
The Hyatt must maintain its position as the premier hotel in Wichita, Pace said.
"We don't intend to be one of the best in town," Pace said. "If you wait too long before you renovate, then you're in decline," he said.
But the Hyatt's status could change if hotel-developer John Q. Hammons decides to build a 250- to 300-room Embassy Suites next to the arena, as he has said he would.
Pace said while another high-end hotel would hurt the Hyatt in the competition for individuals, it could help it by fostering more convention traffic.
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