|By Robert Evatt, Tulsa World,
Okla.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Feb. 02, 2013 -- The new Wingate by Wyndham Tulsa isn't just the first Wingate-branded hotel in Tulsa.
It's also a new chapter for Has and Kay Patel after the reconstruction of Interstate 44 interrupted their plans to establish their hospitality business in the city.
The $5.5 million, 66-room hotel at 2854 E. 51st St., which opened in late November, is the second hotel they've operated in the area.
The Patels, who are in-laws, had been operating a hotel in Lanesboro, Mass., when they decided to make a new start in Tulsa.
"We were looking for a better place for our family and for our business," Kay Patel said.
In 2005 the two bought a vacant Howard Johnson hotel near I-44 and Harvard Avenue and turned it into a success. Unfortunately, they hadn't heard of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation's plans to widen the interstate through Tulsa, which would require the demolition of many buildings and businesses -- including the Howard Johnson.
"We were shocked when we found out," Kay Patel said. "We didn't know what would happen."
As a result, the two weren't able to carry out planned renovations, and in 2008 they had to vacate the hotel when ODOT took possession. The building wasn't demolished until 2010.
The business partners decided to rebuild, but that took more money than they were given by ODOT, plus the economy made things even worse, Has Patel said.
"It was a tough time," he said. "Banks had stopped giving out loans for hotel construction."
Fortunately the Wyndham umbrella of hotels, which includes Howard Johnson, was impressed by their work on the Tulsa property and granted them the license for Wingate.
The new hotel is the second Wingate in Oklahoma, after one in Oklahoma City.
The license helped the Patels land a loan with Triad Bank, and they began construction in late 2011.
Wyndham granted the Patels some leeway -- permission to deviate from the standard Wingate design and create something unique, Kay Patel said.
"We wanted a bright, open look," she said. "They don't usually allow people to deviate from their design, but they liked what we picked."
That's why Wingate by Wyndham Tulsa has an open, two-story lobby area with boldly curving walls and decor. Everything is done in bright earth tones, from the wallpaper to the furniture -- all personally picked by the Patels.
The Wingate brand specializes in business travelers, so all rooms feature wireless Internet, desks with higher-end office chairs, and sleek cordless phones.
All rooms also have microwave ovens, refrigerators and deluxe shower heads, with some featuring whirlpool bathtubs, and some suites incorporate a jacuzzi into the main room.
Wingate by Wyndham Tulsa also has a breakfast area, a meeting room for 40, an indoor pool and a market area in the lobby.
Robert Evatt 918-581-8447 firstname.lastname@example.org
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