Hot Tulsa hotels make for great holiday staycation
BY NICOLE MARSHALL MIDDLETON & JASON ASHLEY WRIGHT World Scene Writers
Thursday, November 29, 2012
11/29/12 at 5:51 AM
From chic, modern retreats to upscale art deco accommodations - Tulsa's hotel scene is booming.
Hotels featuring nearby fine dining, uniquely themed rooms and an elevated attention to service are trending. Hundreds of new rooms have opened here in the past few years with more on the way.
And the amenities aren't just for tourists. We deserve a little hometown pampering as much as they do.
Hoteliers tell us that Tulsans are booking rooms for staycations to remember, whether they want an evening downtown without the worrisome drive home or just want to get the kids out of the house while enjoying an area hotel water playland.
Here are some of the hot hotels in Tulsa. Perhaps one would be perfect for a family getaway during the holidays.
1324 S. Main St.
The Ambassador is often credited with reigniting the trend of boutique hotels in the area, and its attention to customer service is usually credited.
Perennially ranked in one of the top two positions on TripAdvisor's list of best hotels in Tulsa, the hotel is part of the namesake Ambassador Hotel Collection, which has new properties in Kansas City and one coming in two weeks to Wichita and another to Oklahoma City next year, said Shonda Linn, the hotel's spokeswoman.
The rooms and suites - only seven per floor - are spacious and were updated a couple years ago, with triple-sheeted pillow-top bedding and designer fabrics, Linn said. A lobby renovation will begin in the first quarter of 2013.
In addition to complimentary amenities like parking, wireless and shuttle service within five miles of the hotel, the Ambassador is also home to the Chalkboard restaurant. Having also recently undergone a renovation, the Chalkboard serves breakfast (try the stuffed French toast), lunch (the Hearts of Romaine Caesar with capers and garlic) and dinner (a coin toss between the filet and sage gnocchi with seared chicken).
For more, call the Ambassador, 918-587-8200.
Fairfield Inn & Suites - Downtown Tulsa
111 N. Main St.
The newest kid on the hotel block is this $10.5 million, 104-room property in the bustling Brady Arts District, much of which has undergone a revamp over the past year.
Now the district's first hotel, the Fairfield has a brick design that blends well with the rest of Brady's denizens, a visual clue to the hotel's key perk: connectivity to the rest of the neighborhood.
Other than an indoor pool, free breakfast and cool interior design, the hotel isn't many steps away from entertainment options - including three on the first floor: Pryhme Steakhouse, which just opened, and the Mediterranean restaurant Laffa and a lounge named Blu, which are coming soon.
"Nothing's hotter than the trend of walkable urbanism," said Brittany Sawyer, spokeswoman for SJS Hospitality, which operates the hotel.
For more, call Fairfield Inn & Suites, 918-879-1800.
Courtyard Tulsa Downtown
415 S. Boston Ave.
Opened in 2010, this Marriott hotel was among the first big signs after the BOK Center's debut that downtown was coming back to life.
What stands out most about this hotel, also managed by SJS Hospitality, is its location: the 1920s Art Deco Atlas Life Building, with its iconic neon sign and Greek-god Atlas sculpture staring down to the street below.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, SJS went out of its way to retain original elements from the first-floor handcrafted ceiling to marble walls, flooring, even door handles, Sawyer said.
The first floor is public retail, featuring art galleries, the Atlas Grill, Courtyard Deli, Supercuts and the Tulsa Press Club, which has been part of the city's history for more than a century, Sawyer pointed out.
On the second floor, you'll find a bistro area with a bar/lounge and Starbucks, as well as handy-dandy GoBoard virtual-concierge touchscreens.
Figure out a way to see the 1,500-square-foot VIP Atlas Suite, which features two bedrooms, two and a half baths, and a living/dining room, plus custom doors and sinks imported from Italy.
For more, call 918-508-7400.
The Campbell Hotel
2636 E. 11th St.
We're not fond of throwing around the word "unique" - unless it comes to the Campbell, which is different from any other hotel in the Tulsa area - and on Route 66, no less.
Once the home of the late Casa Loma Hotel, the Max W. Campbell building sat derelict for years until Group M Investment purchased it in 2008 and last year allowed the annual Designer Showcase and its bevy of local interior designers to refurbish it.
Until a cocktail with friends on Halloween, we hadn't been back to the Campbell since Designer Showcase, but many of the rooms are still the same - all themed, from fun and funky to romantic and sumptuous, such as the dramatic bridal suite with its onyx-tiled bathroom and floating sleigh bed under a cupola ceiling.
Newer additions to this one-of-a-kind boutique hotel are a bar and a cozy spa, where you can have your hair cut, nails manicured and skin pampered by facials or massages.
The owners have filed permits and are in the process of building a restaurant on the building's west end, Group M's Barbara Casey said.
"Then we will have a full breakfast and room service available to the hotel," she said. "Then we will be done."
For more, call 918-744-5500.
Aloft - Downtown Tulsa Sixth Street and Denver Avenue
All eyes will be on this hotel when it opens at the end of February. The 11-story building that housed Tulsa's former City Hall is undergoing a transformation into an upscale, midcentury modern hotel.
TOCH LLC - made up of Brickhugger LLC and investors Neal Bhow, Lee Levinson and Bruce Taylor - purchased the site from the city for $1.3 million. Brickhugger principals John and Tori Snyder, along with their daughter, Macy Amatucci, redeveloped the historic Mayo Hotel and the Detroit Lofts.
There are 190 rooms in the hotel, which is at the center of the Tulsa Civic Center Historic Plaza. The opening will be celebrated in conjunction with the annual Up With Trees Gala, which will be held at the Aloft on April 26, Amatucci said.
"The rooms and the lobby are all very, very modern and super colorful, but it is all still comfortable," she said.
The lobby will feature the Aloft hotel's signature blue pool table, and there will be two banquet spaces. The hotel's restaurant has not been decided, but there will be a swimming pool and the w xyz bar, another constant for the Aloft hotel chain.
The proximity to the BOK Center and the Convention Center will be a strong draw for the downtown Aloft, as well. The other Tulsa Aloft hotel - also an upscale modern facility - is located at 6716 S. 104th East Ave., close to Tulsa's largest shopping district near the intersection of 71st Street and U.S. 169.
The Mayo 115 West Fifth Street
This art deco boutique hotel has reclaimed its place in the spotlight.
Built in 1925, The Mayo hotel drew many distinguished guests and Hollywood stars, John F. Kennedy, Clark Gable, Elvis Presley, Mae West and Babe Ruth.
Yet, it sat empty for nearly 30 years before the Snyder family purchased the property in 2001 and began a $40 million restoration. Apartment tenants began moving into the Mayo in the summer of 2009 and the grand opening for the hotel was in December of that year.
And the celebrities have once again sought out this hotel's accommodations.
"Back in the day, all of the celebrities would stay here and that is what is happening again," said Macy Amatucci, owner and director of sales. "It is almost like that tradition has continued."
Britney Spears, Bob Dylan, Lady Gaga and George Clooney are some of the stars who have stayed at the new Mayo.
"They like it because it is a boutique hotel, but it is also so unique here," she said.
With 102 hotel rooms, Amatucci said it is a smaller hotel and guests can enjoy the personal service.
"I think they feel at home because it has the feel of a bigger city hotel, but they can also get that level of service that they are looking for," she said. "People request all sort of crazy things, and we will go out and shop for them before they get here."
The restaurant Trula and Penthouse Bar, which has spectacular views from the rooftop, are also big draws to The Mayo.
For more, call 918-582-6296.
The Wyndham Hotel Tulsa 10918 E. 41st St.
Sometime you need a getaway, but your kids do, too. That's where Leapin' Louie's comes in.
The buzz for a family staycation in Tulsa is all about The Wyndham where young children can enjoy a water playland. The hotel even books Leapin' Louie's for birthday parties, said general manager Brian Tarvin.
"I moved here in February from Dallas and as I was meeting people, I kept hearing people say that they had come here at some point for a birthday party with their young children," Tarvin said.
Tarvin explained that Leapin' Louie's was designed for kids about 9 years old and younger and includes a red tube slide, water cannon, rope bridge and a palm tree with a water display. The water playland is under going yearly maintenance and will reopen Saturday.
The hotel building was built in the mid-1980s and previously housed a Sheraton and a Radisson. It was rebranded as a Wyndham last year in June.
"We did almost $11 million renovations and now have 320 brand new rooms with a renovated restaurant, sports lounge and lobby," Tarvin said, adding that the hotel also offers 15,000 square feet of banquet space.
For more, call 918-627-5000.
Find time for a getaway, drink at hot hotels' bars
Most of Tulsa's hot hotels have bars or lounges that offer a mini getaway.
We enjoyed an evening at The Campbell Hotel's bar where the bartender made us his specialty - a Caribbean Murder, a well-blended, fruity rum drink.
The Penthouse Bar at The Mayo offers great views of the city with comfortable seating and high-style, art deco atmosphere.
The Penthouse was once a presidential suite where distinguished guests stayed. Enjoy a drink named after one of those guests - like Marilyn Monroe - or a local beer or glass of Girouard wine.
The new Aloft Hotel that will open downtown in February will feature the hotel chain's signature bar, w xyz
The bar will be in a new building north of the hotel, which is being built in the former City Hall.
"It will open up to the swimming pool so people can hang out around the pool with their drinks, which is a new concept for Tulsa," Macy Amatucci said. "It will not only attract hotel guests but local people, as well."
Check out other hotels
Here some other hotels in the Tulsa area that are well known for conferences and local events.
Crowne Plaza Hotel - Southern Hills, 7902 S. Lewis Ave., 918-492-5000
Doubletree Hotel Downtown, 616 W. Seventh St., 918-587-8000
Doubletree Hotel at Warren Place, 6110 S. Yale Ave., 918-495-1000
Holiday Inn Tulsa City Center, 17 W. Seventh St., 918-585-5898
Hyatt Regency Tulsa, 100 E. Second St., 918-582-9000
Rennaissance Tulsa Hotel and Convention Center, 6808 S. 107th East Ave., 918-307-2600
Price Tower, 510 S. Dewey Ave. Bartlesville, 918-336-4949
Tulsa Marriott Southern Hills, 1902 E. 71st St., 918-493-7000
Original Print Headline: Room at the inn
Jason Ashley Wright 918-581-8483 Nicole Marshall Middleton 918-581-8459
Joe Gagliardi works at the front desk of the Mayo Hotel. CHRISTOPHER SMITH/ Tulsa World
The Ambassador Hotel CHRISTOPHER SMITH/ Tulsa World file
Ambassador HotelCHRISTOPHER SMITH/ Tulsa World
Fairfield Inn & Suites — Downtown Tulsa MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World
The Mayo Hotel
the Wyndham Hotel Tulsa
The Courtyard Tulsa Downtown and Aloft–Downtown Tulsa
Courtyard Tulsa Downtown CHRISTOPHER SMITH/ Tulsa World
Courtyard Tulsa Downtown CHRISTOPHER SMITH/ Tulsa World
The Campbell Hotel STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World
The former City Hall building is inthe process of being transformed intoan Aloft hotel.CHRISTOPHER SMITH/Tulsa World
Children play in the water fountains at the Wyndham Hotel’s water playground inTulsa. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World