Rooms from $109.99 a night.
This hotel offers comfortable and spiffed-up lodgings in a storied building in the heart of Wichita. Opened in 1922 as the Broadview Hotel, the 200-room property now run by Drury Hotels received a $29 million makeover in 2011 that modernized its interior and shifted its entrance to face the tranquil Arkansas River. When the Broadview made its debut, it was considered one of the grandest hotels in the Midwest, situated by the historic Chisholm Trail, where cattle were driven between Texas and Kansas. Some of its history is reflected in the pictures of old Wichita on its walls, but its interiors are otherwise 21st century. Plump sofas, desks and well-air-conditioned public lounge areas channel the feel of any number of large hotel chains catering to the business traveler.
The downtown location places it near significant Wichita landmarks. The hotel is right by the Century II Performing Arts and Convention Center, an easy walk to the lively bars and cafes of the Delano neighborhood and a short drive from the Old Town entertainment hub, where warehouses have been refurbished to house theaters, restaurants and boutiques.
I opted for a suite since the room rate was the same as that of the regular room, a temporary special, during my 2012 stay. This gave me a living room and bedroom -- both of average size, each with a 37-inch LCD television and unremarkable hotel furnishings. The extras made up for it -- all rooms have free Wi-Fi, 60 minutes of free long-distance domestic or local phone calls, a microwave, refrigerator and coffee maker. My suite's sofa was also a pull-out bed. One drawback: No light fixture in or anywhere near my closet meant I had to pick out clothing in darkness.
A spartan affair awash with harsh, bright lighting. A dispenser by the bathtub held shampoo, conditioner and body wash. A hair dryer, a bar of soap and a small bottle of body lotion were the only other extras.
Besides a gym, pool and two hot tubs -- one of which was outdoors on a lovely deck overlooking the river -- the hotel offered free soda and popcorn from 3 to 10 p.m., washers and dryers and a business center. There was an impressive "Kickback" happy hour that allowed each guest to get three free beverages -- wine, mixed drinks and beer. The buffet spread, also free, during the happy hour was the stuff of children's dreams, featuring baked potatoes, a nacho station, chicken strips, hot dogs and macaroni and cheese. The hotel restaurant, AVI Seabar & Chophouse, also offered steaks and seafood for those hungry for more. There was also a free airport shuttle, which during my visit could be employed for other purposes, apparently. When I expressed curiosity about the Delano neighborhood, the accommodating desk clerk offered to have the shuttle take me over.
There is no room service. The breakfast buffet on the mezzanine level sounded great on paper, but the spread of warm biscuits, gravy, scrambled eggs and pancakes turned out to be a little lacking in flavor, reminiscent of college dorm fare. Dense doughnuts and Danishes had a gas-station counter quality to them.
A pleasant property, if a little generic inside, that will appeal to business travelers and those with children.
Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview, 400 West Douglas Avenue, Wichita, Kan.; (316) 262-5000
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.