Tag Archives: Ambassador Hotel

Old hotel site coming back to life?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

One of my sons occasionally serves as my eyes and ears in Amarillo, Texas, where my wife and I lived for 23 years before we moved to the Metroplex.

He posted something today that piques my interest greatly: Well, I passed by the old Ambassador Hotel site today and noticed a banner for some construction and remodeling company on the fence. Could it be that someone is finally going to resurrect that place? About time!

Texas Panhandle residents might be interested in this little bit of news. You see, the Ambassador Hotel once was the place to see and be seen. It was that place when my wife and I arrived in Amarillo back in early 1995. It was located on Interstate 40 and served as a way station for motorists traveling through the city, not to mention for artists who performed in Amarillo or just those artists who were passing through. It served as a meeting place for conventions.

It closed its doors a few years ago after going through some changes in names and ownership. It has been laying fallow ever since.

Now, according to my watchdog son, someone has posted some signage on the property, preparing to resurrect the structure.

This is a good thing for the city. Yes, there has been an enormous hotel construction boom along the I-40 corridor for many years. None of the hotels, as near as I have been able to see, has provided the kind of “full service” that was available at The Ambassador.

With all the commercial and entertainment activity that has sprung up downtown, it appears our former city of residence is getting new life pumped into an old structure that once was the place to go.

Who knows? It might retrieve some of its old glory.

Hoping this hotel building lights up again

I am generally disinclined to comment on private business in this blog, but at this moment I am going to make an exception.

A big hotel building has been abandoned along Interstate 40 in Amarillo. It’s the Wyndham Hotel, formerly known as the Ambassador Hotel.

When it was the Ambassador, this hotel was the cream of the Amarillo hospitality crop. It used to be the go-to place for local and regional conventions. The Panhandle Press Association would meet there annually; when Rotary District 5730 held its conferences in Amarillo, it headquartered at the Ambassador.

Then it was sold to someone else. They changed the name to the Wyndham, which is a decent national brand, from what I was able to discern.

The Wyndham didn’t make it in Amarillo. The hotel owners turned out the lights, apparently so suddenly that employees were caught by total surprise.

The place has been dark for some time. I don’t know the particulars of what — if anything — is being done to bring new ownership to the building or whether the current owners will be able to lift themselves out of bankruptcy and reopen the structure.

I just hate seeing it sitting there vacant whenever I zip past the site on the north side of I-40. When I look at it, I think often of another vacant hotel site my wife and I see when we drive along U.S. 287 through Wichita Falls on our way to the Metroplex.

That hotel used to be the Radisson. It’s been dark for several years. It, too, sits on a piece of prime commercial real estate property. The bad news is that the former Radisson is getting shabbier, seedier and more run down every time we drive past it.

I do not want that fate to befall the former Wyndham site.

Amarillo’s future is looking too bright as its downtown revival progresses. Surely there must be a way to bring back this once-vibrant hospitality site.

My heart hopes for the best.