Business has brought me to Wichita, Kansas this week.  Wichita is home to a number of aviation-related industries, including general aviation stalwarts Cessna and Bombardier Learjet.  My lodging choice for this week is the Residence Inn Wichita East at Plazzio.  This is my first Marriott stay in well over a year, and I have not been disappointed.  I never purposely avoided Marriott Rewards properties in the first place, and in fact, I like Marriott.  It’s just that my travel needs have seemed to direct me toward Hilton HHonors properties more so over the past two years.  So coming back to Marriott has been like visiting with an old friend again.

Residence Inn is pretty basic, so I will not offer a full review of the hotel.  But trust that the Residence Inn Wichita East is a brand new property, with comfortable rooms, friendly staff, and a location that is convenient to many businesses such as Hawker Beechjet.  I plan on staying here again should business bring me back to Wichita.

Wichita has exceeded my expectations for restaurant choices and things to do after work.  The city has obviously invested in bringing business and people downtown.  I’m particularly fond of Old Town Wichita, an area of converted warehouses now home to many restaurants, bars and loft apartments.  Among several choices, I found Uptown Bistro to be a real gem, and highly recommended by the locals I spoke with.  Good food, good wine, and good company made for a great meal.

I can’t visit the midwest without a visit to the local steakhouse, and this visit to Wichita was no different.  Scotch and Sirloin, apparently a Wichita legend, was recommended by colleagues, so I had to give it a try.  Believe me when I say that I was not disappointed.  The ribeye was perfect, but I hear the prime rib is even better.  The atmosphere was very much “old-time” steakhouse, and should not be missed if you’re in town.  Reservations are recommended, and I could see why.  We were seated immediately on our Monday night visit, but I didn’t see another empty table in the restaurant.

Tomorrow, I leave for Chicago.  I’ll have a hotel review for that as well as a full review of my first ride on one of American’s brand-new 737-800’s.  I’m scheduled to ride one of the newly delivered Chicago-based birds home to DC on Friday.