By Josh Hertzog   Published Nov 07, 2005 at 5:21 AM

{image1}While conducting inspections of the Ambassador Hotel, 2308 W. Wisconsin Ave., en route to renovating the classic building, owner Rick Wiegand was astonished at the exquisite details he discovered, which further fueled his desire to restore the landmark built in 1927.

After consulting with designers, the 189 rooms of the once dodgy Wisconsin Avenue hotel were completely revamped, resulting in 133 spacious rooms with all new furniture. There is now a choice in room style, allowing visitors to choose a suite with a whirlpool.

The excitement began for Wiegand when he tore up the nasty green carpet rampant throughout the hotel and discovered beautiful marble underneath.

"When I pulled it up, I felt like I struck oil," says Wiegand. "Why would they want this marble covered?"

Wiegand had all the carpeting removed, and various types of terrazzo now adorn the new floors. The decorative white crown molding was removed, and beautiful copper now shimmers.

He went on to inspect the light fixtures, which turned out to be spray painted over. Underneath? Polished nickel.

"I couldn't believe all of this was spray painted over," says Wiegand. "The more I found, the more I wanted to continue."

Keeping the feel of the 1920s, but adding the modern day necessities, new rooms at the Ambassador include an office area with desk and shelves, flat-screen televisions, satellite programming and DVD (complimentary DVD "rentals" are at the front desk) and CD players.

Families can enjoy the convenience of two-thirds of the rooms containing sofa sleepers, so splitting up the kids and renting multiple rooms is no longer a worry. Adjoining rooms also help families stay close.

The wireless Internet and keyboards aren't too shabby either. Television screens also serve as computer monitors.

Improving bed quality was an essential factor that had to be addressed, and Wiegand has personally tested the results.

"I slept in one bed the other night when I was working late," says Wiegand. "And it felt so great, I went home and ordered my own."

Some like it hot, so Wiegand satisfied both parties by installing a HVC system, allowing room dwellers to have hot or cold anytime.

"I wanted to create a warm, comfortable atmosphere," says Wiegand. "I wanted it to feel like home."

One facet of the hotel that couldn't be changed was the original elevators from 1927. The brass doors added to the appeal of the building, so they had to stay. The glass wall sconces and mirrors remain and were also restored.

The Ambassador's Envoy restaurant and lounge features live jazz every Friday and Saturday from 8 until 11 p.m. and has an outside dining area with a remodeled fountain.

Caffe Deco coffee shop will be up and running in the hotel by mid-November, replacing an old bar. Wiegand has his eye on the neighborhood's university crowd as potential customers.

"We hope this will become a student hotspot," adds Wiegand. "We'd like the restaurant and the coffee shop to stand on its own legs."

The Ambassador has complimentary shuttle service and 150 parking spots. Wiegand also promises a fitness center, massage room and another meeting room, which can host a variety of events from business luncheons to wedding receptions, will come soon.

The hotel's Web site is