Photo by JC Amberlyn.
KINGMAN – The Ramada Hotel tied into its proximity to the Grand Canyon and Route 66 location with renovation of the Canyon 66 Restaurant and Lounge in 2014, and is now expanding on that branding with a proposed helipad on the property.
Sultan Abbas, general manager of the 120-room Ramada, is in the process of gaining all necessary approvals to build the helipad, which will be used for air tours of the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam.
Tours will be open to anyone, not just hotel guests, Abbas said.
Ramada is in the final approval process for the helipad and, if approved, would begin construction in the next couple of months, he said. Flights could be available by summer.
“We are hoping to transfer guests to the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam and tourism around Kingman,” Abbas said Monday. “They only have it in Vegas right now, but nothing close to the Kingman area.”
An application for the helipad was completed and presented to Kingman City Council to gain approval of the required text amendment, which was approved late last year. The final step of getting the conditional use permit is expected soon.
“If we are able to finalize the paperwork and process, we might start contacting Grand Canyon West and companies in Vegas to see if we can use their helicopter,” Abbas said.
Ramada would enter into a business agreement with a local helicopter tour company to create flight packages and start marketing the tourism opportunity, he said. If all goes well, the hotel might purchase its own helicopter in the future.
Abbas said Ramada owners Joel and Noble Zubaid have “quite a few ideas” to improve the hotel property and promote tourism in Kingman. They have 180 websites linked to Kingman and things to do here.
Ramada plans to hold a special event to launch the helicopter tours if and when the flight agreement is reached.
“We supported this idea because it will bring more attention and excitement to Kingman for all tourists that visit,” said Gregg Martin, president and chief executive officer of Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce. “Having a local hotel business that has a helipad is a great idea and will bring some great interest and energy to the city.”
Ramada’s Canyon 66 Restaurant and Lounge features artwork of American icons such as Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe, and has a DJ booth cut into a 1946 Ford pickup.
“We felt this place was being neglected,” Noble Zubaid said after purchasing the former Holiday Inn and Magnuson hotel in 2013. “We wanted to resurrect it and turn around.”