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Most jobseekers wouldn’t think to put “generous” on their C.V. Yet when hiring one of its 300+ employees, El Conquistador Tucson looks specifically for candidates with a “generous” spirit.
This generosity also extends out into the community: El Conquistador is a consistent contributor to local causes, and even opens its cafeteria every day to the 140-person OVPD police force.
The 45-acre property offers guests the choice of six restaurants. Keeping cool is no problem with five pools, a waterslide, and a cold plunge — with adjacent hot tub.
The Kids Club allows parents to park their young ones and sneak off for an afternoon of relaxation at SpaWell, which has a salt therapy lounge, a movement studio, and an adults-only outdoor pool. The spa also offers unique therapies like Vibrational Singing Bowl Therapy and Balance-Restoring CBD Wraps.
Besides also having its own bike loop, El Conquistador is located adjacent to the Linda Vista Trail, a self-guided 2.5-mile nature trail in Santa Catalina Park. Guests can walk right out of their hotel room and into the virgin Sonoran Desert.
Every day features a roster of varied activities like brainteasers, wine tastings, cooking classes, book readings, and art shows.
El Conquistador also aims for all of its staff to have comprehensive, resort-wide knowledge. This empowers each employee – regardless of their specialization – to assist hotel guests with any requests, and to make sure the guest experience aligns with the purpose of their visit.
“We have front desk agents that are the first to interact with our guests, and they often find that there is a special occasion – an event that brings a particular guest to El Conquistador, or perhaps a fun fact about them,” explains General Manager Shelby Francom.
“We encourage our team to create a memorable experience at every interaction. Many times, we are able to purchase a token or gift from our Gift Shop, send the guest an amenity to their guestroom, or treat them to a delicious margarita in one of our restaurant bars. We empower all team members to act with this in mind, and to take care of our guests as if they were in your home.”
With over 300 employees, El Conquistador is one of the largest employers in OV. The resort includes 428 rooms and maintains an average occupancy rate of around 60%.
One reason that the hotel is not always 100% full is because it often hosts gatherings by corporate or government entities, who sometimes rent out most – if not all – of the El Conquistador. With an 11,000-square-foot Executive Conference Center and 100,000 square feet of flexible indoor/outdoor meeting spaces, the resort is one the best-equipped in the state to host large gatherings.
El Conquistador is owned by HSL Asset Management, which also owns the Ritz-Carlton as part of its collection of nine hotels. The resort operates under the Hilton brand name, which means that a wide range of ultra-specific standards must be met – things like how crisply the bed is made, or how the pillows are fluffed. There are also many specific requirements for room furnishings, like having a certain quality of linen, or providing 55” TVs with a standardized channel lineup.
“Whether you are in Shanghai or Moscow, the Hilton experience should look and feel the same,” says Mr. Francom.
The El Conquistador also features locally-inspired elements, such as the daily Renewal of the Flame ceremony, where each day at sundown an indigenous flute player fills the air with sacred melodies.
Running a hotel of this size while meeting the very specific Hilton standards can require some careful planning. Mr. Francom gives the example of recently upgrading the 538 – 55” televisions and the 680 digital door locks at the resort.
With 4400 properties in the Hilton network, El Conquistador’s procurement department has to be able to carefully project its needs into the future. If several Hilton resorts decide to upgrade at same time, they have to prepare in case they collectively create a shortage among suppliers.
Mr. Francom believes that the success of El Conquistador goes hand-in-hand with the success of Oro Valley. He sees the resort as both a neighbor and a partner in the community.
The hotel regularly provides donations of money, supplies, food and feminine products to local charitable organizations.
Last Easter, El Conquistador provided the Gospel Rescue Mission with 865 pounds of ham and hundreds of cartons of eggs – enough to feed 3000 people. The resort also donated 875 pillows to local shelters. The resort even donates its signature Chef’s Pozole soup to soup kitchens in the area.
“Because we can give, we should give,” says Francom.
El Conquistador also hosts large events for the OV community. The Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce holds four annual events that include over 600 local businesses, churches, and organizations. The resort also recently hosted the health fair in conjunction with the Oro Valley Economic Outlook, which drew 480 attendees.
El Conquistador is also a sponsor of the Arizona Hero’s Memorial and will be a major sponsor of the upcoming Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Their large walking team at the Alzheimer’s walk will be comprised of their entire management company, Desert Hospitality Management LLC.
OV residents will want to bring a generous appetite on August 26th to the Annual Salsa, Tequila & Taco Challenge, brought by the Southern Arts & Cultural Alliance. OV’s finest food and drink purveyors will be there to compete for your taste buds. The El Conquistador has rooms available and food & beverage specials for those attending this event.
By Tom Ekman, J.D., M.Ed