Ivan Drechsler, general manager of the new Wingate by Wyndham hotel in Oro Valley, has worked 44 years in the lodging industry.
This is his first job as a general manager in a major chain property. Wyndham is a Canada-based chain with nearly 4,400 properties under several brands. Drechsler, who owns a bed and breakfast in Tubac with his wife, is enjoying a new experience.
“You’ve got support,” Drechsler said Friday, seated in the lobby, with Pusch Ridge shining and visible through a three-story windowed wall.
“You have a great ability to brainstorm,” Drechsler said. “You can work along avenues that have been proven, so you can spend more time hopefully working with the guests and helping them enjoy their stay.”
The 104-room, three-story hotel opened Jan. 30 in Oro Valley’s Steam Pump Village development. “It’s been a bit of a whirlwind,” the general manager said.
The location, just off Oracle Road, is “a gorgeous spot,” said Drechsler. “This area continues to amaze me, in terms of its physical beauty, and the services established in the valley. The town is to be commended for that.”
The new hotel has 41 rooms with two queen beds, 51 with king beds and 12 suites with amenities like Jacuzzi tubs and dual bathroom sinks. The hotel features an allotment of handicap-accessible rooms, which include walk-in showers.
Every room has a refrigerator, a microwave, a single-pot coffee maker featuring Wolfgang Puck Signature coffees, shampoos, lotions, soaps, free hard-wired Internet access and wireless access, and a Wyndham alarm clock that can be used with portable music devices. All TV sets are 32-inch flat-screen devices with high definition access to HBO and other programming. “There are no movies on demand yet, but that’s coming,” Drechsler said.
Rooms have a large chair with an ottoman, a work table and chair, an in-room safe and two-line phones. Countertops and shower surrounds are granite. Continental breakfasts in the lobby have the full array of buffet items.
There is an exercise room for “the road warriors,” with treadmills, an elliptical machine, a stationary bicycle and a multi-use weight-lifting apparatus.
Outside, the swimming pool and hot tub are sheltered by wall from Oracle. There is a handicap lift for the spa.
The Wingate has several meeting rooms, among them a board room that can seat 10, and divisible meeting space for up to 40. Members of the public can lease those facilities. A business center has two computers, a scanner and a copier, all free of charge to guests.
There are 19 employees. Flory Cruz is the assistant manager, Jorge Gonzalez-Garcia the sales manager. Remaining staff are front desk staff and housekeeping workers.
Hotel identifies its market niches
In Southern Arizona, 45 percent of hotel visitors are in town to see family and friends, according to Ivan Drechsler, general manager of the new Wingate by Wyndham hotel in Oro Valley.
Many retirees “do not have the capacity in their homes to hold family gatherings at this stage in their lives, so they come to us, and we welcome them,” Drechsler said.
Arizona’s relocation market is also part of the Wingate business plan. It hopes to draw “those building new homes” who come for visitations.” The hotel is “the closest hotel to Dove Mountain activity, as well as Oro Valley proper,” Drechsler said.
Business travelers are important, too. Honeywell has its major Oro Valley operation across Oracle Road, and the Wingate hosted representatives of the company on a recent site visit.
Drechsler, who has a master’s degree in tourism from George Washington University, hopes to capture part of the tourism market, too. Visitors come to Southern Arizona for climate, attractions, spring training baseball and “the natural wonders.” From the hotel, Tohono Chul Park, downtown Tucson, Saguaro National Park West and Old Tucson are an easy drive.
He’d like to capture travel company and bus tour business, cyclists, and others choosing economy over resort-style accommodations and prices.
“We can offer a superior product at affordable rates. We have a commitment to and a passion for meeting your expectations,” Drechsler said. “We will do what it takes to get things right.”