EL DORADO, Ark. (KTVE/KARD) — The brand-new Haywood Hotel by Hilton in El Dorado officially opened its doors Wednesday to accommodate guests.
“It’s kind of like Christmas morning except we don’t open the gifts we are the gifts that people get to open up,” General Manger of the hotel, Greg Marquart said.
The $15 million project broke ground in April 2019 and now features 70 rooms with “luxurious amenities”, a full-service bar called The Well, a pool and courtyard and other amenities to attract guests.
The bar features an array of drinking options with a special kind that can’t be found in every bar across the state and that’s the Louis XIII.
“The bar is not only open to hotel guests but anyone within the city that wants to come down or the region that wants to come down and try out or bar. We’ll do specialty cocktails and we’ll have beers and wines on draft,” Marquart said. “That’s our main feature.”
What really makes it special is how well it connects with the community both locally and regionally.
The hotel is names after a famed El Dorado businessman Charles Haywood Murphy.
Each floor has paintings on the wall that show an overhead of different parts of El Dorado. There are also other paintings that were made by artists in the state.
Near the first floor elevator, that space pays tribute to two Arkansas musical legends including Rosetta Tharpe and Levon Helm.
There’s a bench located in the lobby that was made by an artist in the state. Some of the snacks that can be purchased came from a vendor out of Little Rock and all of the flowers featured inside the hotel are through a partnership with All About Flowers.
“We really want this style of property to incorporate local or regional aspects to really make it unique,” Marquart said.
The hotel is located in the heart of downtown but Marquart hopes to encourage visitors to spend time visiting other areas in and around El Dorado.
There is also a partnership with the Downtown Business Association to build strong support with all of the things that goes on in El Dorado, in hopes to draw people to shops and restaurants within walking distance. Though, the support isn’t just limited to those around the square.
“We want to be a place where people come and stay here that we are going to incent and promote the other businesses in El Dorado not just the ones downtown,” he said. “We’ll have restaurants and food and bar but we really want people to go around the city and interact.”
It’s location is the premiere place for some of the businesses and organizations that are located downtown to accommodate business travelers and event guests.
The Murphy Arts District has been a supporter of the hotel since the beginning stages. Pam Griffin, MAD President says it fills a whole for the company to have a place where people can come and stay for the night or the weekend when they come.
“We did a market research study and one of the comments that we go back was that they didn’t know where they would stay or there was not a great hotel within walking distance to the Haywood is our answer to that survey,” Griffin said.
The new addition to the district will be an economic boost for El Dorado. During the groundbreaking ceremony in April, it was announced that the impact would be an estimated $225,000 in annual tax revenue as well at least $50 million in overall avenue.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Marquart isn’t sure if they will hold to that same standard but he’s sure once the pandemic slows down, business will boom.
It’s currently employing about 10 employees that are from the Union County area and again, as business picks back up they plan to hire more workers.
Hospitality industries across the world have been affected by the pandemic and have had to make changes accordingly.
“Hilton has partnered with Lysol and the Mayor Clinic to come up with a 10 point cleaning program for all of the guest rooms that are heightened sensitive for guest touch point areas to make sure that they’re all cleaned and sanitized,” he said.
They’ve also changed how frequently housekeeping teams go into rooms.
Through the Hilton Honors program, guests can make reservations online, select a room, get a room key accessed through a smartphone to make it easy for those who want limited contact with other people.
The Haywood Hotel has guests already staying in its hotel during its opening night. They are expecting more business this weekend as the airs streamers will return to El Dorado this year.