Rodolfo Salazar’s past experience in hospitality – 16 years, including seven with the Hilton brand – helped him land the position of general manager at The Cassara Carlsbad, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, the 4-star hotel that offers sweeping 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean and is less than a mile away from the famed Carlsbad Flower Fields.
But Salazar’s history of employment in other fields and his interests in things outside the hotel industry – especially in food and music – gives the hotel’s newest employee great depth of character.
The native of Mexico and longtime Los Angeles resident began working at Hilton Glendale in 2013 as a front office manager. He worked his way up to complex front office manager, complex director of operations and complex assistant general manager. Before his work with Hilton, Salazar gained hospitality experience by working with other high-end brands, including InterContinental Hotels Group, Choice Hotels International, La Quinta and Marriott.
Salazar said before he started his career in hotels, he worked in industries far from the hospitality sector, including working in car modification and as an employee of an acrylic company. He also worked for a family-owned food truck business. But he left that all behind to work for hotels.
“The No. 1 reason why I now work in hospitality is to help people have an incredible experience and memorable vacation,” Salazar said. “As general manager, leadership in this role does not just encompass the guest; I also am here to support my valued team members. They are the whole heart of the hotel. Knowing their stories and challenges, keeping them motivated, and developing their growth. We have an incredible team of hard-working people. I am very lucky to be a part of it. In my new role, my goals are to further enhance the guest service and overall vacation experience at The Cassara.”
Salazar said that outside of work, he is a certifiable foodie who loves listening to music, encompassing “genres and bands that would surprise some people — including Metallica.”
In 2020, Salazar was recognized for his role in successfully modifying hotel needs for COVID-19 staff training, hotel layout and ensuring the hotel adhered to all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines while working at H Hotel Los Angeles, Curio Collection by Hilton.
He said that his ultimate goals including wanting to help others achieve their goals and “working to guide the hotels to be successful,” but that surviving and thriving from the impacts of the pandemic on the hospitality industry that keeps him motivated.
Salazar said that The Cassara Carlsbad had its own COVID-19 challenges after going through a major renovation that was completed in December 2019.
“We were only open a couple months before the start of the pandemic and the hotel was highly impacted, as all hotels were,” he said.
Ramped-up Experience at Cassara Kitchen & Bar
Since that time, the hotel added 29 family suites and ramped up its Cassara Kitchen & Bar experience, and now, he said The Cassara has become one of the leading luxury hotels in the North County San Diego market.
“We have also recently revamped our restaurant, which has amazing poolside coastline views and delicious local-inspired food and cocktail options,” Salazar said. “It is a great place to have a celebration or just have a craft beer with some apps and watch the unmatched sunsets. We are also exclusively perched right above the seasonal Carlsbad Flower Fields, in which I highly recommend staying during spring to experience nature’s beauty of over 50 acres of ranunculus. It is stunning.”
Salazar said he is aware that the hospitality industry is the heart and soul of San Diego County, and expects the region to continue to see a spike in the travel in the coming years and the recovery of the hospitality industry to exceed pre-pandemic levels as people look to explore more areas of our beautiful home we call California.”
Starting to feel at home in his new locale and ready to explore this new region of Southern California, Salazar said that he is currently taking recommendations for one quest.
“I have made it my mission to find the best local taco spot,” Salazar said.
The Cassara Carlsbad, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, is located at 5805 Armada Drive in Carlsbad. The property is owned by Grand Pacific Resorts, Inc., and managed by Azul Hospitality Group. Tapestry Collection by Hilton launched in 2017 with plans for global expansion.
The company says Tapestry is all “upscale, original hotels that offer guests unique style and vibrant personality (which) encourages guests to explore the local destination.”
The Cassara Carlsbad
GENERAL MANAGER: Rodolfo Salazar
SOCIAL IMPACT: The Cassara (and parent company Grand Pacific Resorts), is a global sponsor and engaged participant in hotel career development programs for Christel House, a charity in which transforms the lives of children by breaking the cycle of poverty.@
NOTABLE: The Cassara is the only hotel that overlooks the springtime famous Carlsbad Flower Fields, which highlights 50 acres Tecolote Giant Ranunculus flowers; the hotel also boasts year-round 180° coastline views.