Hotel McCoy captures Tucson's culture

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On the right side of the freeway sits a hotel that few know for its local taste.

Hotel McCoy took over the spot for Silverbell Inn and has refurbished the hotel to give it a retro look and feel, according to creative director Nicole Dahl, but the space is more than a place to sleep at night.

“Hotel McCoy is a celebration of Tucson,” Dahl said. “We have a bar with a lot of Tucson-native drinks and murals that are done by Tucson natives.”

The hotel focuses on three pillars of conservation, as Dahl put it: building, culture and the art of hospitality. The hotel has certain points of views that all tie around conservation. 

“We wanted to take an older building that was being neglected, a chain hotel, that we could revive,” Dahl said.

After they refurbished the inside of the hotel, Dahl decided that she needed more art on the outside, which is where the ideas of the mural came about.

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“['Serenity'] is meant to reflect a sense of peace, contentment and tranquility,” said Jessica Gonzales, the artist behind a mural titled “Serenity.” “I think the management and staff at the Hotel McCoy have taken a lot of care to create an environment where guests feel able to relax and have a good time during their stay.”

During their stay, guests aren’t pressured to enjoy it all in their rooms; however, according to Dahl, they are more than able to immerse themselves in the community just by staying on the property.

The hotel hosts a bar and a patio area that Hotel McCoy uses for events such as All Female Comedy Night. Last month, they hosted Black Renaissance, a month-long series of events celebrating black artists.

“So many amazing black artists but no central gathering spot,” Dahl said. “Every Saturday in May we celebrated black culture, spoken work, hip hop nights, visual nights, and you got to interact with artists in those mediums.”

Like the drinks in the bar and the artists behind the murals, the people that help host events like Black Renaissance are usually all locals.

Sourcing locals isn’t the only thing Dahl wanted to change about the hospitality industry. According to Dahl, they want to take a step back from automation. Guests of main brand hotels can check in with their phones and never interact should they choose to, but not at Hotel McCoy.

“In this world, especially in the travel industry, everyone is trying to get the next big thing to make things go faster,” Dahl said. “We want to go backward and have you meet our staff and make you feel like a family or friend.”

The hiring process for the hotel involves vetting people for kindness, because, according to Dahl, it’s a great feeling when you revisit the property and people know the dog's name and why the guest is there.

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The hotel has also made partnerships with some of the local businesses. Right now, the hotel is working with the app Onda Güey. It works like Postmates, but the food will be delivered by a local Tucsonan on a bike.

“We partner with them because its also someone with a handlebar mustache or a dress from Buffalo Exchange,” Dahl said. “They also pick up laundry and get it washed and folded and bring it back.”

They also have a discount deal with ExoCoffe, where patrons of Hotel McCoy can get 10 percent off their purchases at the small coffee shop.

For those who want to explore the town, the dressers of the hotel hold a McCoy "Must See Guidebook." The guidebook shows patrons what places in Tucson they should visit for a view or a bite to eat.

“My favorite place in Tucson in there is El Tiradito,” Dahl said. “You can go light a candle for someone who passed away or say a prayer. All that is near downtown.”

The hotel will also be hosting a one-year-anniversary party on October 5. They will host local music, art, beer and wine. For more information, visit their website.


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