When growing up in the famed tourist destination of Cancun, Mexico, it is easy to become naturally immersed in the hospitality world. For Angel Santos, Assistant Front Office Manager, he not only embraced the industry but took it as an opportunity to build a career.
“Growing up, I often helped at my parent’s restaurant serving traditional Mayan cuisine and surrounded by the tourism culture,” explains Angel. “I was eager to learn English and got my first industry job as a co-op student at the Ritz-Carlton in Cancun.”
Working at this luxurious resort also introduced Angel to the hospitality community that would soon become a small, yet world-wide network of friends. It was one of these friends who recognized his potential and asked him to join Cancun’s brand new Fairmont resort as Front Desk Supervisor.
“It was very exciting to be part of building a brand new Fairmont from the ground up,” explains Angel. “We were taught the Fairmont standards by trainers from the Rockies and Toronto who I easily built relationships with since I was fluent in English.”
Angel admits that opening a new hotel is not easy; however, it quickly excelled his hospitality career and opened the door to international experience. He still recalls seeing an iconic photo of Fairmont Lake Louise during his training and knowing the option to transfer would one day be possible. That day arrived in 2009 when his transfer was accepted and he began a two-year contract in Canada as Guest Services Supervisor.
“At first I was intimidated joining the team at Lake Louise,” admits Angel. “I was now fully immersed in English and the hotel could easily see thousands of people in one day during the summer months. But I adapted and even had my contract extended.”
After working for three years Angel started the process to obtain his permanent residency in Canada and his next adventure was calling. He benefited from the ability to transfer between Fairmont properties and next on his list was the Pacific Rim in Vancouver.
“In 2012 I became the Night Manager who oversaw security at Pacific Rim, which was an exciting and stressful role,” Angel confesses. “The hotel saw many celebrities so I have lots of exciting stories from this property but it was difficult to maintain the fast-paced environment and I soon took a break by transferring to the Fairmont Vancouver Airport.”
With each transfer Angel embraced new challenges to help further his career and the Vancouver Airport was no different. He was hired to lead a new project of developing a call center where guests would have a seamless experience while booking reservations. Angel was at the helm of merging two teams into one new department and although he faced many challenges, he managed to achieve his goal. So in 2015 with his sense of accomplishment, he looked for his next challenge.
“Within a week of deciding it was time to move on from Vancouver a friend showed me a magazine featuring Langdon Hall on the cover,” explains Angel. “I was instantly intrigued after reading the article and sent in my resume.”
Making the decision to leave the corporate world of Fairmont for a small boutique hotel in Ontario came easy to Angel. He longed to get back to the roots of hospitality by finding a position where he could focus on building a relationship with the guests through personal interactions.
“I joined the team at Langdon Hall at the end of 2015 and instantly saw what makes Langdon Hall so special,” explains Angel. “There is a passion to connect with each guest, learn their personal likes, and greet them by name, not room number.”
Angel was also impressed with the family-centered culture and how staff were quick to help him settle into the area. He feels fortunate to have joined the team and become part of the family. However, his own family is never far from his mind.
“I try to make sure I visit home at least once a year and spend a few weeks with my family, helping out at the restaurant and sharing any new hospitality skills,” says Angel. “One day I hope to settle down, perhaps in this area, and have a family of my own.”
With the vast experiences, Angel has embarked in his hospitality career and the knowledge he has acquired, Langdon Hall is truly fortunate to have him part of the family. More importantly, the guest experience genuinely benefits from his natural passion.