Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving at the Boulderado

In case you haven't heard, Thanksgiving is tomorrow. Our buffet has been sold out for over a week and a half, and we're expecting about 450 people to enjoy their Thanksgiving dinner with us. Our Thanksgiving buffet dinners have been taking place for over 20 years, but even when the hotel was much younger, people have made a tradition of taking dinner at the Boulderado. The menu to the left (found at the Carnegie Library for Local History) is from 1926 and shows what was offered on Thanksgiving -- Roast Young Turkey with Oyster Dressing, Snow Flake Potatoes, Candied Sweet Potatoes, and Hot Mince Pie, among other items. And it only cost $1!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rhonda and Living Interiors

If you've stopped by the Hotel Boulderado in the past 15 years, you've probably noticed the fresh floral arrangements in common areas like the lobby, the bathrooms, and even out front on Yuko's desk. Rhonda, who owns and operates Living Interiors, is a familiar face around the hotel. She stops by each week to bring in fresh displays of gorgeous flowers. Rhonda was also responsible for the creepy credenza we featured in our haunted lobby this year, and she loaded it up with plenty of spiders, bats, ravens, and snakes. If you've ever visited the Boulderado during the holidays, you are familiar with the enormous Christmas tree we put up every year. Rhonda and her team take on the daunting task of decorating the 28' live evergreen with courage, tasteful ornaments, and help from our Maintenance Department. Rhonda is also a perennial Preferred Vendor and attends our Bridal Show regularly. (For Sunday's show, Rhonda brought in some elm branches she collected from her own backyard and used them as the base for a striking arrangement featuring hanging votive candles.) We hear feedback from our clients all the time about her beautiful handiwork, reasonable prices, and long-lasting arrangements.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Boulderado Brides

Wow! Some of us in the office are still in post-Wedding Show world, even though it was days ago. More than two hundred people attended our annual Bridal Show on Sunday to visit with local vendors and experience the Hotel Boulderado's ambiance and catering capabilities. Yuko and I worked down at the Registration Desk in the lobby, which meant that we met everybody as they were registering. Amidst all the craziness of registration, it struck me how there are so many different kinds of brides with very different tastes. This also applies to the vendors -- some are bubbly, some are shy, some are traditional, while others are more modern. I suppose it goes to show you that finding vendors who will help you on your special day is similar to finding a mate; you have lots of options, but only one is really the best fit for you. That's why brides love wedding shows so much -- there's several vendors present, and at least one is bound to be exactly what she's looking for.

Several brides who already have their ceremonies and receptions booked at the Boulderado were in attendance. I spoke with a few of them, and each one had a different reason for choosing us. "It's just so beautiful and elegant." "The staff is always very friendly and helpful." It's also true that the Boulderado is a one-stop shop for many bridal parties. Families from out of town can use our guest rooms, we offer ceremonies and receptions on our Mezzanine (or our Ballroom, for those larger receptions), the couple can stay in a Presidential Suite for their honeymoon, and everyone can get together for breakfast in Q's Restaurant. Boulderado brides are actively reaching out to be a part of the history of our hotel when they book with us. The very first recorded wedding ceremony took place here in 1911, and over the years thousands of people have been married on our staircase's landing. This is the history our Boulderado brides share in every time the "Wedding March" starts up on the Mezzanine.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Bridal Show

Sunday is the annual Boulderado Bridal Show, and our office is crazy busy getting ready for it. Nearly 40 vendors will be with us on the Mezzanine and in the adjoining rooms offering information about the various services they offer. (For a complete list of vendors, click here and scroll down.) Our on-site wedding coordinators, Anna and Megan, will be on hand to meet, greet, and discuss planning ceremonies and receptions with brides, fiances, and families. Our catering staff is pulling out all the stops and serving up beef tenderloin, harvest squash ravioli, and wine tastings. If you are interested in attending this free event, you can save yourself time by pre-registering on our website.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

November at the Boulderado

November is another extraordinarily busy month at the Boulderado. Here's what's happening:
  • Sunday, November 8th is our annual Bridal Show. If you plan on attending, there's still time to pre-register. Stop by to visit some of Colorado's top wedding vendors -- florists, bakers, and invitation makers galore! There's no charge for admission, and one lucky person will win $3000 off his or her Boulderado reception.
  • Don't feel like cooking a big meal for Thanksgiving? Or maybe you just dread the thought of all those dishes? Either way, if you attend our Thanksgiving Buffet, we will do the hard work for you, letting you focus on the most important things about the holiday -- spending time with loved ones (and eating).
  • Every year, the Boulderado hosts a Teddy Bear Tea which benefits The Children's Hospital. This year, it is being held on Saturday, November 28th. The Teddy Bear Tea is our most popular holiday tea, and just a few reservations are still open, so call today if you'd like to attend! Each child under the age of 12 who comes will take home a teddy bear with them.
  • The Teddy Bear Tea also kicks off our holiday tea series. Every weekend and for a few weekdays leading up to Christmas, you can enjoy classic tea service on our Mezzanine.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Adventures in Pumpkin Carving

Halloween is my #1 favorite holiday of the year. I love everything about it -- candy, carving jack o' lanterns, roasting pumpkin seeds, watching Linus and Sally waiting in the pumpkin patch, dressing up in costumes, and scary movies. So, it's no real surprise I'm trying to stretch it out into just one more day here at the hotel as I crunch some leftover candy from the Munchkin Masquerade. Today, I want to share with you a Hotel Boulderado tradition that I took part in for the first time -- the annual Employee Pumpkin Carving Contest.

Each department can carve 1-2 pumpkins and enter them for judging and display in the lobby. I picked out my pumpkin early on to get the best selection, resulting in a huge specimen that was nicknamed "The Great Pumpkin" by some office mates because of its size and 30-pound weight. Here's what it looked like after being hollowed out, cleaned up, and ready for carving:

I'd already had a plan for the design for weeks -- a jack o' lantern clock, where the face of the clock was also the face of the jack o' lantern. The actual carving took me about six hours on Thursday, the night before the competition.

After I finished with that, I covered all the carved parts with cling wrap and kept it in the fridge overnight, to make sure it stayed as fresh as possible. I went to bed knowing I had done the best job possible and looking forward to the festivities the next day.

Just "chilling" in the fridge

And then, the very next morning, disaster struck. I was carrying the pumpkin out to my truck and slipped on some ice. I went down and so did the pumpkin. It bounced, actually, on the ice. I didn't even get up off the ground before I was examining it and assessing the damage. One piece of the face popped out entirely, and there were cracks running all across the front, but the pumpkin's thick rind prevented it from smashing entirely. Here's what it looked like, post-fall:

I tried to put it back together the best I could using toothpicks, nails, and sheer determination. After I put the finishing touches on it, I brought it down to the lobby and set it out for viewing. Some people who had stopped by my desk before then said they thought the cracks enhanced the pumpkin -- "It looks spookier and older." "Are you making some sort of statement about time cracking?" Not really, but the show must go on.

Here's the full collection of submissions sitting under the credenza loaded with bats, snakes, spiders, ravens, and dead tree branches.

Entry #2 from the Sales Office ~ A mermaid accompanied by starfishes
"Winner of Most Funny"

Entry from the Front Desk ~ A ghost superimposed with the initials HB, for Hotel Boulderado
"Winner of Best Theme Carving"

Entry from Set Break/Banquets ~ Scary face with bone teeth
"Winner of Most Difficult"
(Also should be given props for popular favorite -- as people were walking by and looking at them, this was the one most people said they liked the most.)

Entry from Housekeeping ~ A housekeeper (with a custom-sewn uniform)
composting into a pumpkin receptacle
"First Runner Up"

Entry from Q's Restaurant ~ The Q's Logo
"Winner of Best Technique"

Entry from Maintenance ~ An M&M guy
"Best of Show"

And my pumpkin? We took home the "Most Creative" prize. I've already had a couple of ideas for next year's contest, so watch out!

PS Our Front Desk Manager sent me this photo of two of our valet attendants on Halloween dressed like old-school valets. I love it!