Wednesday, 27 July 2011

The Regatta Connection

What with St. John's being the oldest city in North America,it only makes sense that the city be the host of the oldest organized sporting event North America too, right?  The St. John's Regatta is just that. 

The first record of an organized event is in 1818, but rowing matches were common among ships crews in St. John's Harbour since at least the 1700's.

These days, the Regatta draws crowds of up to 50,000 people annually to the shores of Quidi Vidi Lake. It is widely known as "The Largest Garden Party in the World" because it has been about socializing as much as amateur sport. Concession stands, wheels of fortune, games of chance, and food & drink are just as much part of the Regatta's history as the races. Indeed, many people hardly notice the races, as they are too involved in the merrymaking on the shores of the lake.

Murray Premises Hotel is pleased to sponsor the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Ladies Team.

We "should" be one week away from the big day!  For those of you "from away" Regatta day is a little different.  Held traditionally on the first Wednesday in August - the holiday and Regatta are weather dependent.  On the designated day, the race committee makes an official call early in the morning.  If the weather is good....the Regatta goes ahead.  If not, it's postponed, everyone goes to work and the next day we go through the same process.  A "floating" holiday!!!!  (Pun intended!)

Thursday, 21 July 2011

The Courtyard

The courtyard at Murray Premises has always been such an important part of the look and feel of the building.  It's that central area where people congregate in the summer, sitting on picnic tables in the sun, enjoying their lunch, meeting friends.  Once you step down off of Water Street you find yourself surrounded on each side by the hotel and restaurants in this secluded little spot which is sheltered and somehow private.  Today, it's taking another step. 

The Gypsy Tea Room is working feverishly and very soon they will have created an outdoor oasis.  Nestled in the courtyard they will soon be offering outdoor bar and meal service.  I'm betting that it doesn't take you long to imagine yourself there on a warm summer night. 

All the construction did get me thinking though.  What did the courtyard look like before?  Could I put together a before and after?  I have something that I think is pretty interesting.  How about 1970, 2000 & 2011?
1970's prior to renovation

Around 2000
And doesn't look great but wait until you see what it's going to look like.  We can't wait. 

Within days, maybe even hours, the courtyard will be finished and it is going to be spectacular.  Keep checking back.  As soon as it's done, I'll post a new picture!!!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

An Explosive Time at Murray Premises Hotel

July 13, 2011

Murray Premises Hotel was please to host the Canadian Explosive Association Conference last week.  Outside of their meetings, the group had dinner at Gypsy Tea Room and Atlantica and then went whale watching with O'Brien's.  They enjoyed their entire stay and the weather was perfect.  The only thing missing was the fireworks!!!!

This is an interesting group with some important objectives:
  • To promote the interests of distributors, manufactures and end users of explosives
  • To promote high standards concerning the use, handling, storage and transport of explosives and to co-operate with the government authorities in the promotion of these standards in the interest of public safety.
  • To develop good working relations between manufacturers and distributors of explosives
  • To encourage the adoption of uniform legislation concerning the explosives industry.
It was great to have them with us and we're thrilled that they chose to stay with us.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Summer Time - Island Time. The best of both worlds.

Summer time....and the living is easy!  It's such an easy time of year to get distracted.  Take a day like today.....Mother Nature has finally nudged the temperatures up into that range that makes you want to shed the layers of clothing that we normally believe are, well, necessary.  For the hotel, that means that the conversations at the desk change.  We hear about that first spine-tingling whale sighting; the first view from Cape Spear; the first hike along the East Coast Trail; the first taste of lobster. 

Where do these visitors come from?  We have a tracking system set up on our website that tells us where our guests are viewing us from and I'm wondering how the people from Russia and India and Romania and the Bahamas hear about us?  Little old us.....tucked away in a spot on the harbour in downtown St. John's, Newfoundland.   It boggles the mind really. 

And then, they're here.  They come through the doors, loaded down with luggage and filled with excitement.  Some come prepared.....they have the maps and they have a plan.  Some wing it - which can either go really, really well and be a lot of fun or can present a challenge.  It's hard to imagine those nights when there's not a room to be had in the city but they happen - a lot.  I remember a night when I struggled to find a place for the nicest couple - I felt so bad when I finally had to tell them that the only thing I could find was a two hour drive away.  A room and a bed.....but a long, long way away.   Yet, off they went, happy to have a place and filled with "tourist" enthusiasm.  Even as I type this, I can hear David in the background on the phone with a guest, "I have Sunday night and Monday night but I don't have Tuesday.....I have Wednesday though."  Typical, so typical.

Don't imagine that everyone comes from off the island.  Our very own tourists can be just as much fun.  We don't get to explore our own backyards often enough and I can't imagine ever having seen it all.  I'm sure I'm not alone.

So, bring on summer I say - the best of both worlds.  Where we get to be Tour Guides and Tourists......all at the same time.