It’s been far too long of a wait. We are excited to let you all know that the Columbia Gorge Hotel has Reopened! Its beautiful, majestic buildings are lit once again and we look forward to the joy of the Holiday lights it shines on our community with every holiday season.
For more about the reopening we have included an article from our friends at the Hood River News:
By RAELYNN RICARTE
News staff writer
September 2, 2009
The 65 employees at the Columbia Gorge Hotel have polished up their hospitality skills and are ready for Friday’s public reopening.
“We had a ‘soft’ opening last weekend that gave us a chance to make mistakes and test ourselves,” said John Taffin, general manager. “Everyone has been cross-trained and understands the style of this business.”
Two unexpected guests invited to sample the new menu on Monday were Lucy and Pat Drury of Kirkland, Wash.
The pair drove for hours to enjoy lunch at the Gorge hotel — only to discover that the facility was still closed. Taffin, after hearing of their plight, invited the Drurys to order a meal prepared under the supervision of Chef Matt Grimsley.
His resume includes service as a sous chef at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood. The Drurys both chose the Pacific Coast Dungeness crab salad that was served with homemade bread and two choices of butter.
“It’s excellent; I like a light lunch and this is very light,” said Lucy in her review.
She and Pat, like the handful of other lunch guests, had been handed a yellow notepad instead of a check at the end of their meal.
They were asked by Taffin to write down any comments that they wanted to share about their dining experience.
“We want to know how we are doing to help us get ready for this weekend,” he said. “So far, people are telling us that they’ve had a really good time.”
Twenty-five percent of the workforce — returning employees — is already familiar with the routine at the hotel.
Back on the job after an eight-month layoff are four members of the Martinez family.
“It feels great for the hotel to be open again; everyone’s excited,” said Carlos Martinez, a server and banquet attendant.
He spent most of 2009 studying for his associate degree in science and is glad, once again, to be earning a paycheck.
Taffin said the hotel will be at 80 percent occupancy this weekend, a good economic indicator of times to come.
He said the décor has remained virtually unchanged but Grimsley has altered the menu.
For breakfast, guests can enjoy a light start, such as a huckleberry scone and fresh fruit, or heartier fare that includes a Meat Lover’s Omelet, and Spicy Sausage Skillet.
The morning meal is served from 6:30 to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday and from 7 a.m. to noon on Saturday and Sunday. Lunch selections include homemade soups, a variety of salads and sandwiches and chef favorites like Cilantro Crusted Sushi Grade Ahi.
The mid-day meal is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 2 p.m. on weekends.
Dinner specialties include everything from Charred Sturgeon Fillet and Zinfandel and Juniper Scented Denver Leg of Venison to Dry Aged Painted Hill Filet Mignon.
Taffin said a limited menu is available in the lounge, which is open from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. or later to meet customer demand.
The hotel now has flower baskets and numerous café tables on an terrace to encourage patrons to sit outside and view the scenic landscape.
On Wednesday, Sept. 16, Hood River County residents are invited to enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast at the hotel.
The community event will take place from 7 to 9 a.m. and all interested parties are welcome. A second social opportunity has been planned by Taffin for Friday, Oct. 9, from 4 to 6 p.m. Beverage specials will be offered during the happy hour time period.
“We are looking forward to these opportunities to reach out to the community and get local people involved in the property,” said Daina Galster, director of sales management for North Pacific Management, which is now running the business.
The Columbia Gorge Hotel has been closed since Jan. 30, when operations shut down abruptly. One hundred and thirty employees lost their jobs after Boyd and Halla Graves, the previous owners, encountered financial problems that led to the foreclosure of the property.
ShoreBank Pacific’s headquarters in Portland acquired the property for $4 million in a July 20 foreclosure auction. The financial institution then turned operation of the Westcliff Drive facility over to North Pacific.
That company, also based in Portland, has owned and managed prime hospitality and commercial real estate for more than 20 years.
ShoreBank plans to keep the hotel largely unchanged while a new buyer is being sought.No comments Digg this