Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Ring in the New Year with some great New Year's Eve specials here at the Priory. We've got some exciting affiliations, including an overnight with a dinner or party cruise on the Gateway Clipper, dinner at Six Penn Kitchen downtown, with a chance to explore Pittsburgh's First Night revelries thereafter, and a fantastic price fixe dinner at Eleven Contemporary Kitchen in the Strip District.
Click here for Eleven's New Year's Eve menu. Note that reservations book up fast for Eleven, so call early.
Click here for a description of our Priory Hotel New Year's Eve packages.
Monday, December 16, 2013
Saturday, December 14, 2013
We are extremely excited to be going live with our affiliation with the Stash Hotels Rewards network. Stash offers a loyalty program similar to HHonors (Hilton) or Marriott Rewards, except for Independent hotels. We are proud to have been accepted into this network, which is made up of four star and above independent properties throughout the country. The various Stash affiliated properties include hotels in a wide variety of popular destinations, including New York, San Francisco, Boston and New Orleans. I personally stayed at the Lenox Hotel in Boston's Back Bay in October, and it was truly a fabulous stay.
The Priory Hotel is the first hotel in Pittsburgh to be accepted into the Stash network. Stash has no blackouts or limitations on visits, and you can build points up quickly. At the Priory, you will earn 5 points for every dollar spent in the hotel (for roomnights, theMonks' Bar, and any incidentals you may purchase. These points add up quickly, as some hotels require just 9,000 or 10,000 points for a complimentary overnight.
Click here to see the entire Stash network of hotels.
Click here to join the Stash network. It's as easy as entering your name and e-mail address.
We go live on December 23, so be sure to enroll and rack up points when you stay with us and other independent hotels!
Monday, November 18, 2013
A couple of Pittsburgh one-of-a-kinds which often fly under the radar of visitors to the city are the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning and the Nationality Classrooms which are housed in this gothic skyscraper. Located on the University of Pittsburgh campus in the Oakland section of the city, the Cathedral of Learning is the tallest university structure in the world. It houses administrative offices and classrooms, and offers wonderful views of the city from its upper floors. The lower lobby is an architectural marvel. Featuring a variety of study nooks, this space is reminiscent of the great room of a medieval castle. It's truly jaw dropping, especially when you consider that it's not a museum but a campus building used everyday by Pitt students.
The Nationality Rooms are located on the fourth floor of the Cathedral. They have expanded over the years, as different nationalities have sponsored the elaborate classrooms which celebrate their ethnic heritages. One of the most recent, opened in May 2012, celebrates my family's Swiss heritage, and features a kackeloeffen (a ceramic stove used for interior heat) which is a replica of one of the creations of my ancestor Hans Heinrich Graf of Winterthur, Switzerland, in the 1600's. Here is a quick story regarding my father, Ed Graf's, contributions to the creation of the kackeloeffen.
The Cathedral and the Nationality Classrooms are free to enter and tour, and are open to the public during most days during business hours. Hours and days open may be found here.
|Cathedral of Learning Main Lobby from Third Floor Balcony|
|Nationality Rooms - Austrian Room|
|Nationality Rooms - Swiss Room - Kacheloeffen|
|Nationality Rooms - Swiss Room|
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Sometimes when you live in a place you don't necessarily pay attention to what's in front of you. A little bit ago I took an afternoon to stroll Point State Park, at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers (which create the Ohio River), which has recently been refurbished and re-landscaped. The Commonwealth of Pennsvlyania also fixed the iconic fountain at the Point, which now shoots up some 70 feet in the air. A walking or bike tour of the park makes for a great way to see Pittsburgh, with the skyline of downtown to one side, Mt. Washington to the South, and the North Shore to the North. It's a great view, which gets you right down on water level in the middle of this valley, and there's plenty to watch between the boat traffic, picnickers, and others enjoying the day.
If you are out wandering, then its worth your while to cross the Mon and take the Duquesne Incline up to Mt. Washington. It lets you out at the far western side of Mt. Washington, near LeMont, Isabella, Monterey Bay Fish Grotto, and other upscale restaurants. There's a great bird's eye view from the Inline's viewing deck, which orients you toward the Point and downtown from that angle. Again, it's a one of a kind view, and if you're visiting Pittsburgh or, like me, just haven't done it in a while, put a couple of hours aside and indulge yourself! A word to the wise, the Duquesne Incline requires exact change. Check the website for fares.
Friday, August 9, 2013
The Carlton restaurant is consistently one of the best fine dining restaurants in the City. They also have a killer slate of wine dinners throughout the year. We attended an interesting one last week featuring Buena Vista winery of Sonoma Valley. The winery is one of the oldest in the U.S., founded by Count Agoston Haraszthy, a Hungarian nobleman who emigrated to the United States in the 1830's. The Count introduced European vinticulture techniques to the Sonoma Valley, and created some of the earliest European quality wines in the New World. In a tale only too familiar in the modern day, the Count was forced out of the operation of his own Buena Vista winery by his investors. He set off for Nicaragua, where he was intent on making rum and spirits, but dies in a mysterious accident in 1869.
As always, the Carlton's food was spot on, with Executive Chef Simon DeJohn at his best. My favorite was a braised short rib with beet risotto (and I don't like beets!), and the lamb manicotti, which had a Southwest vibe, almost like a savory lamb enchilada. The whole meal was fantastic, as is the food there everyday.
That's me pictured with my wife Suzanne, and Carlton proprietor Kevin Joyce and his wife, Maggie. With us is "The Count," that is, actor George Webber, who plays Count Haraszthy and, at the wine tasting, told his story in first person while in character. You may think it sounded a little hoaky, but it was like having a floor show to go with your dinner. It was a fascinating personal story and an interesting look at the birth of wine production in Northern California.
The Buena Vista wines were excellent as well, in particular the new "The Count Founder's Red."
And don't forget that we partner with the Carlton for our Cultural District packages -- the Carlton's limo will take you to and from the theater after your meal. See here for more details.
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
I was featured in a KDKA TV (Pittsburgh CBS Affiliate) news story reported by the Kristine Sorensen on Bridal Brokerage, an Internet outfit that matches couples with cancelled weddings with couples looking to step into their shoes. Kind of a neat concept. The story showed off our Priory Hotel and Grand Hall exceptionally well.
Kristine I thought presented an interesting story highlighting what I think is a win-win-win proposition through Bridal Brokerage. She is a real professional and truly one of the most down to earth and pleasant people you would ever meet in the media.
Here's a link to the KDKA story.