The café has been remodeled. Its doors reopened this week. I tentatively crossed its threshold, into my favorite spot in the hotel. I have to say my worries about change were eased when I ventured in the first day to find the buzz of the space was the same.
The changes are amazing though…Starbucks (enough said) and pastries (the red velvet cupcakes, after so carefully deposited in the conundrum of a to-go box were devoured and praised by my office mates—thanks, Roy) add motion to the café.
When I walked in, people were shopping in the gift nook, someone was in line for coffee and I honestly overheard chocolate covered somethings-or-other whisper my name. The new additions to the café actually harness a worldly feel. It’s all the hopefulness, motion and adventure of an airport with none of the expense, delay, rough crowd or anonymity. You can’t be anonymous in the café if you’ve ever once been seated by Annette.
Annette, long time hostess of the café, actually looked relieved, bright and more than ready to slide right back into her role in the new-again space. When I chatted with her about how the changes were taking—granted, it had only been a day—she immediately let me know that right away that morning, people flocked to the comfy made-for-laptop-users corner and rode the waves of industry and Facebook into morning, clicking away at their keys. I had forgotten we were adding a television to the well-connected lounge space and had to smile at the very Pfister-esque touch of a gilded frame surrounding the flat screen. Remarking on this, Annette said, in perfect dry humor, “Ah, yes… I really thought they’d play The Young and the Restless at 11 o’clock, but they just left it on this.” She gestured toward the Headline News silently flickering above us. Perfect. The nook, complete with an Annette, is perfect.
The servers have new aprons, still creased from their fresh folds, and there are different banquettes available. The business hasn’t changed—the suits still dominate the discussion and meetings and progress still charge forward over Senator Kohl’s Tuna sandwiches. Time is short, people hustle, mergers happen and talking with your mouth full is required. (Yes, I was watching you through the mirrors…).
And if I worried at all that any of this change would be bad or unsettling, I was comforted by the fresh flowers that still remain on the tables. One of my first glimpses of the behind the scenes workings of the hotel, they’re my landmark that everything runs smoothly, things are fine and everything old is new again.