On every table, a single red bloom.
As I enter The Pfister Hotel lobby, the sweet fragrance hits me before my eyes notice the sea of dainty centerpieces. Red roses pop against dark wood tables, their rounded petals softening the formality of the space. Making it feel like a home.
I’m not the only one who notices the roses. Nearby, a young boy leans over one of the lobby tables, inhaling deeply until his nose touches the flower, sandy hair hanging in his eyes. He wears a satisfied grin as he scans the room. What’s next?
The lions, of course. He approaches one of the famous hotel statues, squinting and staring sideways as though the lion holds a mystery that must be solved. His eyes reveal intense curiosity with just a hint of mischief. I like this kid.
A couple has just entered the lobby. A woman greets them, exclaiming, “It’s so good to see you!” They embrace and then pause for a moment, each taking a step back to study the other. I see both joy and regret in their faces — they’ve been away from each other for too long.
The woman has a small child with her. The girl, maybe 5 years old, has dark brown hair in a messy braid. She coyly smiles from behind her mother’s leg.
“Look how big you are!”
She ducks behind mom’s leg again, giggling. She reminds me of my daughter.
I’m delighted to see so many children here. The Pfister must seem like a magical place to a child. Not cartoon-character-theme-park magical. There are board games in the café, a delicious selection of sweets and treats and plenty of crayons for coloring. But the Pfister has something even better. It offers real-life adventure, and much to explore.
No one is more inquisitive than a child. As a mom myself, I know that children see everything, and want to know everything about everything they see. They notice details we adults overlook, in books, artwork, hotel lobbies. And while we’re rushing through life, they wish we’d slow down so they don’t miss anything. They find joy in the discovery of it all.
They smell the roses.
I wonder how many kids have stretched out on the lobby carpet to count the cherubs in the ceiling’s “sky.” Or attempted a lionback ride. Or meowed at The Kittens oil painting on the second floor. And just how many children’s dinners have been spoiled by overindulgence in that amazing snack mix?
The best part is that the Pfister encourages their young guests’ exploration and, as the concierge tells me, its staff are not afraid to join the fun. He fondly recalls chasing children around the tree at the hotel’s annual holiday tree-lighting ceremony. Clearly his many years at the Pfister have taught him to channel his inner child.
As I prepare to leave for the day, the lobby pianist begins his set. I hear the unmistakable sound of The Temptations’ “My Girl,” so I decide to stay long enough to join in the applause. From my table I spy another tiny guest, a curly-haired toddler in a delicate paisley dress with pink trim. She’s swaying to the music. A doll is dangling from her hand.
I breathe the roses in, one last time, trying to draw out the child I know is still in there somewhere. Next time I visit, I’ll bring my daughter.