A Message from Joe Kurth, General Manager

At this special time of year looking ahead to the holiday season we are especially thankful for the overwhelming support for the Pfister in our Brand Madness final four run.  It is a true privilege to have been voted as not only Milwaukee’s number one hotel brand within the contest, viagra but also as one hotel to have reached the final 4 of the 64 other outstanding partners within the community.  Your public support and votes are appreciated, and our entire team is humbled and appreciative of you taking time in multiple voting rounds to show how much this special hotel means to so many.

For over 118 years the Pfister has been proud to continue Charles Pfister’s original vision as a “Palace for the People”, ask and also our founder, Ben Marcus’ tradition of “People Pleasing People”.  These traditions are alive and well based on the comments and support received from: our many past guests that have stayed overnight, enjoyed a meal or spa appointment, or simply walked through the hotel for family photos during the holidays; our friends across the country at Historic Hotels of America and Preferred Hotels; our statewide supporters within the Department of Tourism and Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association; the many college students helping champion the message of travel led by our friends at UW Stout and other campuses; the thousands of you joining in the campaign through our social media connections; our friends at Marcus Theaters; and certainly the overwhelming pride shown by our associates and their families over these past weeks.

A special thank you to the Business Journal for the campaign itself – allowing us a platform for increasing our engagement and sense of partnership with so many over these recent weeks.

After a tight voting battle in the recent victory for the Milwaukee Art Museum, let’s shift our support to them in their championship match with Associated Bank.  Vote via the link below and let’s close out this contest with the iconic Art Museum leading the way as the gateway for many future visitors to join us in downtown Milwaukee!

http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/poll/poll/6719581

Historic Hotel Selects Next In-House Storyteller: Welcome, Stacie Williams.

The historic Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee has named Stacie Michelle Williams as its second ‘Pfister Narrator.’ In the role, she will spend time in the hotel’s lobby, interviewing visitors and guests and sharing their stories on the Pfister’s blog (blog.thepfisterhotel.com). As narrator, she will be posting blog entries twice-per-week over a six-month period.

“To say I’m excited to be the next Pfister Narrator would be inaccurate and a little bit of an understatement,” says Williams. “More accurate would be to say that I’m a little nervous, as there’s great pressure in telling people’s stories with truth and honor. I am also more than excited, I’m thrilled: this is a chance to share the love of my adopted city of Milwaukee, to do so through such a beautiful historic establishment and via the voices of those who, often, like me, are not natives either.”

With a love of stories and storytelling, Williams has worked at a local Milwaukee bookstore for more than five years, and has experience in travel writing and blogging. She studied theater at University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee and is active in its creative writing program.

Williams was chosen to serve as narrator based on her writing style and outgoing personality from a significant pool of qualified applicants by a review panel, which included publisher of The Business Journal Serving Greater Milwaukee, Mark Sabljak; executive director of the East Town Association, Kate Borders; Judith Moriarty, a longtime local writer; and representatives from the hotel, including Julie Ferris, The Pfister’s first-ever narrator.

“We were thrilled with the success of the introduction of the narrator program last year,” says Joe Kurth, general manager of The Pfister Hotel. “Our guests have a special connection to The Pfister and interesting stories to tell—it has been wonderful sharing their unique experiences and backgrounds with the rest of Milwaukee and beyond.”

Williams will begin her stint as narrator on May 1, 2011. More information about the Pfister Narrator program can be found at www.ThePfisterHotel.com/Pfister-Narrator.

Meet Stacie Williams, our next Pfister Narrator

The Search for the Next Pfister Narrator

With Julie’s time as the current narrator coming to a close, it’s time to select her replacement.

With over twenty wonderful applications submitted this time around, it was a difficult decision for our esteemed panel.

After several hours of deliberation, the six finalists were chosen.

Thank you to everyone who entered and congratulations to the six finalists.

– Nancy Camden
– Judy Garty
– Lacy Kutz
– Annette Mertens
– Ellen Warren
– Stacie Williams

For an inside look at the Pfister Narrator selection process, visit Judith Ann’s feature on ThirdCoast Digest.

Diamonds are Forever

In 1971 the seventh Bond film in the franchise was released, cure “Diamonds are Forever,” starring Sean Connery as the dashing British spy working for HRM Secret Service.  This film made its mark on pop culture, and will continue to do so.

A few years later in 1977, mind AAA introduced the Diamond Rating system that it would use to rate lodgings across the United States and the World.  AAA Defines a Four Diamond property as such, “these establishments are upscale in all areas. Accommodations are progressively more refined and stylish. The physical attributes reflect an obvious enhanced level of quality throughout. The fundamental hallmarks at this level include an extensive array of amenities combined with a high degree of hospitality, service, and attention to detail.” Now if that doesn’t define the Pfister, what does?

That first year The Pfister Hotel, in Milwaukee, WI won the “Four Diamond Award” and has continued to do so for the next 35 years.  Here we are in 2011 celebrating our 35th win.  The Pfister Hotel is among a very rare collection of hotels worldwide to have held this honor, consecutively, since the awards conception.  Only 14 hotels have held this record. Not only that, but the Pfister Hotel was the first in the state of Wisconsin to receive this accolade.

“This is a great honor for the hotel to receive this award, and we accept it humbly with our thoughts on the future.” says General Manager, Joe Kurth.  The entire Pfister team takes pride in the award.  Many associates helped hang the award in the entrance to the hotel just as many have helped us earn it each year.  This award wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of our staff throughout the years. Their diligence, determination, and commitment to excellence are what keeps the AAA Four Diamond award coming to the Pfister Hotel.

So at the Pfister Hotel, it seems that Diamonds are Forever, at least the ones awarded by AAA.

Joshua Wolter

Hotel Assistant Manager

The Pfister Hotel Recognized for Community Efforts

Preferred Hotel Group has awarded a Certificate of Excellence to the historic Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee for its efforts in the areas of community and philanthropy. In its fifth year, the Great Initiatives for Today’s (Tomorrow’s) Society (GIFTTS) Hotel Recognition program was created to recognize exceptional actions on the part of member hotels and employees.

The Pfister was recognized this year for two of its efforts, the Pfister Narrator program and its employee’s contribution to The Marcus Corporation’s associate volunteer campaign. Pfister Narrator is a program in which a local writer is selected from a pool of applicants to spend time in the hotel’s lobby, interviewing visitors and guests and sharing their stories through a blog on the Pfister’s Web site. The program serves as a unique way for the hotel to interact with the community and echoes the hotel’s continuing support for the local arts.

The Pfister’s contribution to The Marcus Corporation’s “Moving Forward – Giving Back” associate volunteer campaign was also recognized by GIFTTS. The 350 employees at The Pfister Hotel participated in 6,210 hours of service in total, or 17.75 hours per person, surpassing its goal for volunteer hours.

“I’m extremely proud of the Pfister team for its support of the community,” says Joe Kurth, general manager of The Pfister Hotel. “We’re honored to have been recognized for our efforts and are committed to continuing that service moving forward.”

Celebrating more than 40 years of excellence, Preferred Hotel Group is a leading provider of business solutions for independently owned and operated hotels and resorts around the world. It is comprised of more than 800 best-in-class hotels and resorts in over 70 countries.

We’re Renovating the Pfister Cafe

We will soon be transforming a portion of the entrance area of the Café at The Pfister with a barista counter offering guests gourmet coffee on the go and freshly basked pastries and other items. This week, we’ve begun a six-week renovation project of the Café at The Pfister, located on the lobby level of the hotel, which is scheduled for completion at the end of March.

The renovation plans for the space include incorporating a patisserie into the entrance of the café with casual seating and a Starbucks® barista counter. The patisserie area will feature in-house gourmet pastries and desserts from Chef Robert Ash and his culinary team. The majority of the existing Café will remain as originally designed in order to retain the style and reputation it has earned throughout the years.

“Along with the addition of the patisserie and Starbucks counter, the entire café will be freshened up cosmetically,” says Joe Kurth, general manager of The Pfister Hotel. “The main dining room will have a more open feel and will allow for additional seating. In addition to the redesign of the entrance to the café offering guests-on-the-go more options, we will continue to serve the timeless classics our loyal customers love.”

The kitchen of Café at The Pfister will remain open with unchanged hours for the duration of the renovation project through the end of March, but service will be changing locations. Monday through Friday from 6am-2pm, café service for breakfast and lunch will take place in Rouge, the ballroom on the lobby level of the hotel. On Saturdays and Sundays from 6:30am-2pm, café service will take place in Mason Street Grill.

Read more about the renovation from Jeff Sherman of OnMilwaukee.com. Cafe at the Pfister is getting a makeover.Ann Christenson of Milwaukee Magazine: Quest for Croissant

2011 Artist In Residence Finalist [VIDEO]

The Pfister Hotel is known for its wonderful collection of Victorian art and its commitment to the Artist In Residence program.

Now going on its third year, generic the committee reviewed 21 excelllent submissions and have choosen the six finalist. One of them will be chosen to be the next Pfister Artist In Residence.

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Congratulations to our six finalists:

– Jim Zwadlo
– Anthony Suminski
– Jeremy Plunkett
– Kate Pfeiffer
– Stephen P. Ohlrich
– Shelby Keefe

And thank you to our fantastic committee members.

– Lisa Hostetler, capsule Curator of Photographs at the Milwaukee Art Museum
– Kate Wilson, The Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts
– Melissa Dorn Richards, Director of Cultural and Alumni Relations at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design
– Jon Anne Willow, Publisher and Editor and Chief of ThirdCoast Digest
– Tonya C. Smith, FLMI, Corporate Art Specialist from Northwestern Mutual
– Tim Smith, General Manager of the InterContinental Milwaukee
– Joe Kurth, General Manager of the Pfister Hotel
– Cassy Scrima, Area Director of Marketing for Marcus Hotels and Resorts

ThirdCoast Digest: The Pfister names a Narrator: Welcome, Julie Ferris

By: Judith Ann Moriarty of ThirdCoast Digest

Link to Original Article.

I’ve never met Julie Ferris face to face, buy viagra though I did watch a video tape of her answering questions about how she might best fit into the Pfister Hotel’s Narrator residency. The scene was in a private room just off the mezzanine area, where five review panelists met over a period of two weeks, the endpoint being one writer, selected from a field of twenty, who would serve as Narrator for six months.

The quality of the applications was impressive, and as a panelist I spent hours reading each and every word.

My choice was not Julie Ferris. But I was only one panelist. The other three felt strongly that she should emerge as the winner. And that’s fine with me. She graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. I hate to brag, but my grandpa graduated from the U of I in the 1870’s.

You certainly made a good impression during the taped interview: good eye contact, a big smile and no hesitation in your presentation. I was startled, perhaps because I expected the stereotypical writer, you know, someone shy and introspective…the tweed and horn-rimmed glasses type. Were you ever that person?

Yup. I sure was. Maybe not horn-rimmed, but definitely awkward… I always felt introverted, but no one would believe that. I’m open and energetic with friends and family, but I can be shy. I’ve just learned that functioning in this world means walking up to someone when you want something and offering a handshake.

Though I always feel shy and awkward, I am that person who will tell you that there’s mustard on your lip or something on your teeth. I’ve just learned over the years it’s better to push yourself to engage other people. Life is too short to always be afraid of what they’ll think of you.

You work in City Hall, a politician’s throw from the Pfister where you will conduct 10 hrs of interviews (per week) and then shape and post on the Pfister Hotel blog two takes on your experiences. I’ve sat in that lobby recently and noticed that most of the lobby loungers are busy gazing into their cell phone screens. Will it be a problem getting people interested in being interviewed? To them, you’ll be a stranger. Right? How are you going to handle that?

I spent the summer doing environmental theater at the Bristol Renaissance Faire. Granted, people who paid their entrance fee into the Faire were prepared to be approached by actors in funny costumes with bad accents…but still, it wasn’t as hard as you think to simply talk to someone. People want it and need it; sometimes they just don’t realize it.

I rode the bus one day sitting next to a quiet grandmother who stuck tight to her side of the seat. We watched a seemingly undisciplined teenage boy with drooping pants move out of the front seats to make room for an elderly man with a cane. The boy even helped the man to his seat. For all the attitude the young man had, we were both surprised.

The woman finally turned to me and patted my arm and said “Wasn’t that just so nice?” She just HAD to express something to someone about that moment and we had shared it so she turned to me to do it. I think people can engage. I’m banking on it.

So if you graduated from the great University of Iowa, you must have some fave writers who either attended the Iowa Writers Workshop, or taught at the university.Care to share?

I went to Iowa as a rhetorician. I had three other programs I was offered, but I am from the Midwest and Iowa was very close to home. It was also ranked the top program in the country so my father just said “Do it! If the number one school wants you, you should want them!”

In the back of my head, I secretly wished that in the five years I was there I’d meet John Irving. Plenty of other fantastic writers were a part of the university community and many more have gone on to earn great accolades, but I had grown up on Irving and in many of his books, he writes about his time at Iowa. I wanted to feel what he wrote and then meet him. Sadly, he never came through while I was there.

I did spend time with Pam Houston, my personal favorite, when she launched her first non-fiction memoir. That was a favorite moment.

Did you ever have ambitions to be a novelist, say in the manner of Joyce Carol Oates or any of the many other fine American writers?

I did and I do. I always wanted to be a writer, but also wanted many other things and followed those paths. When serving as an assistant professor, at conferences and more I would explain that my next career would be novelist. Another faculty member at a conference or some such said “Oh, yes, that makes you a true academic. We all think we have a fiction book in us.” And the people standing there all nodded in agreement. I didn’t like that moment, I wanted to feel that I was different.

I left academia and finally had the time to scratch out the book, which is about halfway finished and begs for my attention.

Six months, ten hours per week, $1,000 per month. Do you get free lunches? Did you know the café serves a sandwich named after Senator Herb Kohl? He dines there frequently, but a waiter told me the Senator never orders his namesake sandwich. Big couches and chairs, a blazing fireplace, an intimate bar. Sounds like a good gig to carry you through winter. But dangerous perhaps?

I think dangerous isn’t the word as much as “addictive.” I enjoy people. And the Pfister has so many events, nooks and crannies to find them in, and now in this role, I am official.  I’m like the Velveteen Rabbit—I’ve been made real. I’m no longer just some lady talking to a person—I’m supposed to be talking to people, it’s on my nametag! With that kind of sanctioning, I wonder if I’ll find myself addicted to the atmosphere and the people and the problem won’t be getting it done, the problem will be stopping.

Pfister Narrator: The review process has started!

In our previous post about The Pfister Narrator program, we mentioned how speechless we were about all the entries we’ve received. The review process has started.

Judith Ann Moriarty gives some insight in to the initial meetings with the selection panel. Check back for updates. We look forward to introducing our new Pfister Narrator soon.

Pfister Narrator: The entries are in!

Wow.

We are speechless. Just…Wow!

Thank you everyone for the overwhelming response to the Pfister Narrator program. We have a binder bursting full of entries.

Seriously, we do!

Furthermore, thank you to The Writer magazine, Poets & Writers magazine and ThirdCoast Digest for spreading the word about the program and preaching the Pfister’s commitment to the arts.

A review panel is currently evaluating all the applications and we will have our Pfister Narrator selected in the next couple of weeks.

Stay tuned to the Pfister Blog to find out who will be the first Pfister Narrator.