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All hands on Deck!

A Waldorf Story by Diane Paterson

I am a meeting planner and have been one for many years. Way back in the early 90s I had a very large event in the Grand Ballroom. Our lunch was in the Starlight Roof. This was a large group, and we had a cocktail in the pre-function space before sitting down. We had a great keynote speaker, so people were sneaking into the fully set (salads and beverages pre-set) Starlight Roof to place a bag or jacket to secure a good seat.

Well, it was the middle of winter and about eight minutes before we were going to encourage people to head to the room to sit down, a frozen pipe in that beautiful ceiling burst and it was “raining” water on the entire room and on the salads and people’s belongings. People were running in to grab their things!

The most amazing thing I have ever seen in all my years of planning events happened. We extended the pre-function cocktails for exactly 20 minutes, then a magical orchestration of every employee in the hotel reset my conference style meeting room in the Grand Ballroom. I stood there in awe of the ringleader F&B director who was just like an air traffic controller rolling in 72" rounds and chairs while the conference services team was removing the conference tables. I honestly do not know how they all did not collide. All this while the kitchen was recreating a starter for hundreds of people and keeping the entree from being overcooked. A complete reset with fine china, linen, chairs, florals—all within 20 minutes. I saw housekeepers, bellmen, and everyone else helping.

It was truly a sight to see, and my attendees were so impressed, and the meeting was a great success, and I am sure someone who was there will see this story and recall this memory well! I will never forget it or any of the other incredible events I held and attended in the hotel.