Ms. Zully Perez, the Sales Manager of Crowne Plaza, greeted our Editor-in-Chief Nicola Styles and our Deputy Editor-in-Chief Janelle Allbritton with a smile that lit up the entire lobby of the beautiful Crowne Plaza in White Plains, NY. After introducing the team to Brett Bukofser, one of the managers, Ms. Perez swept them into the elevator for a short tour of the hotel’s beautiful rooms. BCG is primarily interested in what Crowne Plaza, White Plains has to offer Bridal Parties.
The décor is relaxing and neutral, just what a stressed out bride needs before her big day. Ms. Perez showed several options: the bride-to-be may simply take a single room, or she may decide to take over the suite, which has a full kitchen, a formal dining table, and a living room area. On each side, doors open into bedrooms of different sizes, giving flexibility for the use of either one or both.
In the lobby area, Ms. Perez showed the dining areas. Spacious and full of natural light, several sections offer options for private business meetings – or a bridal shower, of course. The bar is intimate and offers classic and seasonal cocktails along with the full food menu.
As the manager of the restaurant and bar, Mr. Brett Bukofser works with Chef Jim Shannon, a CIA graduate, to offer the perfect dining experience from start to finish, from food and drink to ambiance and service. As much as possible, ingredients are locally purchased because Crowne Plaza’s culture encourages supporting the local community to help create and sustain as many other businesses as possible – a win-win proposition.
Another win-win observation is the camaraderie between Ms. Perez and Mr. Bukofser: it was warm and professional, but it was also obvious they both enjoy their jobs at Crowne Plaza, and they enjoy working together with their teams to create the guest experience. They explained that Crowne Plaza’s corporate culture is very open to providing pathways for professional development, and their personal stories are also interesting. It is a pleasure to meet employees who are so enthusiastic, confident, well supported, encouraged, and mentored to reach for their full professional and personal development goals.
However, back to the food tour guided by Mr. Bukofser: the locally sourced ingredients come from local dairies, farms, and ranches. For example, the cheese comes from the Hudson Valley region, and the three-cheese plate offers Adirondacks-sourced sheep Cheddar, Fromage Blanc, and Kunick (a brie-like cheese). The Fromage Blanc which is Janelle's favorite is something she has in common with Mr. Bukofser: this whipped, sharp cheese could keep her happy for a long time.
Mrs. Styles is a pescatarian. Her diet includes seafood, but no pork or red meat. So, she directed her attention to tasting the salmon (moist inside, skin crisped outside), the spicy tuna Poké (spicy soy sauce, edamame, sesame seeds on a bed of glass noodles), the lobster taco, and the sautéed shrimp with fried plantain strips. However, every woman has a weakness, and for Nicola, it seems to be the scallops! These luscious, plump, tender bites of heaven just might be her weakness too. They are available in a pasta dish or can be added onto the salad plate offering asparagus, arugula, and hazelnut vinaigrette dressing. Do not miss a chance at tasting the Scallops!
Our team enjoyed bites of almost everything, in addition to the pork belly taco, which is gluten free, no less. These tender strips are marinated, deep-fried and served with manchego cheese and jalapeño sauce that balances out the flavor palette. The beef sliders were moist and beautiful – and with the chef’s chipotle sauce and a glass of red wine, we cannot imagine a better happy hour snack.
Ms. Bukofser offered an enjoyable cocktail at the beginning, and throughout the meal: a ginger martini featuring Domaine De Canton Ginger Liqueur with fresh ginger slices garnishing the top. His knowledge of cocktails and wines is, of course, excellent, as he has a background in bartending. His love for the perfect food-drink pairing led him into management, and now he enjoys the mutual inspiration with Chef Jim Shannon.
For the bride, both Ms. Perez and Mr. Bukofser can guarantee an elegant and professional experience with food (and wine) that is often locally grown and always thoughtfully put together in ways that will bring together friends and family for a memorable and happy experience.
For more information on how to set up a bridal party at the Crowne Plaza White Plains, email Ms. Perez at Zully.Perez@ihg.com.
-Story by Nicola Styles + Janelle Allbritton