Thursday 10 December 2009

Ice Sculptures and Dueling Pianos!

The highlight from the week's training came tonight with a discount! Simply known as "Ice!", the two-million pound art display was imported to the Gaylord National Resort from China. Hand-crafted by 40 Chinese artisans, the ten-scene ice sculpture puts one in awe.

The tour begins by putting on an over-sized blue coat to keep goers warm inside the -9
ºF tent. Upbeat holiday music plays right from the entrance. From there, one enters a wonderland of sleds, bridges, Christmas trees, and even giant penguins all made entirely of ice!

Some of the many impressive ice displays!

The highpoint of ice exhibition would be the two-story slide! Climbing up the stairs covered by a red carpet, one can choose four various chutes to slide down. Be careful at the top though! As I checked myself when an employee warned to have the parka cover the thighs, I slipped and down the chute I went!

Racing a four-year-old down the two-story slide!

Candid look at the main room

A good friend, Cyndy Hernandez, came out to see the Bright Star Fountain Show before we headed out to watch dueling pianos at Bobby McKee's (conveniently located across the street from the Gaylord ). Through smiling and making friends with the bartender, we somehow received 50% off our food and drinks as we chatted away and listened to the piano showdown. Cyndy finished off the night by requesting her favorite song, "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John.

Dueling pianos at Bobby McKee's

As it was the last night of training, theconference attendees headed to the hotel's rooftop bar and nightclub, Pose Ultra Lounge. There, the co-workers and I met up with one of our colleagues to celebrate her 50th birthday. Woohoo!

Tuesday 8 December 2009

Holiday at the Harbor

A recent business trip to Oxon Hill, Maryland brought me to the newly constructed Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center (across from Washington D.C. on the shore of the Potomac River) . Just opened in April 2008, the 2000 room hotel features an 18-story glass atrium and a rooftop nightclub. Being December, the resort also exhibits nightly snowfall, indoor and outdoor light shows, a Peeps scavenger hunt, and a two million pound ice exhibition from China. Not too shabby!

View of the Gaylord National Resort from the Potomac River

Thus, after training days, it was nice to have dinner with the co-workers in nearby Alexandra, Virginia and then relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday season. Thumbs up for the Gaylord!

The National Harbor Christmas Tree Light Show! Watch for the stars!

Gaylord's Bright Star Fountain Show - almost Bellagio-esque!