We recently stayed at the PRI for the third or fourth time, this time to celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary. It has always been what my daughter's husband has dubbed his mother-in-law's "happy place" --- the next best thing to Shangri-La. We were treated well as always, delighted with our Tree House room once again, and pleased to find a bottle of Piper Heidseck chilling in our room when we arrived. There are. of course, no words to describe the magic of the surrounding natural environment.
But it is unsettling to realize that the likes of Sean Parker can throw his gazillions of dollars at the PRI and impel them to bounce ordinary mortals from their bookings. If our reservations had been a week or so earlier, we might have been the ones who were bumped. For the handful of guests who complained publicly about this demeaning treatment, I wonder how many swallowed it silence?
It is particularly disconcerting to note that General Manager Dan Priano's rationalizations/explanations/"apologies" to two of the bumped guests were word-for-word identical. Can't really blame him for being unable to come up with a sincere and original apology, because there is no valid excuse for such boorish and insulting behavior --- especially on the part of an establishment that has a reputation for being the ne plus ultra of hospitality and customer service. (For those prices, they had better earn it.)
My question is this: could the money the PRI received from Parker compensate in the long run for the ill will and tarnished reputation the Inn earned with this tacky stunt? I doubt it. And never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I would use the word "tacky" to describe the PRI. In this instance it is well deserved. -lk
P.S. I must say that dinner at Sierra Mar, for the first time, was a bit of a disappointment. The incomparable setting, the truly top-notch servers, and plates that are almost too pretty to eat don't compensate for undistinguished food. The tasting menu is so precious and effete that it's hard to understand what you're getting. "Sformato"? I am pretty familiar with cuisines and preparation but that's a new one on me. (Hey, here's why: it's not in Webster. I get it: the chef makes this up as he goes along, assuming the hoi polloi won't know the difference.) It turned out to be a one-inch circle of carrot soufflé on top of a smear of green "fondue," accompanied by a few miniscule baby vegetables and thin curls of carrots as garnish: A visual work of art but not especially tasty, unless you're crazy about carrots.
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