Black Friday at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City plus giveaway

Posted by: jason

Trip report:
Black Friday at the Grand America hotel in Salt Lake City plus giveaway

Review of the Grand America Executive Suite

Most people equate Black Friday with lining up at ungodly hours in front of Walmart, Best Buy, and Target in order to secure limited quantity deals on electronics and other goods. After waiting in frozen temperatures, everyone rushes into the store trying to grab the limited items at crazy prices.

Personally I’ve moved all of my Black Friday shopping online. Retailers are apt to offer a lot of the same deals online and with free shipping often being offered and not having to wait in line, this method works best for me.

My wife was perusing Salt Lake Magazine and saw a post on their blog talking about the Grand America window stroll for 2013 and a contest associated with this year’s windows.

My family has gone to the Grand America window stroll since 2010. It’s been a fun thing for our family to walk around the beautiful Grand America hotel, sipping on hot chocolate and tasting fresh gingerbread cookies while looking at the beautiful window displays they commission each year. Each year they have a specific theme for the windows and recently they’ve started doing a contest where you pick out some information from each window, fill out a card, and turn it in for a prize at the end. My kids look forward to it each year.

Grand America 2011

Grand America 2011

Grand America 2011

Grand America 2011

Grand America 2012

Grand America 2012

The contest consisted of a free breakfast buffet for two for the first 10 guests to complete the stroll starting at 8 am on Black Friday. It also included access to a meet and greet with Stephen Wunderli and a signed copy of his book. The Grand America buffet is unreal, with so many options to choose from – fresh pastries from the French pastry chef, omelette station, fresh fruits, and many other goodies.

We decided that we were going to go for it and be one of the first 10 guests. We set our alarms on Black Friday and got the kids up early and drove up to Salt Lake to the Grand America. We arrived at about 7:40 am not being entirely sure if there were going to be 1000 people there or just us. We split into two groups at both ends of the hotel in order to maximize our coverage. I anticipated running through the halls looking at each window in order to beat the other contestants. Luckily, the organizer of the event, seeing that we were the first people to be there, handed us a certificate for all 5 of us to have a breakfast buffet and informed us that there would be no need for us to sprint through the hallways. We were relieved that we could spend more time enjoying the windows without running around knocking people over trying to be the first. :)

Reindeer Stables window

Reindeer Stables window

Shipping and Handling window

Shipping and Handling window

Quality Assurance window

Quality Assurance window

Engineering Department window

Engineering Department window

Fashion Studio

Fashion Studio

All of the windows above were created by artist Dennis Wardle who we had the pleasure of meeting during the unveiling. Most of the windows featured some motorized parts to their display.

After looking at all the windows, we headed over to the Garden Cafe for our free breakfast buffets. The buffet featured all kinds of fresh fruits, pancakes, french toast, omelettes, oatmeal, fresh pastries, and many more items. I’ve been pushing towards a healthier lifestyle recently and dined on egg white omelette, oatmeal, and some fresh fruit.

After we were finished with our breakfasts, we headed over to the unveiling of the massive gingerbread house.

Gingerbread House Facts

Gingerbread House Facts

They used 1,200 pounds of flour, 400 pounds of sugar, 1200 eggs, 160 quarts of molasses, 800 pounds of powder sugar, 1500 gumballs, 600 candy canes, 200 pounds of Rice Kristy treats, and 25 pounds of chocolate. It took six carpenters 288 hours to assemble it, 693 labor hours of baking, 80 hours of interior design work, and 16 hours of lighting and music. It was certainly a sight to see.

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The last event was a book reading and signing by author Stephen Wunderli of his book, “Maurice Travels“. While we were waiting for the book reading, the event organizer approached us and told us how much she appreciated our participation in this year’s event and handed us a certificate for a free night stay in an Executive Suite! It shocked us both and also was the perfect timing as our 15th wedding anniversary was approaching. I thanked her for this very generous gift.

Lastly, we went to the book reading – it’s a children’s book about the Grand America mascot, Maurice and his traveling adventures. Prior to the event they had fresh baked cookies and milk for the kids to munch on.

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After the book reading, my kids got a book signed by the author. I had him sign an extra one to Milesquest readers that I’m giving away. In order to win a signed copy of the book “Maurice Travels” – simply leave a comment in the comment section answering this question – “What unique destination are you planning on going to in 2014?”. The winner will be picked at random in one week’s time.

Overall it was a great, unique Black Friday spent eating breakfast, looking at windows, a gigantic gingerbread house, and hearing about the adventures of Maurice.

  • Samuel said,

    Phuket!

  • Derek said,

    Vancouver! It might not be a super unique place, but it will be my first time traveling out of the country. Thanks for the great post.

  • Mel said,

    I’m planning 2 weeks in Alaska driving around the Grand loop. I want to show my husband the Ice Museum and go to the North Pole. We will be going to Midnight baseball on the Summer Solstice.

  • Alexis L said,

    I’ll be traveling to Seattle, which is new to me.

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