Yesterday, after dinner with out-of-town guests, we visited the popular Presque Isle bayfront in downtown Erie, PA. Our guests hadn’t been here since Christmas, so we decided to show them the new Courtyard Erie Bayfront hotel, which is opening this week.
When we parked in the convention-center lot next-door, we noticed people walking in and out of the hotel’s front doors, and we thought perhaps it had already opened. When we approached the entrance, though, we spotted ladders in the lobby, so, we decided to take a walk around the exterior of the structure, which I must say, is stunning.
We strolled by outdoor seating areas with long gas fireplaces, peeked through large windows into the well-equipped fitness center, and gazed past a railing at inviting lounge chairs on a patio under the falling water of an infinity pool.
Spectacular Views, Food, and Libations
In the pool area, I spotted a worker in a bright green shirt cleaning the patio and asked him when the hotel was opening. He told me that the grand opening was on Thursday, and I complimented him on what we had seen so far. He was definitely proud of being part of the Courtyard team, telling us about the spectacular views from the guest rooms, the exquisite cuisine, and the delicious cocktails that would be featured. We told him that we live in the Erie area, but that we might just have to treat ourselves to a special night sometime. He enthusiastically encouraged that thought.
We continued our stroll around the adjacent convention center, where we snuck in the building to use the restrooms and purchase some bottled water from the vending machines. Arriving back at our car, we observed more people entering the front doors of the new Courtyard hotel. After a brief powwow, we decided to “innocently” enter those doors, too, for a stealthy look around.
We first attempted the revolving door, but it wasn’t operating, so we went around to the side, and found that door unlocked. We also found at least 30 people inside. Some milled around the bar, and others dined at the tables. Maintenance workers worked, and hotel staff members busied themselves at various stations around the sleek-looking lobby.
An Unexpected Tour of the New Hotel
As the four of us looked around, our mouths agape, a professionally dressed, ginger-haired woman approached and asked if she could help us. We obviously did not look like we belonged there. I confessed that we were being bad and had snuck in. Expecting to be politely invited to leave, I was surprised that she, instead, invited us to have a look around. I told her about the pleasant conversation we’d had with the worker on the patio and how his enthusiasm had rubbed off on us. Before I knew it, she asked if we’d like a short tour around the hotel.
The woman, whose name was Shannon, showed us the major features of the property, including the fitness room (top-notch), meeting rooms (capacity 81), spacious courtyard, and inviting indoor pool. She also took us to the outdoor infinity pool, which sparkled in the waning sunlight and taunted me to hop in.
Shannon then showed us a guest room, which offered a prime view of shimmering Presque Isle bay, and then she took us to a fifth-floor suite. I wish I had taken a picture there, because the floor-to-ceiling windows gave the illusion of floating above the diamond-like bay. It reminded me of a similar experience, years ago, at a Monterey hotel in California.
Back in the lobby, Shannon invited us to peek into the Shoreline Grille, where I observed a sales rep from a sister-property sampling a delicious-looking salad, which made me want to grab a fork, even though we had finished our dinner at Brewerie not long before. Shannon then asked if there was anything else she could show us, and when we declined, she thanked us for taking the time to tour the property. We, in turn, thanked her for taking time out of her busy day. There were smiles all around, when we said our goodbyes.
Just What Erie Needs for Tourism
This newest property on Erie’s bayfront is just what the city needs, as industry continues its gradual exit. I’m confident, though, that the region will prevail as the ghosts of heavy manufacturing yield to a culture of recreation and tourism.
The Courtyard Erie Bayfront is a destination in itself, and I hope to be able to enjoy one of its bay-view guest rooms for some special occasion in the near future. In any case, you’ll be sure to find me enjoying an umbrella-outfitted cocktail on Shoreline Grille’s patio sometime very soon.
Note: I have not been compensated to write this post. I’m merely enthusiastic about our new neighbor and very happy to share my impressions with you.
Ann Silverthorn writes about a wide variety of topics in numerous genres. She recently completed a biography of William E. Dimorier (1871-1951), a forgotten poet and educator, who dedicated his life to service and leadership. Several new projects are underway.