Theme Park Apprentice 5: Challenge 9


From Tim W
Posted July 29, 2013 at 8:25 AM
Theme parks are becoming less and less aimed at the local population and day-trippers and more and more destination experiences, where visitors come and spend several days exploring the parks at a more leisurely pace. Those guests need to spend the night someplace, and the operative word is “spend”. Why force visitors to spend their money at a hotel not affiliated with the park when they can stay at a facility owned and operated by the park, thus keeping the visitor immersed in the park’s theme and keeping the visitor’s money in the park?

Your challenge this week is to create a hotel for your park. It must have a theme, not necessarily the same as your park (but if different, you will need to justify that fact); it must have certain amenities that you need to detail (recreation facilities, spa, children’s facilities, just for example, but the choice is yours- these are just examples); restaurant (with just a very general menu- just a few examples of the menu items); number of rooms, special amenities of those rooms and range of prices. The level of service is also your choice, from economy to deluxe. A well-themed, well-described economy hotel could easily defeat a poorly-conceived, poorly-presented deluxe hotel that costs a lot but sounds boring.
Find the judges and the voters a place to stay while visiting your park!

All submissions should be posted by August 3rd at 11:59 PM, PT.

From Chad H
Posted August 3, 2013 at 5:11 PM
The "Wars of the Roses" were fought between 1455 and 1485 between the houses of Lancaster and York over the throne of England. Whilst the Yorkists did take the lead (and the throne) in the earlier parts of the dispute, the Lancasters ruled the day, with Henry VII being the first king in the Tudor dynasty (his Son, Henry VIII of course being much better known).

The name of the war comes from the symbols of the two houses, a red rose for Lancaster, a white rose for York.

(Note, the following is a constructed myth for the hotel, it is not historical fact)

Prior to the wars, the families of Avon and Cambrae, whilst loosely aligned with York and Lancaster respectively, got along famously as only good neighbours can. They sponsored together many combined events and feasts throughout Cambrae and Avonshire

During many of these events, the children of both houses would of course play and intermingle, and it is here that Charles of Cambrae and Mary of Avonshire, the two spend most of their childhood years in what we might describe today as "puppy love". It seemed a good match for the two families, and surely had things done as planned they would have lived happily ever after.

But alas, where is the interest in such a bland story? Of course things did not end up going that way. As the children continued through their teens the war of the roses began to heat up, with old alliances called into action. Any match between the Cambrae and those from Avonshire was politially impossible.

Charles did not let that stop him. He would often sneak through Avonshire incognito, sneaking through the Avon's palace to were Mary would be waiting for him. Occasionally they'd leave the palace in secret, and continued in their passions, breaking with every convention of the day.

The families however eventually discovered their tryst. The Cambrae tried to talk Charles away from pursuing Mary, and attempted to match him with others. Mary's family sent her away, to somewhere where they hoped Charles would be unable to locate her.

Despondent, Charles turned away from his family, declaring that he had no rose but Mary (Figaratively throwing away his links to his family, and their alliance), and severed links with his kin.

For Mary, a little more is known. She locked herself in her chambers in what would become "the Tudor Rose" despondent at losing her true love. She could be heard all night sobbing. She would barely take food, and was only seen by the servants who serviced the room.

There are three different versions told of why, and what happened next.

True romantics tell the story of Charles locating his Mary a year to the day later, and they left never to return. They lived humble lives with no ties to their prior history. Some say that the pair engaged a gypsy to curse those who had tried to prevent their love - and perhaps their is something to it, for the houses of Avon and Cambrae lie all but forgotten today, a series of strange accidents and misfortune driving them into ruin.

Others still believe that Mary was murdered not long after her arrival in the palace; the family unable to bear the shame, but kept up appearances until her death could be explained away. Upon learning of her death, Charles spent his remaining years ensuring the downfall of the house of Avon in Mary's name, and taking his own house with it.

For some, the truth lies in the middle. It is said that Mary cried for a year and a day, until one night, the palace was silent. Mary's mother, awoken by the silence entered Mary's chambers and discovered Charles and Mary, and killed them both in a fit of rage. The Muderous rage hitting the love of the pair creating the curse that brought down both families.

Whichever is true, there are certainly some strange things happening in The Tudor Rose…

The Tudor Rose is named in Mary's honour, coming from Charles' declaration that Mary was his only rose.

Palace / Hotel

The Tudor rose is a recreation of the exterior Palace of Placentia built in the style as would have been used in during the period of the Tudors… Although this may mean it loses some of the "authenticity", it does mean the interior can be constructed with modern accessibility, comfort and safety expectations.

The interior is decorated as you would expect a palace, with classical furnature of the period, and paintings of the fictional Avonshire nobles. Most prominent are pictures of Mary, and her family, with Mary's eyes mecahnically driven to follow you around the room.

The hotel is designed to be around 3 star, and priced at a slight premium to normal hotel rooms of this calibre.

The Tudor Rose has two marketing tracks. For those who have families with children, it offers itself as a companion hotel to the park - offering youngsters the adventure of staying in a haunted castle.

For those who are a bit older, the hotel markets itself as a destination in its own right. Modern construction allows rooms to be dynamically reconfigurable between "Family configuration" and "Couple configuration", allowing sections of the hotel to be rededicated as the seasons and emphasis change, so the two customer types to be separated.

A "Family Room" has the place of two "Couple Rooms"

Standard Amenities
*Room Serivce - Selection of items from the Tea Rooms
*Park Souvenir delivery service
*Spa and Massage (in room available)
*Park concierge service

Resturant 1 - The Great Hall

The Great Hall offers themed dining marketed at the Family and event market; promoted to guests of the park as well as family staying at the hotel. Its also used for events for the greater market.

The Great Hall operates on a buffet basis on either a one plate, or all you can eat basis.

Kings Breakfast - The widest selection of Breakfast foods seen anywhere.

A light Snack - Anything but! A lunch food buffet with artisan breads, continental meats, salads and more.

The Feast - Roast and smoked anything and Everything in this grand buffet, along with a wide selection of baked deserts. You'll also find a huge selection of salads.

The King's Banquet - The Feast on Steroids. In addition to the Feast, you'll also be able to select from a number of Chef's specials, and will be entertained by a Henry VIII impersonator (along with other members from his court), Jesters, Minstrels, and more (All you can eat only, seasonal, available for events)

Restaurant 2 - The Tea Rooms

For those who prefer a more intimate, formal experience, or something a bit lighter, the tea rooms offers a more traditional al a carte setting, the Tea Rooms offers a selection of classic dishes from 11am onwards, and offers a classical afternoon tea service.

Main meal Items include pan fried salmon, Garlic Chicken breast, and steak.

The Hot Springs

To the rear of the palace is a series of rocky pools filled with warm water. Legend has it that prior to the disappearance (or death) of Mary, there were no hot springs near the palace, and these springs formed from her tears.

The springs are Seperated into two pools, the lower pool, fed in from the upper by a small waterfall, is designed for families, with a range of small slides and soft drink bar.

The upper area is designated for adults only, with half of the pool taking on more of a hot tub feel, and a bar offering cocktails.

Mary's Rooms

The rooms inhabited by Mary, and her mother, are roped off by day, with "Haunted tours" taking place through these during peak season, and by prior booking for events. The walkthrough tour uses a range of special effects and actors to tell the story of Mary and Charles.


With the British climate the way it is, a hotel focused purely on the park would likley suffer outside of peak tourist season, unless it can find some other reason to exist. The Tudor rose offers a solution to this problem, with a backstory that can appeal to both a romantic crowd (particularly if "Solution 1" to the mystery is emphasised), as well as the adventure of staying in a castle/palace for younger guests in the tourist season; it is able to stand on its own, whilst complementing the historical britain themes found in the park.

From Jay R.
Posted August 3, 2013 at 7:40 PM
The Excursion.

The perfect place to relax after an exciting day at the park. This Northern California resort is priced at a mid level range & is the official hotel of Exposition Summit: A Literary Park

The complex is located next to the park.

The actual hotel rooms are located in 2 towers that connected in the center. (From an aerial view, it looks like a "V".....or an open book). The resort spans and covers the area all around the towers.

The hotel itself is divided by experience, Adult & Family. Within these 2 experiences, are sub themes:

Adult (Classic & Romance)
Family (Children & YA)

Main Lobby - The main lobby is modeled after a large library. The walls contain the spines of books while the lobby floor contains a zig zag of famous lines from books printed ("It was the best of times, it was the worst of times", "Call me Ishmael", "I am an invisible land", etc.).


Like Water For Chocolate - Based on the book of the same name, this Mexican restaurant features all the recipes from the novel (each section of the book began with a recipe). There are also other traditional Mexican dishes on the menu.

Story Cafe - Serving breakfast, lunch & dinner, this cafe is reminiscent of a fast casual restaurant, with something for everyone.
At night, the cafe specializes in "late night snacks" & bedtime stories for families & younger guest. The staff wear "pajama" uniforms & young guest are invited to wear their pj's and enjoy a story.

Excursion Steakhouse - This is the premiere, upscale dining experience at the hotel. Featuring steak, chops, seafood, etc. Reservations are recommended.

Book & Breakfast - Here, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.....or night. This diner is open 24 hours.

There is also a food court located in the shopping walkway.

Amenities: (Adult)

The Vineyard - This small "mini winery" offers wine tasting & good conversation in a sophisticated space. The hotel also arranges (with a third party) day trips to Napa & Sonoma Valley.

Wedding Chapel & Gardens - There are a few different wedding packages offered & hosted at this area. Couples can choose a "Classic" wedding or an "Inspired By" wedding. These contain specialized elements from romance novels (The Notebook, Pride & Prejudice, etc.)

The Gardens are accessible to all other hotel guest if no wedding parties are being hosted. These gardens feature small waterfalls & gazebos along the colorful path.

Spa - This spa offers a wide range of services. From affordable standard massages, facials, etc. to the more luxurious forms of pampering.

Gatsby Jazz Lounge - Guest can relax is this low key lounge & enjoy the sounds of local jazz musicians.

Amenities (Family)

Jr. Authors Club - Hotel guest can sign up for these creative family events which include writing & illustrating your own stories and/or picture books in a large art studio. Costumed characters such as Barbar & Clifford may make appearances.

Y.A. Writers Lab - Somewhat similar to the Jr. Authors Club, this experience is for teens / pre teens who are interested or have shown an interest in writing. Part Social / Part Educational, teens will be paired up & write a short stories (genres will be randomly assigned) & will be able to present them. Professionals will instruct & direct these sessions.

Clifford's Play Room: This indoor playground features the famous big red dog & an assortment of slides & tunnels.

The Game Center - This Center contains a mix of table games (air hockey, fooseball, ping pong, etc.) arcade & midway games.

Amenities (All)

Excursion Way - This mini walkway includes an exclusive Scholastic Shop, a resort retail store, & bookstore & small food court.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Pool) - Designed around Jule Verne's classic, this huge aquatic dream area features large free form heated pools, slides, water cannons & more. This world of water will be a hit with all hotel guest. Jacuzzis are available as well.

The Library - Hotel Guest can check out an assortment of books at any point during their stay (The books of all attractions/eateries at the park will be included here)

Gym - 24 hour gym.

Special Events:

Various seasonal events will occur at the resort including book signings & artist Q&A's & Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol overlay (this matches the overlay that will occur at Exposition Summit during Christmas)


Rooms are available in standard, deluxe & specialty suites.

Specialty Rooms & Suites: (Not a complete list, but I'm including an example from each, Family & Adult)

Eloise Hotel Adventure - Based on Eloise, this room recreates her "Plaza hotel room" from the book.

Sense & Sensibility - The decor is influenced by the Jane Austin's cottage romance.

Shuttle service is provided to the front gate of the park.

From Mike Kinshella
Posted August 4, 2013 at 12:44 AM

Located within the City of Shadows (but with an entrance on
the outside of the park as well) sits the stately Hotel de Grandin. Inspired by
the popular adventures of Dr. Jules de Grandin – paranormal investigator, this
offers not only comfortable accommodations for the weary Weird World traveler but
also (for an additional charge), more adventurous guests can spend a night (or
two or three) in an “authentic” haunted hotel room!

The Hotel de Grandin offers regular rooms and two levels of
haunted rooms for the pleasure of their guests. Those staying in rooms on the
11th floor will experience some thrills, chills and bumps in the
night while guests staying on the 13th floor get a more intense

Room Rates

Regular Room - $285/night

Haunted Room (light) - $300/night

Haunted Room (intense) - $400/night

The “haunting” within the rooms on the 11th and
13th floors are achieved through various visual and audio effects
planted throughout the suites. Everything from standard moving furniture, doors
that shut by themselves, swinging chandeliers and ghostly whispers to ghastly
fiends lurking in mirrors, ice cold winds originating from seemingly nowhere,
flickering and failing lights, statues that spring to life and beds that shake
and levitate may await you on your stay along with countless other ghoulish
surprises. Each room is unique (although many of the effects do appear in more
than one room) and has its very own backstory (and in some cases, characters).
Guests who want to play amateur ghost hunter can interact with certain effects
and elements, unlocking clues to the atrocities that took place in each
respective room.

All rooms are decked out with the usual amenities.

There are several parts of the hotel (a few of which are
open to regular park guests) which are modeled after famous haunted hot spots
around the United States:

The Black Orchid Ballroom

A five star table service restaurant within the hotel is
themed after infamous ballroom/restaurant of the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas,
Texas. It offers classic American fare but with a technical French twist –
prime steaks, gourmet burgers, delightful breakfast options including a vast
selection of crepes and world class desserts await the lucky food fan that finds
themselves here. Those taking dinner at the Black Orchid will also be treated
to live jazz.

Carousel Bar

Based on the famous bar in New Orleans’ most haunted hotel -
the Monteleon, the Carousel bar is a popular spot for Weird World’s adult crowd
to get out of the summer heat or unwind at the end of the day. A full bar as
well as soft drinks are on offer and the décor must be seen to be believed.
There are even a few house cocktails inspired by de Grandin stories such as The
Devil’s Rosary
, The Silver Countess, The Black Moon and The Brain-Thief.

The Lobby

The expansive lobby is an almost exact replica of the lobby
of the famous Colorado Stanley Hotel, well known as the location of Stanley
Kubrick’s The Shining.

The Pool

The pool (accessible only to hotel guests) is completely
indoors and modeled after the most haunted spot within the world’s most haunted
ship - the Queen Mary.

Trowbridge Lounge

Named after Dr. de Grandin’s loyal assistant in supernatural
crime fighting, this private lounge is for hotel guests only and is accessible
only by waving a hotel key card in front of a small Oriental statue in a second
floor sitting room. A gong will sound and a bookshelf will slide away revealing
the entrance to this comfy quiet lounge where cocktails, beer, soft drinks and
appetizers are served and patrons are entertained by the weird and macabre décor
as well as live piano or harpsichord music.

From Bryce McGibeny
Posted August 4, 2013 at 6:23 AM
I hate to be the latest drop out, but I am. I have just been way to busy with school work, work, volunteering, etc. I look forward to next season, where it will probably be easier for me to participate.

Thank you Tim for creating such an awesome concept, and thank you Andy, James and Tim for being great judges!

From Tim W
Posted August 4, 2013 at 3:37 PM
Sorry to hear about that Bryce. I wish you could have continued. A big congratulations is in store to our top 3, Mike, Jay, and Chad. It's now time for the finale!

From James Koehl
Posted August 4, 2013 at 4:29 PM
Chad H.- "The Tudor Rose Hotel and Restaurant". You picked one of my favorite (should I spell it "favourite"?) eras of British history, the Tudor Era. In fact right now I am reading a book called "The Royal Palaces of Tudor England" in my This hotel would fit perfectly into your park. I must say that I thought the back story was a bit lengthy, a great story but larger and more convoluted than needed for the average guest to follow or even care about. You seemed to be emphasizing the "haunted" aspect of the hotel, but it really isn't mentioned much other than with the eyes following guests and with "Mary's Rooms". As a Tudor-themed hotel, it would be great fun to stay in and experience the "oppressive magnificence" (I read that phrase in the book I'm reading) that these palaces offered. The two restaurants would be excellent, offering great variety for diners. I was confused about the King's Banquet- if it is held in the Great Hall at the same time as the Feast, what is to keep the guests who only paid for the Feast from getting the entertainment from the Banquet for free? Two different rooms would be needed- in true Tudor fashion, the King never ate in the Great Hall, but in one of the smaller, more elegant rooms found after the Great Hall (the Watching Chamber, Presence or Privy Chamber). But I'm getting all history-teacher on you. I especially liked the backstory of the Hot Springs, and how they are separated with adults-only areas and family pools. Detailing how it could be kept open during the park's off-season was a good touch and showed that you had thought this through.
Two things that you did leave out: 1) how many rooms? 2) what is the rate for the rooms? Stating that it is a three-star facility with a slightly premium rate does not tell us what it would cost. Dollars or Pounds, I would have liked a price range.
I loved my last visit to the UK, when I got to tour Hampton Court Palace and see just how magnificent the Tudor palaces were. I would love to stay at the Tudor Rose Hotel- it would be great fun and a fine hotel for your park.

Jay R.- "The Excursion". At first I was confused by the name of the hotel, until I did some research and found that it is a poem by William Wordsworth. Interesting name, although the hotel really had nothing to do with the poem and its English countryside setting. I thought that your inclusion of a wide variety of writing genres would provide a great opportunity for an interesting juxtaposition of books/activities/amenities. Just like most libraries, there is usually a vast mixture of books and stories sharing a common space in your hotel. I don't think that most visitors would find that confusing as long as there was a method of finding the "book"/activity they were looking for.
The Lobby Library would be welcoming and would set the tone for the entire resort perfectly. Your multiple choices for restaurants would provide plenty of opportunities for guest to indulge their every gastronomic whim. I especially liked the idea of the Gatsby Lounge.
The Junior Authors' Club and Y.A. Writers Labs...good idea, but I wonder how limited a draw they would provide. Based on my kids (who might be the exception) I suspect that most kids are going to be there on vacation, and the writers labs seem too much like homework. Some would love it- most would avoid it like a summer reading list of Shakespeare's Sonnets.
The rest of the amenities you listed provide a complete, well-rounded resort experience for your guests.
You left out how many rooms in the resort, and saying the rooms are Standard, Deluxe and Specialty Suites does not tell me what they cost. I wrote this challenge- I specifically asked for room rates and number of rooms.
This omission does not take away majorly from the overall high quality of your proposal, which was of a well-conceived resort, one appropriate to your park and one that would keep guests both entertained and in the spirit of the park.

Mike Kinshella- "Hotel de Grandin" is a hotel that guests would be dying to check into! You proposal is one of the most complete, well-research proposals I have yet seen. You found the most haunted places and brought them all together into one spectacular event. I especially appreciated the fact that you included prices into your proposal, but the small difference between a regular and lightly-haunted room seemed too small. My suggestion? Have all rooms "hauntable" and for an extra fee the hotel could "turn on" the haunting effects in the room, and turn them off if the guest requests it for being too haunted: "I love it, my kids love it, my husband is hiding under the bed and won't come out until the room is exorcised" kind of thing. Base the price on size and amenities, and have the haunting effects extra.
I really can't find fault in any area of the hotel: the Black Orchid Ballroom, the Carousel Bar, the Lobby copied from the hotel in "The Shining"- all would be a perfectly haunting experience for your guests, who would remember their stay at the Hotel de Grandin as a highlight of their visit to your already memorable park.
One complaint (and I have this complaint with other challengers but haven't voiced it yet). Your proposal just sort of stops. There is no sort of conclusion, recap, something to tie it all together and win me over to your proposal. Chad H., as an example, includes a Conclusion to his proposal that lets me know that he looked at it as a complete package, and didn't just run out of things to say and stopped writing. Proposals need to be like a story, a beginning to grab our interest, a middle with the meat of the proposal, and an end, a conclusion to tie everything together and leave us satisfied and remembering just how wonderful the entire proposal was- even if it wasn't. Yours was- it just feels unfinished.

From Tim W
Posted August 5, 2013 at 7:46 AM
Chad H: This week, your hotel provided a rich backstory that led to the creation of a haunted hotel. I think the story worked wonderfully with the rest of your park. I felt very engrossed in the whole backstory, that it overshadowed the lackluster descriptions of the hotel itself. So much more could have been done within the hotel to give the illusion of it being haunted. The three star rating seemed a bit out of place when describing that guests would be staying in a palace. I applaud the unique clientele that you would bring to the hotel, highlighting the stays of families or couples. Both restaurants within the hotel seemed adequate, but they were nothing too amazing to make them stick out. The Hot Springs and Mary’s Room provided great recreational additions to the hotel, taking cues from the backstory. Overall the hotel sounded like a great experience, but I would have loved to see further usage of this haunting theme within the hotel description.

Jay R: The “V” hotel has become somewhat commonplace of one contestant to due within the hotel challenge. We’ve had some interesting interpretations for the usage of a V shaped hotel, but I think the explanation of being an open book works as the best explanation thus far. One fault to the hotel was the description of the various hotel themes. The inclusion of these broad themes did not give me much inclination as to how each room would be themed, aside from the Romance rooms. The Story Café certainly served as the standout among the restaurants offering a unique family themed experience. Although I am not familiar with “Like Water for Chocolate”, the restaurant theme seemed to work well, but may be a bit out of place in your hotel. The amenities further offered nothing too spectacular, but I was thrilled with the naming choice for the Gatsby Jazz Lounge. The family amenities were very nice additions to this hotel, providing some very interesting literary experiences for children and teens. Overall the hotel theme was good, but the concept was executed poorly. I felt there was a lack of a coherent theme to the hotel that would unite the extensive variety of literature that was included.

Mike Kinshella: Whereas Chad provided backstory for the theming of his haunted hotel; your hotel provided the true experience of what a haunted hotel should be. The inclusion of the effects is something that I would expect to scare the guests and provide entertainment. While I understood the basic concept to each room, I would have loved to know some of the backstories associated with a few of the rooms. The included restaurants were exceptional, being the best of the week. I could see the various theming working well with the haunting of the hotel. The other descriptions such as the lobby and pool did the hotel justice by further providing amenities that would be themed after famous haunted locations. The Trowbridge Lounge seemed to take a cue from the likes of Harry Potter. It provided a nice ending to the hotel description, where the weird and unnatural would be heightened. Overall the hotel was well researched, but could have benefited from further descriptions and a bit more detail.

From Tim W
Posted August 5, 2013 at 7:47 AM
This week's rankings:

1. Mike
2. Jay R and Chad H - TIE

From Andy Milito
Posted August 5, 2013 at 11:11 AM
Sorry for the late critiques:

Chad H- Your hotel set up a fascinating atmosphere and backstory, something I found to be quite unique and original. The restaurants worked well with your hotel, matching the theme you've established. Having the pool be separated was also an interesting choice, allowing areas for children and families, as well as parents looking to get away from their hassles. However, it would've been nice to see a bigger description of the haunted hotel experience that you're offering, especially when another competitor did a similar concept.

Jay R: Much like Chad's pool at his hotel, I liked how your hotel accommodated for both adults and children/families. You had a nice variety of restaurants that would appeal to all kinds of people. The amenities were all well done, and basing them on literature was nice. The range of literature was scattered at times, but it certainly matched your theme.

Mike Kinshella: Your hotel was terrifying, for a lack of a better word! You also used the theme of a haunted hotel, but your experience went all out, which I enjoy a lot. You always manage to create a fantastic atmosphere within your entries, and this is no exception. As a movie nerd, I LOVED the idea of having the Stanley Hotel be the inspiration for the lobby (The Shining is my favorite horror movie ever!). I feel that you could have gone into a bit more detail regarding certain aspects of the hotel, such as the rooms and what differentiates "light" and "intense." Otherwise, fantastic proposal!

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