General Manager to Slide into Pool in Business Suit for Grand Opening at Red Lion Hotel at the Park
What: Grand Opening for Memorial Day Weekend of New Waterslide
Poolside at Red Lion Hotel at the Park
303 W. North River Drive
Spokane, WA 99201
When: Thursday, May 24, 10am
Attached: Photo of 1983 opening with then part-owner Don Barbieri:Photo Credit - The Spokesman-Review
May 24, 2012 // Franchising.com // Spokane, Wash. - The Red Lion Hotel at the Park is proud to announce the grand opening of its new 28-foot waterslide, waterfall and updated pool area. In an attempt to recreate the original opening of the pool and slide on April Fools’ Day in 1983, the hotel general manager will be the first to slide into the pool fully dressed in a business suit. The inaugural ride down the slide is planned for May 24, 10am, at Red Lion Hotel at the Park, 303 W. North River Drive.
“The story is legendary from the original opening of this pool,” said Patrick Shimon, Area General Manager of Red Lion Hotel at the Park. “It’s only right that we recreate the story in the same way we have rejuvenated one of the most photographed pools in the region and in Washington state.”
Just over 29 years ago, the 30-something part-owner of the hotel jumped on the slide of the new pool dressed in a business suit. Don Barbieri had lost a $5 bet with a contractor that the pool would not be ready in time for the grand opening. Barbieri is now Chairman of the Board of Directors for Red Lion Hotels Corporation.
After staffers at Red Lion Hotel at the Park challenged Shimon, he agreed to take the plunge. Unlike Barbieri, Shimon did not make any bets with the current landscaping contractor, Land Expressions. The pool took more 18 months to plan, permit and complete, although the actual construction by Land Expressions took just 12 weeks and was finished in time for its planned Memorial Day weekend opening on May 25 at noon.
The sweeping 28-foot waterslide moves riders down and around a 90 degree turn into the pool with 170 gallons per minute of fluid force. The drop from top to bottom is 11 feet. Located next to the slide is a 6-foot waterfall accentuated with LED lighting in six rainbow colors. The mound from which the waterslide and waterfall cascade is landscaped with weeping cedars, white pine and weeping Norway spruce and fashioned to mimic a native Northwest scene. In addition, Splash, the concessions area, has been updated for added poolside food and beverage service.
When asked which suit he will wear, Shimon said, “My finest suit, of course. It is the only one suited for the finest pool.” (Yes, we are sure it is not a bathing suit.)
Some facts from 1983:
- Ronald Reagan was President and George Bush was Vice President of the United States.
- A record 125 million viewers tuned in for the final television episode of M*A*S*H.
- Every Breath You Take by Sting was the 1983 Grammy Song of the Year.
Some facts from Spokane in 1983:
- Former Spokane junior high principal Tom Sneva won the 67th running of the Indianapolis 500 beating Al Unser by 11.1 seconds. He was 35 years old and had come in second three times before.
- The Spokane Stock Exchange was alive and operating.
- Spokane ham radio operator Bob Strand was one of several operators in the Pacific Northwest who made radio contact with astronaut Owen K. Garriott on board the space shuttle Columbia in what was the first ham radio broadcast from space.
- Don Barbieri lost a $5 bet and took the first plunge on the new water feature slide for the grand opening of what is now Red Lion Hotel at the Park.
About Red Lion Hotels Corporation
Red Lion Hotels Corporation is a hospitality and leisure company primarily engaged in the ownership, operation and franchising of midscale hotels under its Red Lion® brand. As of March 31, 2012, the RLH hotel network was comprised of 48 hotels located in nine states and one Canadian province, with 9,010 rooms and 452,387 square feet of meeting space. The company also owns and operates an entertainment and event ticket distribution business. For more information, please visit the company's website at www.redlion.com.
Red Lion Hotels Corporation