Over the last decade Gretchen has traveled from India to Istanbul, from Seoul to South Beach Miami. In her capacity as an alumni relations professional, a fundraiser and a producer of special events she has worked with a wide variety of vendors, entertained in dozens of hotels and restaurants, and contributed to local communities by partnering with agencies and non-profits in efforts to support civic relationships between higher education institutions and their regional partners.
Gretchen’s Picks will be a go-to trusted resource for events venues (including hotels), hotels, restaurants, special event services such as photography, as well as tips on how to navigate global cities when it comes to taking care of yourself on the road, or your most important donor.
COMING IN JUNE 2013: THE BEST OF THE U.S. – For those who like to combine a bit of pleasure with work, I will share some of my favorite “go-to” spots for the best in hospitality, food, wine, recreation, and meetings and special event management. Highlights include South Beach, San Francisco, New York City, and Boston.
Istanbul: Best Hotel for University Business: Meetings, Special Events,
Hosted Meals and More
I helped plan Tufts’ University’s Tufts in the World program to Istanbul and Ankara this past May. The have traveled to the city regularly since 2005 and have usually stayed at the Hilton. The experience at the Swissotel has locked in my hotel choice for good! The staff was highly attentive to our needs for the group of 40 including our President, Provost, Deans, faculty, trustees, their companions and the planning team of administrators. We held an opening reception in a room with The View of the Bosphorus, an Community Reception for all alumni on the expansive lawn lit with candles and given a white-glove touch with ample attendants and an excellent PA system. The central location is key as well to minimize too much time spent in a car. Don’t miss all the major highlights and savor the fresh fish caught daily.
Asia: From Asia-West to Asia-East:
Go Global’s Picks for Hotels, Venues and Memorable Meals
Tokyo: Favorite Hotel – The Conrad
What’s not to love about the Hilton-branded Conrad when it is steps away from the famous Fish Market and central metro stops ready to whisk you away to the Ginza district for shopping or Shibuya for late night local dishes (all found off side streets and at least one set of stairs under the sidewalk). The Conrad’s staff are as attentive as ever and if you snap up a room on the an Executive Level floor you will get to enjoy a delicious buffet breakfast with a view of the city and wind-down after a full day of meetings with a glass of award-winning wine.
Seoul: Favorite Restaurant: OK Kitchen – It’s much more than OK!
OK Kitchen is one of the top restaurants in Asia. Back in April I had the luck of being introduced to the intimate setting with a powerhouse kitchen specializing in Asian-inspired French and Italian dishes..
The owner and chef du cuisine, Susumu Yongaguni, teaches classes at FoodArt Institute and guides his kitchen staff. During our visit he treated our table of 7 with his choices for 5 courses. Our host, a younger grad with huge investments in insurance and defense, brought us to OK. Memorable tastes from that afternoon: sashimi of all kinds with interesting spices and pickled salads, a prune-stuffed pork loin sliced as thin as a thick potato chip, amazing homemade orrichette with handcured ham and beans, and desserts to die for…mini bites of gorgonzola gelato on passion fruit parfait, chocolate fudge logs alongside minty froth and cream…you get the picture!