Birthday Surprise for my Hubby!

On Sunday, September 18th, 2011, my awesome husband Jeff turned 35.  It is also the Anniversary of when we began dating and the Anniversary of Jeff proposing to me.  Every year on September 18th, we do something special, whether it be taking a picnic out to the beautiful field where he proposed or some other equally cool romantic adventure like camping or a trip.  This year was going to be amazing – I had a major surprise lined up for a very unsuspecting Jeffum…

The Renaissance Hotel in Cleveland has been a special place for us since the very beginning.  It was in this very elegant hotel lobby on this very day that we began our relationship, then celebrated with dinner at the San Souci (4-star Restaurant at the Renaissance).  Exactly one year later on this same day, he proposed to me.  So celebration was definitely in order.  We left Norwalk and headed toward Cleveland, and I’d assumed Jeff had already figured out that we were going to the San Souci for dinner.  But little did he know, that was only the tip of the iceberg.

Our Special Spot

We arrived and went over to our special corner where we shared our first kiss and I gave him his birthday card.  They had replaced the couch with two chairs, but that’s ok…  We just scooted them together.  :-)


The card reads: “To my Husband, with Love.  In case you were wondering — I notice…   I notice how hard you work to make things the best they can be.  I notice how much you give, never expecting anything in return.  I notice that you never forget to play or laugh or love or make me feel important…  And in case you were wondering, I notice how incredible you are at being a husband and still finding time to be my friend.”  Happy Birthday — “We’re the luckiest people on earth…  I love you so much!!”  ~Sarah

I told Jeff that I had to use the restroom, then got up and walked out of sight.  Once out of sight, I hurried over to the front desk because I had a little something I needed to take care of.  😉  I told him I would show him some of the ballrooms in the hotel, then we got into the elevator and I pressed ’10’.  The elevator doors opened and we started walking down a large hallway, passing rooms on the right and left with single doors.  I said, “I hear that a queen room for one night here is over $300…  Look at all these rooms with one door…  Hmm…”  We then rounded a corner and at the end of the hall were two huge double wooden doors.  We walked up to it and stopped.  I pulled a key out of my pocket and said, “Do you want to do it or should I?” and gave him a smirk.  He was just beaming…  I put the key into the slot and said, “After you.”  :-)

Then he walked into THIS:

The Deluxe Suite Living Room / Dining Room / Kitchenette

Deluxe Suite Dining Room / Kitchenette

The Deluxe Suite at the Renaissance Hotel in Cleveland is $1600 per night.  As in, ONE THOUSAND, SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS.  Crazy!!!  The General Manager uses this room when he has to stay over.  Some of the most famous people in the world have stayed in this room!  However, we were able to get an amazing deal through a friend and got this room for only $229!  Unbelievable!!!

Waiting for us was a bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries.

Jeff was in disbelief. I couldn't have been more excited... He had to sit down, lol.

So, allow me to show you the rest of this INSANE Deluxe Suite:

A Plush, King-Sized Bed

HUGE solid marble bathroom. Jacuzzi and walk-in shower! Larger than life, man...

The shower was enormous.  Two large shower heads – the thing looked like a hallway inside.

Awesome 2-man shower

When 6pm rolled around, we headed downstairs to dinner at the San Souci!  This place is unreal.  Don’t expect to get out of there for less than $100, but the food is to DIE FOR!!  Albert, a friend of the family who works here, used to make Shirley Temples for me and my sister when we were young.  The minute we sat down to dinner, the waitress came over and set this in front of me:

A Shirley Temple surprise for me from Albert. :-)

Then we ordered dinner.  While we waited, the waitress brought out this interesting trio of dips / olive salad spread and an assortment of breads & wafers.  Yum.  Then, our appetizer came!!

Braised Short Ribs with Savory Gravy on caramelized Brussels sprouts topped with Crispy Onions

I went to cut it and when I stuck the fork in, it fell apart, lol.  You didn’t even have to chew this, it was so tender.  I ordered the Filet Mignon and garlic shrimp over asparagus, so I chose a nice Cabernet to go with it.  Jeff got the Sea Scallops and herb roasted potatoes with tomatoes and braised fennel in a citrus sauce, so he picked a Pinot Noir.

Jeff and I at the San Souci

Finally, our meals came!!  YUMMMM….

Filet Mignon with Garlic Shrimp, Baked Potato over Roasted Asparagus

This Filet had to be the most tender, delicate piece of meat I’ve ever eaten.  The shrimp were perfectly cooked and SO flavorful…  Mmm, I can taste it while typing about it.  Jeff’s was just as delicious:

Sea Scallops and herb roasted potatoes with tomatoes and braised fennel in a citrus sauce

The scallops were HUGE.  The citrus sauce was so unique and fresh – what an amazing meal…

One of Jeff's scallops was TOTALLY shaped like a heart!!

After dinner, the waitress came out to the lobby and took a photo of us in front of the fountain:

Jeff and I in the lobby of the Renaissance Hotel in Cleveland, OH.

Dinner was incredible, but the fun wasn’t over.  We headed back to the room to relax and such, and as soon as we walked in, the phone rang!  It was the Director of Food and Beverage, Anthony “Big T” Rogers.  He said, “Sarah Lee?  I was wondering if you would like us to bring you a complimentary bottle of your choice of wine.”  How awesome is that??  One of their head Maitre D’s, Mitch, was at our door within 5 minutes with a bottle of Riesling.  He opened it and filled our glasses for us, then left.  After we had a glass of wine, we put the rest of the Riesling and Champagne next to the Jacuzzi for later.  :-)

Then, it was time to pay a visit to my old friend, Albert!  He’s the Concierge of the Club Lounge on the top floor of the hotel.  Only select rooms get access to the Lounge, so he had a key made for us at the front desk that you use in the elevator.  We grabbed it and headed up to floor 15.  I hadn’t seen Albert since I was 17 years old – a senior in high school!  He hadn’t aged a bit and we all talked for a couple hours…

Albert Sutton, Concierge at the Club Lounge, Renaissance Hotel

The Club Lounge was just how I remembered it.  There were hot hors d’oeuvres, fresh fruit, desserts and coffee.  There was a huge library room attached to one side and this seating area attached to the other side.  I remember I used to always sit on the couch just behind Albert:

Albert & I in the Club Lounge

The next morning, we woke up and had a complimentary breakfast in the Club Lounge.  As we packed and waited for the Bellman to come get our things, we just looked around the Suite and smiled at each other.  What a night.  Everything about this entire night was like out of a freaking fairy tale or something, lol.  It literally could not have gone any better than it did…  Jeff had an amazing birthday, and we celebrated our Anniversaries in one of the most luxurious ways that we could!  :-)  It was a night we’ll never forget.