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Harvard Square Businesses Prepare for Junior Parents Weekend

By Julia K. Dean and Laura K. Reston, Crimson Staff Writers

As parents of students in the Class of 2014 pack their bags and finalize travel arrangements for Junior Parents Weekend this coming Friday and Saturday, Harvard Square establishments are preparing for a flood of visitors by hiring extra staff and hiking up prices.

General Manager of The Charles Hotel Alex Attia said that the hotel will be approximately 90 percent full this weekend with rooms costing at least $300, which is $100 higher than prices later in March.

Other hotels in the Cambridge area are also close to capacity. The Courtyard by Marriott is nearly sold out, and the Sheraton Commander Hotel had only one room with a king-size bed as of Wednesday night.

According to Attia, the number of parents staying in The Charles over Junior Parents Weekend has remained relatively constant over the years.

“We usually do very well,” Attia said.

Only Harvard’s Commencement weekend attracts higher numbers of family members to the area, according to Attia. During that time, The Charles functions at full occupancy, and the cost of a room increases to over $800 per night, he added.

Attia said that The Charles will stock up on towels and increase the number of waiters in the hotel’s restaurants to accommodate the higher volume of guests. He hopes to ensure that patrons receive their food as quickly and efficiently as possible.

“Parents want to spend time with their children instead of waiting for their food to arrive,” he said.

Unlike last year, the Harvard Square Business Association did not encourage restaurants in Harvard Square to come up with a special menu for the weekend, according to Executive Director of the Harvard Square Business Association Denise A. Jillson. Nevertheless, restaurants are anticipating an influx of guests as students leave the dining halls to enjoy a meal on their parents’ dime.

Managers and event coordinators from Sandrine’s Bistro and UpStairs on the Square confirmed that they are expecting more customers, and staff at First Printer Restaurant Bar & Grill said they will tailor their live band and Sunday brunch schedule to accommodate students and their parents.

“The restaurants love having families here,” Jillson said.

Just like the establishments they will soon patronize, parents of many juniors have been planning their time in Cambridge in advance.

“My parents booked the hotel rooms in November because they anticipated a lot of demand,” said Jordan A. Feyko ’14.

The parents of Kevin F. Hernandez ’14 booked their flights in January when he was home for winter break and will be staying at The Charles this weekend.

“They’ll never miss a chance to see me,” he said.

—Laya Anasu contributed to the reporting of this story.

—Staff writer Julia K. Dean can be reached at juliadean@college.harvard.edu. Follow her on Twitter @juliakdean.

—Staff writer Laura K. Reston can be reached at laurareston@college.harvard.edu. Follow her on Twitter @laurareston.

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