Perhaps you feel the same way as we do about Disney. If you love it, stop reading this blog now. If you were sentenced to your Disney time when you had children, well so were we. If you did your time and escaped alive, well don’t come to this island.
After a very low key and pretty great week on Salt Cay (hold your horses, that entry after a glass sync)—lots of diving, great people, no A/C, sand, golf carts, island people politics, and donkeys, we flew Caicos Express to Provo—we were thrust directly and abruptly into Colonel Sanders mode or maybe now we call it Wolfgang Puck mode (same kind of huckster). True American garbage brand imported to the islands. Ouch.
We went from this:
To this (you will have to imagine the pretend clean smell):
You can keep this place. Super bad “live” music a la Casio blared on arrival with volume not compensating for competence, trees lit by blue (the new red) LED lights, cloroflourocarbons in tens of parts per million ruining the room air, overly clean hamster cage hell, this is it. The people are great, and they are woefully confused by the American consumer’s propensity for schlock.
Our advice? Skip provo, spend your time in hell after you die, and head straight to Salt Cay and its petty island politics.
But as Turks and Caicos virgins, who is gonna warn you? Maybe this blog?? OK hopefully. Glimmer on hope.
We are trapped in C102. The bathroom looks like this, so maybe our heuristic is not scaling in the Caribbean.
We leave you with two showerheads and a blue tree. Not returning, ever.
Oh, a!most forgot. Magnolias is a very decent restaurant. Nice dishes. Dated but decent wine list (featuring that asshole parker). Great sweeping terrace view of the bay. Go there and sleep on the streets.
April 14, 2014
After two very good flights on USAir (the long international one with WiFi), we arrived in ProvInciales— referred to as Provo by those in the know. The airport is tiny, but they take themselves very seriously for an island. A very expensive ride to anywhere on the island seems somehow like a downscale Orlando. You’re there, so you are screwed. The currency of choice is US dollars. Bring lots.
We spent one night at the Alexanda,, about 15 minutes from the airport and right on the ocean. This is resort style living, replete with palm trees, bad landscaping, tall buildings, and overpriced food. Nice, but certainly not what I am looking for on a tropical island. It is beautiful of course, but about as touristy as, say, Disney. Equally pretend.
A mixup with the room category was straightened out fairly quickly once it became clear we were going to hold our own. We ended up in 4205, which is for sale BTW in case anybody needs a Disneyfied condo in paradise.
The suite is nicely appointed and could be most anywhere in the world. Net is free and decent.
Double wide balcony off the living room and bedroom.
The bed is very comfortable.
The shower is not plastic.
The kitchen is workaday, and there is a washer/dryer combo unit.
There is a resort pool and several very bad bars. An attempt to create an El Presidents was a dismal and complete failure.. The restaurant, mango reef, is way overpriced and low to middling. Service is attentive if not clueless. Food needs work. There is espresso in the morning, however, not to mention fresh OJ, and the wine list is ok,.
One whole night layover before flying Caicos Express to our real destination was just fine. Four showerheads and some mouse ears for the Alexandra.
The beach is very nice indeed.
April 11, 2014
It was one of those days. Plenty of time to get to the airport, no real rush. But somehow my belt did not get the memo and I arrived in NY beltless—for a big meeting with lots of senior banking execs flown in from all over the world?! Horrors. (They were all wearing French cuffs and pocket squares.)
Kimpton attempted to bail me out when the massive belt oversight emergency was broadcast to the world over the @noplasticshower twitter feed (follow us here). [BTW, it turns out that @kimpton does a better job realtime monitoring twitter than @kimptoninnyc! Hmm. It also turns out that Kimpton emergency coordination better accomplished by central emergency services (in san fran maybe?) than by Kevin the concierge in NY.]
Thing is, there was no time to lose. So we uber’ed to two hotels and a mall on the way to the financial district. JC Penny belt it is!
About 20 minutes before my meeting downtown, a twitter DM arrived from @kimpton emergency services who, of course, had managed to pick me up a belt! It was waiting in my room when I got back after the meeting, dinner, general carousing, and shutting down a bar. Super amazing great, but just a smidge too tardy. Thanks anyway Eventi staff (and double thanks to @kimpton central emergency services)! You guys are the best.
Not only was there a belt, there was also a nice snack and some sparkling water. The water probably saved us from certain death by dehydration. Thanks Rebecca.
Another great authentic Italian meal at Roc in Tribeca. It seemed like the after dinner grappa (moscato) was a good idea, but it completely dissolved our resolve to make an early night of it right there on the spot. And then the lemoncello.
So instead of heading in to harbor, we simply walked over to weather up for some delicious beverages and a bourbon lesson.
By that time we were on a roll and managed to uber on up Lantern’s Keep where I believe we stayed until they ran out of fernet branca. Oh woe is us. We did determine that barman bob is no longer working at Lantern’s Keep , and I am sure that we met the current barmen, but we pretty much don’t recall.
Thursday morning was blinding and way too early. But rally we did for another busy day at the office.
BTW, our secret noplasticshowers spy contingency is with us this trip. That may explain why the bathroom is so messy and there is a yoga mat on the floor.
We strolled down the high line to NYU from midtown. The high line is beautiful in every season.
Thursday evening was capped with a relaxing visit to the Brandy Library.
Anyway, the eventi is feeling more homey in NY even though there is the apartment, and it is in NY! Must be the Kimpton vibe. Five showerheads and some much needed sleep.
April 6, 2014
This is my friend Pooh’s favorite drink (well, actually he likes whatever drink is currently in his glass best, but no quibbling). From the fun and mostly accurate book Boozehound.
This is a classic gin fizz derivative with some fun features. Get your ingredients together before you make this one. It takes confectioner’s sugar and an egg white. (The egg you use must be ultra fresh, laid the day of mixing.)
0.75 oz gin (we recommend Sipsmith for this drink)
0.75 oz St-Germain Eiderflower liqueur
1 oz lime juice
1 T confectionner’s sugar (10X)
1 egg white (FRESH)
club soda to top
lime zest (small pieces)
fresh ground pepper
Combine gin, st-germain, lime, sugar. shake well. add egg white and shake to foam (20+ seconds). strain into glass with ice. add soda to top. sprinkle lime zest and pepper on top.
The noplasticshowers verdict on the Conrad finally reached its tipping point during the last visit (ten thumbs down). But we need to stay in Indy at least once a year, and we need a place to stay!
Our first experience at The Alexander, a fairly new hotel near Monument Circle (and right across the street from Lilly), was a mixed bag. So close! And yet not quite where it needs to be. So much better than the Conrad; but so not at the level of a Kimpton.
A litany of small nits and nots: 1) housekeeping knocked on my door at 8:12am to see if I was gone (the computer probably knows and I was just stepping out of the shower), 2) no morning newspaper? (not even USA Today?!—just a joke), 3) the shower pressure is poor (and you know how we feel about showers), 4) management came to see about a delay during checkin and did not solve the problem?! (managers who simply go to get more staff need to roll up their sleeves and do some work), 5) the gestalt of the building has more in common with suburban mall fake hipster than real art (not as bad as this indigo mess, this Florida mess, or this thing in Norway, but approaching it), 6) the password for the front desk system was divulged live and out loud and joked about (hey, that computer knows my credit card number, that is not a joke).
Beyond the level of nit is the standard issue hamster cage architecture. I was assigned room 6041 which other than being way way way down the hall from the elevators is exactly the same as all of the other rooms. Better than a Marriott hamster cage, but only by reference to surface style stuff! Yuck. Looks like better rooms to ask about might be 6001 (big suite), 6045 (corner facing right way) and 6044 (corner facing wrong way).
Here is 6041 (and all the rest of the 42 numbers not yet covered).
There are some very nice touches though. Power on the bedsides (and USB too). Euro power adapters on the desk with HDMI, serial, USB, etc. Super good free wifi.
The bathroom situation is uncluttered, but not very glam. Fixtures too cheap and water pressure too low. This may not be fixable in the model.
One of the many style touches has a bit too much Marriott for my tastes.
The best and most surprising part of The Alexander is its superior bar Plat 99. Though we don’t really dig the architecture at all, the drinks are fantastic. Watch out Kimpton, these guys are coming on strong! I was served by DC barman William Mohring who was willing to play and had a nice body of knowledge. He served me this:
The (Indianapolis) Diplomat
1 oz bulleit bourbon
1 oz bonal
1 oz black seal rum
.17oz all spice dram
[2 drops white creme de menthe]
stir down, serve over rocks with 2 luxardo cherries
As a final verdict, The Alexander seems to be the only place to stay in Indianapolis that we can tell anyway. But in the end this hotel is only a high three showerheads place at most. Maybe some of the nits and nots can be eradicated (hopefully they are not too entrenched in the Dolce model). We look forward to finding out.