October 17, 2016
Lets tip our NPS hat to the people in marketing, shall we? We’re running a conference for a couple of hundred senior people down in Florida. So Amelia Island it is, and the Ritz-Carlton at that. Anyway, how does this property rate? Off the charts.
United pulled a ridiculous head fake on the way down: You’re upgraded. Oh, sorry, nevermind. Oh no wait, you ARE upgraded but now there is no room for your suitcase since you’re already seated in the back. In the end the trip was great and NPS appreciates the upgrade. Nice try united! Lets do it again and get it all right next time!!
The hotel provided car service at the airport, and our driver was superlative. He took a shortcut that saved us 20 minutes getting on the island. There was some evidence of hurricane damage on the sides of the road coming in. This island dodged a bullet when hurricane Matthew stayed off shore just two weeks ago.
We were greeted by name at the door with some champagne (which we sadly had to skip), and whisked up to 832 by gregarious staff. Outstanding greeting.
And the amenity shows that someone has been doing their homework. Cocktail? Yep. Sparking water? Yep. Hand written note? Yep. It’s all here and all awesome.
832 is nothing short of palacial. A gorgeous room with an incredible view of the ocean from its five balconies.
The suite has two main sections and 5 rooms.
Of course, we’re here for the showers. This non-plastic shower is also off the charts. Multiple shower heads and a bench? OK then.
The bar situation here is not good, which in 2016 is just plain sad. Sure, you can get some scotch if you try hard enough. But no bourbon to speak of. And if you order a proper cocktail (say, something like a sazarac) you will be sorely disappointed. Ever had a cocktail served hot in a glass straight from the dishwasher? How about a sazarac made with angostura? Yeah no.
Time to invest in some people who actually know what they’re doing Marriott. In the meantime, stick with the Mt Gay Extra Old rum (in a glass that has cooled off).
Four showerheads and a sincere wish for some more free time and a real bar for the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island. Gorgeous property run by hospitality experts.
October 7, 2016
Not only is the Hotel Marlowe (in Cambridge, MA really) a beautiful property, it is a well-oiled hospitality machine. GM Joe Capalbo always treats NPS as a friend and colleague. One of the highlights of any Boston visit is catching up with Joe.
NPS visits do seem to coincide with visits by the owners of the hotel. That keeps Joe pretty busy. It also tends to occupy the presidential suite, but that’s OK because room 621 is fantastic all on its own.
Check out this cool decanter.
The only minor detail left out was still water versus sparkling. But you know, all those blue bottles look the same! The oversight was easily remedied.
621 has a fine bathroom situation. Glass showers!
Dinner at Sportello was very nice. It’s always great to catch up with old friends. Afterwards, our plan was to sneak down to drink by the back stairs. Our plan failed when we were told we would have to stand around for 20 minutes before getting a seat. Things used to be much smoother between drink and sportello three years ago! Ezra was in London anyway.
Fortunately the manager at sportello detected our disappointment and ushered us right next door to Menton’s Gold Bar.
.75 oz chamomile syrup (2:1)
.25 oz luxardo lemoncello
.5 oz salers
1.5 oz grappa
1 dash Dr. Adam Elmegirab’s spanish bitters
1 gram olive oil powder
Stir down. Serve over large cube. Spoon powder on cube.
1 oz grappa
.25 ransom old tom gin
1.5 oz barolo chinato
The barrel aged Boulevardier that Patrick made was so good that we had to go down to Bambara and get another!
Dinner at Craigie on Main was spectacular as always. Whole roasted chicken, great wine, and superior cocktails makes Craigie a top destination.
A final nightcap or two at Journeyman backbar included house made milk punch and a Liberal made with real Amer Picon. Somebody has been to France!
All told this was a five showerhead visit to Boston hands down. Lets do it again!
September 7, 2016
Ever had one of those trips where you arrived just to find out that the arrangements that you thought were made were not made? Like, you go to the hertz lot on the shuttle and they don’t have you in their system? Good thing for the Presidential level status at Hertz. And also good thing the Dean was able to find some room at the inn! (shew)
The news was not all good, though. Room 415 and its type were all booked up. But sometimes providence shines on you (who could resist that line?), and as it turns out room 401 is ever better than 415. Why? Because the bathroom is bigger and the shower is even more glassy! Hot damn.
It’s nice to be back, and nice to discover a cheaper room category more suited to NPS. I think I have a new favorite room.
The 19th Century
1.5 oz Rye (old overholt)
.5 oz fernet
.5 oz maraschino liqueur
.5 oz dry curaçao
.5 oz lemon juice
Shake. Strain. Serve up. Lemon peel garnish.
A five shower head visit!
September 7, 2016
Sadly, Hartford, CT is lacking in both the boutique hotel and high-end cocktail bar departments. That makes life here at NPS kind of difficult. Marriott hamster cage for you! And mid-tier booze to boot.
The good news, relatively speaking, is that my travel companion this trip is a super Elite Marriott Platinum whatever. He booked all the rooms. What that means to NPS is that the bottle of water is free! Such amenity.
Here is what cage number 1921 looks like. (FWIW, 1921 is way better than 717 was last go ’round.)
The shower is glass and is very nice. NPS approved.
A last minute hunt for a decent cocktail bar in the city came up with nothing. So down to the Marriott bar it was for a nightcap. Negroni? Check. Stagg Jr? Sure why not. NPS advises you to just skip the bar visit.
One ray of sunshine during this visit is that Max’s Downtown is a very nice restaurant with an interesting wine list. Highly recommended.
In the end, this Marriott property is a low three showerhead kind of place. Nice enough in its generic big hotel you must be here on business way.
August 24, 2016
The Donovan has become our home away from home in DC mostly due to the fact that Steph Vogel (the GM) rocks. Room 1110 which we discovered on our previous outing here is well configured for a two day offsite.
We put ourselves to work. We got done.
The multiple amenities and constant supply of sparkling water helped.
NPS has covered the room in previous entries, so here is a video tour instead.
Sadly everything was not perfect night one, but life rarely is. A trip to the top floor bar led us to the not-cut-out-for-bartending Joel. Some people just don’t know when to leave well enough alone! Suffice it to say:
By contrast, our visit to the Columbia Room was just out of this world. A fantastic evening indeed. Alex Levy was holding down the fort while JP and Derek jet set in Charleston.
Perhaps the Fernet shots and the 1938 Old Overholt pours were bad idea? LOL
Can’t wait to return to both the Donovan and the Columbia Room in the near future. Five showerheads and a well made Negroni to you both!
Maybe it was the late night Negroni that was the bad idea?