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Joe to the Rescue: The Hotel Marlowe Does a Head Fake

April 5, 2013

Two years ago when I was being treated as a random walk-in guest at Hotel Marlowe on visit 15 or so no less, Joe Capalbo, who was the GM at the time, took it upon himself to fix the problem. He even sent me a toy glass shower for my birthday which to this day lives in my office in Virginia. Thank goodness Joe is around, because he rescued a Marlowe visit again even though he runs the Onxy across town! Thanks Joe.

So what happened? Good question.

I was greeted by name on my arrival this time, and then promptly told by a very green and very chipper manager why they did not have the kind of room that I like available for me this stay. It’s not like I just thought this trip up last week. I have had a reservation for months. Time warp to bad! Guess what Connie and Michal, as a long time overly loyal guest I really don’t care how full the hotel is, why nobody was able to plan around this, or how you might go about getting me the kind of room I would like etc. I am not the hotel manager. You are.

My least favorite part of this “you can’t always get what you want” dance was being given a choice between a low inside cave room with a glass shower or a shower curtain room of the sort I used to whine about in 2010. That’s the very same trick we used on our toddlers to get them to feel they had some power in the “what’s for dinner” department. (They’re teenagers now, FWIW.) “Would you like yummy peas or delicious spinach?” we would ask. Of course, grownups get to say, “neither, thanks.” Toddlers can be bamboozled. I’m pretty sure I may be a grownup?! Maybe.

So I dutifully checked in to room 3-something (?!), ditched my stuff and caught the T to the new offices in Boston (very cool, BTW and situated in a hot area just by South Station). Underwhelmed by my Marlowe welcome, I tweeted, “The big ‘whatever’ from hotel marlowe. They know my name but whiff on preferences. @kimpton has me spoiled, but not this week. Minus 10.”

Cave room nice (but dark).

Cave room nice (but dark).

Glass shower trumps light when forced.

Glass shower trumps light when forced.

Window overlooks parking courtyard.

Window overlooks parking courtyard.

During dinner and when getting a nightcap afterwards, my Boston peeps had great fun tweeting to the Ritz about getting me to jump ship from Kimpton. Much fun was had by all. And lo and behold, when I returned around midnight there was a new executive class room set up for me with all my stuff in it and a stinky cheese welcome package from Joe.

Things were definitely looking up, because I have a telescope.

Exec class rooms with telescopes are what I like.

Exec class rooms with telescopes are what I like.

Now a little aside about management spin. After the midnight upgrade which remedied the situation, Connie saw me in the morning and insisted on letting me know that I was given this room “due to a cancellation.” Really? Not only do I not need to know this, all it does is underline how the Hotel Marlowe apparently really feels about my business. “Good thing someone more important to us than you didn’t show up so we could backfill.” Uh, thanks. Try this instead, “We noted your disappointment and fixed the problem. It will never happen again.” Green.

At least 621 is nice.

More room to spread out in 621.

More room to spread out in 621.

Morning light in the sitting room (which was properly used).

Morning light in the sitting room (which was properly used).

I brought my own bathrobe and slippers for the weekend in NH. (Music time!)

Looks like home.

Looks like home.

My kind of shower.

Functional yet glass.

Functional yet glass.

For room preference shenanigans we will award the Hotel Marlowe two showerheads and then at the last minute (only because a more important hotel did not show up) change it to four showerheads.

Just before heading out to NH, I had a very nice chat with Michal Penek (the new GM). It’s always good to put a human face on things. I’m looking forward to my next visit.

In other Boston news: Mortons is the same as it is in every other city (yawn). The Tufts kids are super psyched about software security. The Blue Room is as excellent as ever with yet another new chef who is taking the direction Florentine. And the coup de grace this trip, drink was in rare form, serving delicious Liberals (real Amer Picon in stock), milk punch, and an Ezra-made concoction.

2 Responses to “Joe to the Rescue: The Hotel Marlowe Does a Head Fake”


  1. […] The Onyx still has a truly phenomenal staff. Friendly, interested, engaging, and fun; even when there’s a line at the front desk during the afternoon registration crush or a lobby full of impatient Germans waiting for their cabs to the airpot. They used to be trained and led by Linda Chin, but now my friend Joe Capalbo is the general manager. (Joe used to run the Hotel Marlowe just across the river in Cambridge.) […]


  2. […] Kimpton scuttlebutt news, Joe Capalbo is coming back to run the Marlowe after his stint at the Onyx, and Michal is headed to the Onyx to […]


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