NPS has been coming to the Georgian Hotel in Santa Monica for many years (starting before there was even an NPS identity). Over the years, many parts of the hotel have undergone updating and renovation, with special attention paid to the common areas. The rooms have all been spruced up as well, but unfortunately the bathrooms were not included in the renovation plan.

Santa Monica is pretty not bad

This trip out allowed for only one night in Santa Monica, so NPS decided to check out a room category one notch down from the ocean view suites. Turns out, it’s a big notch. The king suite room 709 has a spacious design with some very strange quirks. It also has a tiny little bathroom.

Room layout is very similar to the ocean view suites, with a view of the back alley instead on the ocean.

709 sitting area

What stands in as a desk

French doors to the bedroom

But what in the heck is this here for??

709 forlorn chair

That space where the poor lonely chair sits would be better off as part of an expanded bathroom. Here, you’ll see what we mean.

Tiny little bathroom

Though the stuff in the bathroom is spotless and new, the shower over the tub thing has got to go (not to mention the obesity bar). Zero points for the shower.

Dare you to use whatever liquid is in these containers

During our brief stay in Santa Monica, we had lunch at Lazy Daisy, dinner at Lares, and breakfast at Cora’s. All three places are top notch.

We’re demoting the Georgian to three showerheads. Hopefully they will see to some bathroom redesign to go along with all of the other great stuff that they have done.

NPS has accumulated lots of great memories at the Georgian Hotel in Santa Monica over the years, including the romantic, slightly-buzzed Italian singing love songs (in Italian of course) and crying about his ex-wife. And if you read this blog, you know that NPS is nothing if not a creature of habit. So we’re here again, and we’re pleased to report that a major renovation has the place all spruced up.

A new bar. A better lobby. New elevators. Shiny new look. Better furniture in the rooms. Well done!

About the only thing left behind is the showers. This is an unwelcome (non) development.

After a slightly-delayed checkin involving lunch at Lazy Daisy Cafe and a Negroni (from 11:30 to 3:00), we were shown to room 803. This ocean view suite on the top floor is very likely the best room in the hotel. The room has beautiful views, many windows, and lots of light.

View from 803

803 is a good place to be in Santa Monica

Old school touches remain on the property, like these “peep holes” directly out of the ’20s.

Who is it?

Sitting room 803

Furniture upgraded. Could use some leather up here.

The room layout has interesting angles and does pretty much all it can to avoid the “adapted hamster cage” architecture of most hotels. This is much appreciated.


803 bedroom

The bathroom could use some attention, however. Time for a shower upgrade. The current shower is a study in “not approved by NPS.”

nope nope nope

Lazy Daisy is a good place for lunch.

Dinner in the mountains at Saddle Peak Lodge is also old school. Dead animals hand from the walls. There are pistols in frames. Fire. And lots of game on the menu. NPS approved. A taste of Canada in California.

More soon from the upcoming wine luncheon at Little Sister (we’re just here for fun this trip).

Four showerheads and a sincere wish for a shower upgrade at the Georgian Hotel. Apparently they are making money around here, so lets drag the bathrooms into this millennium!


Maybe you get a pass on the plastic shower thing if you are an historical property and you have peepholes like this??

Peep hole in 504

Peep hole in 504

Of course, we’ve been here before, so we know which end is up and exactly why this property rocks. This time we made double sure to get the right room with an incredible (yuge?) view of the Pacific—especially after our Kimpton debacle last week). 504 is sweet!

The view on arrival

The view on arrival

And it is on the proper side of the building as well.

504 side windows see this

504 side windows see this

So what to expect? A very spacious suite with reasonable furnishings only slightly dated. Plenty of room to work (and to entertain, as it turns out). A large bathroom with the exact wrong kind of shower. Creaky net. Busted speakers. Buy your own flowers. But the view. And the location. And the view.

Flowers. Buy self.

Flowers. Buy self.

Of course it does actually rain sometimes. All day. For three days!

Of course it does actually rain sometimes. All day. For three days!

Entrance hallway 504

Entrance hallway 504

504 sitting room

504 sitting room

504 sitting room

504 sitting room

View into the bedroom

View into the bedroom

504 bedroom

504 bedroom

This is actually from my brother's inlaws house, so ignore it

This is actually from my brother’s inlaws house, so ignore it



Nooooo! A plastic shower. Eat crow and stay here anyway.

Nooooo! A plastic shower. Eat crow and stay here anyway.

Enough room even for certain travelling companions

Enough room even for certain travelling companions

Anyway, did we have fun in Santa Monica? Sure. We started off in LA at the wine thing.

Breakfast crepe was delicious.

Then we visited McCabe’s Guitar Shop (owned by our very own peeps). if you are a music person, just visit, play, hang out, learn. There are ghosts.

McCabe's Guitar Shop

McCabe’s Guitar Shop

Which made us want stuff like this beauty of a guitar. Hurry up and buy it, or I will.



And we had a delicious dinner up the canyon at the very old school and very very good Saddle Peak Lodge. The highlight of the night was talking to Bob while eating elk. Bob is just bob. Maybe one day we’ll tell you. Or maybe not. Talk to Bob you lucky bastard.

Anyway, fütbol in the room on the rainiest Sunday in maybe 8 years in Santa Monica. Mud slides, rocks that closed roads, leaky roofs that (who knew) are supposed to keep water out?! And all of the fütbol teams that we liked were beat. Kind of like the election. At least there was beer and a smidge of bourbon.

Followed by Bourne on OK glass with super bad speakers. Dear hotels, why is it that home cinema situations even among those who mostly don’t give a shit are 10 years ahead of you? No, really. Why? One decade ahead.

Which catches us on up to Monday. Work and LACMA.





About which more here.

Then dinner at the very not bad Manchego, where they have yet to discover both Priorat and twitter.

Four showerheads and a wish for glass showers and speakers that are not blown.

I’ve been to the Georgian plenty of times. In fact, it seems to be the backup plan of choice when things go awry in LA. They definitely went off the rails today.

My room (502) is a tiny.

Room 502 is surrounded by other rooms I have stayed in. See the dot.

But it has a comfortable bed with great pillows. And an ocean view (which also means a highway noise room when you’re only on the 5th floor. It is LA after all.

The bed. Comfortable and taking up most of the space.

Maybe I will get to see the ocean at 5am when I get up to take a shower? Nah. Not even with daylight savings in effect.

Bathroom cubicle made bigger with mirrors.

Shower. Not enough glass.

I really do like the Georgian, and so even this speck of a room will get allow a retention of the five showerheads rating. Next time we’ll ask not to be in 502.

The Georgian Hotel in Santa Monica is a classic place. Touches like the ancient elevator gear and the HUGE 1933 peepholes make me happy. Plus the space is meticulously cared for with a sense of style straight from the ’30s. I remember listening to my Italian friend singing along with the music on the porch (in Italian) to a love song from his first marriage. Very touching and romantic.

Ancient elevator controls make me happy.

This '30s peephole is 3 inches in diameter. Both sides get to see.

Room 503 is a very nice ocean front suite. Plenty of windows but just a bit too close to the Santa Monica traffic.

The bed room is connected to the sitting room through double French doors.

Sitting room with a view.

The bathroom is all black and white tile and mirrors with plenty of space and a nice design. No glass cubicles in the ’30s though.

Five showerheads for the Groegian. Excellence.

My favorite part of today was dinner with some good friends just north of Topanga Canyon. Babies and puppies, who could ask for more? My second favorite part was ditching the conference lunch for a quick run to the Getty for a bacon cheeseburger and look at the Irises.

I’m supposed to be home now, but instead I am in Santa Monica.  The snow storm of the century is busy dumping lots of snow back home.  In fact, all flights to Dulles from California were canceled (two days running).  The United computer chose to reroute me (for a third time) through LA, so I decided to come down a day early from San Francisco.

Luckily, there’s a great old hotel called the Georgian Hotel right on Ocean.  I’ve stayed here before for various meetings and I knew I could get a beautiful room with an ocean view while I wait for the storm to disperse back home.

On to business…here is a view of the bathroom.  Not much of a shower, really, but it fits the spacious 4 room suite gestalt.  Note the rubber duckie.

Here is a view of room.  The ocean is out there somewhere past all the raindrops.

This is a five showerhead kind of a place.  If you have to be stuck in California, it might as well be here.

R2 Wine Luncheon Take 3

March 12, 2018

There are rumored to be more wine luncheons than those that we can attend, but rumor is just rumor unless there is photographic evidence. The latest incarnation that can be shown to exist happened in LA on March 9th. The target was Little Sister.

As you can see, nobody enjoyed themselves, least of all Donnie.

Also there was not enough wine.

The weather was terrible. Cold and snowy.

Obviously, we drove the waitress completely insane.

The food was delicious, a fusion of Asian and American (kind of like that helicopter sound that immediately brings to mind Vietnam).

Many courses, only one of which included shakey beef.

There was little wine.

Pinot noir from the wine club.

There was big wine.

Pinot noir from the cellar.

There was plenty of wine.

The selection

Then all of a sudden we were on a quest. First to the Athletic Club of LA. Very old school, but willing to learn how to make a Corpse Reviver #2.

Then to Miro (under an Italian eatery), which was very suave but still willing to make a great Sazarac with Willet Family Reserve 12 year old rye. Perfection.

Sazarac (with only ywo dashes of Peychauds)

Then to dinner, where the political state of Virginia became a problem for some of us with an overly sized buzz. No GOP weenie has been elected to state wide office since 2009 in Virginia DAMN IT! And that was before the sheer idiocy of fake president Twump.

Dinner was somewhere near these very tall buildings

Then to Cafe D’oro in Santa Monica to hang with Vincenzo and drink whatever the dealer dealt.

Dealer’s choice (mezcal)

By 1am we were back at the Georgian Hotel, a good thing since our departure was slated at 5am sharp.

Would we do it again? Of course.

Ah nostalgia. I stayed here at the Hotel California for my brother’s wedding about fifty trillion years ago. We had a great time. Apparently that had nothing to do with this hotel.

This week we’re doing the obligatory college tour extravaganza, visiting 9 colleges and 5 cities in 8 days. LA:Palo Alto:Chicago:Minneapolis:Boston.

“Relax,” said the night man,
“We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave!”

Lemme outta here! No longer a fan.

Plastic shower? Yep.

This is a plastic shower. It is plasticy.

Shower on a tub. Nice tiles though.

Looking up, there is a skylight.

Heaven is escaping from the plastic shower.

Is that the ocean I hear or is that Ocean Avenue? Given the room assignments we got to pick from, probably the latter.

The bedroom is small, the TV is big, the color is yellow, the closets fit a “half dead guy” (either parsing with a preference toward the half body), the sheets are not clean enough, the son gets a cot. Blech. One lowly shower head for the Hotel California. What was I thinking?

Plus their wireless internet really sucks (as bad as Patagonia at the tip of South America). And on day two they forgot to clean the room.

The bed room is situated very close to Ocean Avenue.

Cot equals suck. Jack says the couch is better.

But there is the Pacific ocean. And Chez Jay across the street is a great place for dinner. All in all, day one of the extravaganza was ok if you don’t count the hotel.

If you are coming to Santa Monica, stay at the Georgian!

On the mixology front, things are looking a bit dated in Santa Monica. I had an interesting concoction at the LACMA (which has a real bar hidden away between contemporary and modern. But even at Jiraffe, where Rafael Lunetta prepared a world class meal, the fallback (a Negroni) was all I could scrape up. There must me good mixology in LA, I just haven’t found it yet. I think the people are spending all of their lucre on cars instead of liquor.

Here is the recipe for Halfway to Havana from the LACMA:
Dark rum classico (10 years) [I would use eclipse] 1.5 oz
Amaro Montenegro 0.5oz
Sweet Vermouth 0.5oz
Orange bitters (Fee brothers west indian orange)

I was in San Fran, not really enjoying the Palomar, when my flight back to Virginia was canceled.  Seems a snow storm that had yet to do anything was menacing the entire mid-Atlantic.  As you know I took a detour through LA (by way of the very nice Georgian Hotel).

But wait, there’s more.  The United computer rerouted me so many times (including the LA jog) that nobody was sure where I was going or how I was supposed to get there.  Nice.

So I called ’em up and booked 4 possible routes home.  All went through Denver.  Denver, hub.  Check.  The routes were: IAD, Philly, NY, Boston.  <drum roll>  And the winner is—New York!  See I was moving up the coast looking to catch a train down in case I could not make it to Dulles or Philly and so on.  And that’s what happened.

When I arrived in NY after two nicely upgraded flights, I  shleped over to the company apartment where  I was very surprised to find actual employees hanging out and making some dinner.  Much fun was had at a local hooka bar until 4am.  (OK, I was pretending to be much younger than I actually am.)  Of course the IAD flight was canceled and my two hours of beauty rest were for naught!

Turns out a good friend of mine who lives just over the hill was also trying to get back to Dulles from Seattle.  We ended up training down together on the Acela and trawling for a car service to take us to our cars at Dulles.  Much fun was had, especially with the flamer of a train waiter person.

I finally made it home just in time for the superbowl on Sunday.  Longest trip home evah.