Home

Well, Cambridge actually. But close enough. NPS has not been here in many months (since October 2016), and apparently we missed it.

The Hotel Marlowe reminds us of everything we like about Kimpton:

  • a great property with our kind of showers
  • a gracious and welcoming staff (especially the great valets)
  • a welcome cocktail
  • a beautiful room(s)
  • GMs who care

It’s all good. Sure is nice to be back.

Thanks to Joe Capalbo for alerting the troops, and to the troops for giving a damn. Lets spread this goodness to the rest of the IHG universe, shall we?

This time we’re in 825 (tantalizingly close to the Presidential suite). This exec class room is perfect, with plenty of room to exist, a comfortable bed, and a real shower.

825 sitting room

825

825 bedroom

We were welcomed with a note, water (almost sparkling, and promptly swapped out), a nice snack including fresh fruit, and a cocktail ready to mix put together by Patrick. Speaking of which, we visited with Patrick for a drink, and he is still at his professional best.

English cup

The shower in here has a new showerhead. NPS approves.

yes please

There is also a huge tub that once again remains completely unused. Alas.

big giant tub 825

On the first night in town, we took a cadre of business colleagues to Craigie on Main. This is one of our favorite Boston restaurants, and it is still super fantastic. Pork plate. Pork plate. Pork plate.

On the second night, after a cocktail with Joe, we headed to a new restaurant called Row 34. The staff at the Marlowe figured this all out somehow and called ahead to order an appetizer for me. It was delivered by the gracious Row 34 manager. Row 34 is very good indeed. Recommended.

The it was off to Drink for the usual shenanigans. Pretty sure the late night tequila shots were a bad idea. Ezra Star is now the manager of the bar. Sadly she was in Japan when we visited. Eric the barman, though fairly new, was an ample substitute for fun.

Here is the Meal Worm, which is apparently verboten to make unless Ezra is in Japan
2 oz ancho reyes
.5 oz demerara
.5 oz lime
(4 dashes of tobasco+mezcal rinse)
rise highball. Shake. Strain. Serve neat.

Five showerheads and wishing that somehow the future involved slightly more Boston and slightly less Germany. These things happen.

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.

Hotel Marlowe

Hotel Marlowe

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.

621 Executive Suite

621 Executive Suite

621 Natural Light

621 Natural Light

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Outstanding

Outstanding

Check out this cool decanter.

Barrel aged Boulevardier

Barrel aged Boulevardier

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.

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621 has a fine bathroom situation. Glass showers!

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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.

Cap’n Cook
.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.

Spectre
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!

No fly July just barely ended this morning and I am still down South working on the screened in porch. Round about this time of year we usually head up to Boston and see our good friends at the Hotel Marlowe. Sadly, this year’s plans call for a different route, so we can’t say hello as usual and break our no fly July travel drought in the most perfect way possible.

The incredible staff at the Hotel Marlowe has pooled together a donation to support the Team Tartan Leukemia Cup boat two years running. (See this post from last year and this one from two years ago.) I figured since this year we are skipping Boston, we might be out of sight, out of mind. But no. Joe Capalbo and his staff made a very sizeable donation anyway.

Team Tartan sails the Leukemia Cup in Kilts!

Team Tartan sails the Leukemia Cup in Kilts!

Just wow. You guys are the best. Thank you for helping us fight blood cancer!

When we hit our goal (a formidable $42,000 this year), we sail in kilts. We’re well on our way to that again thanks to Hotel Marlowe and Kimpton Karma.

You’re welcome to donate too, dear reader. Every penny counts.

DONATE TO TEAM TARTAN 2016 LEUKEMIA CUP

Special thanks to Hotel Marlowe from Team Tartan

Special thanks to Hotel Marlowe from Team Tartan

Spring Rose: Virginia

Spring Rose: Virginia

We left the Spring rose in Virginia for a short visit to Boston on Jet Blue and a quick overnight at our home away from home the Hotel Marlowe. All day meetings and dinner was interrupted by a quick cocktail with GM Joe Capalbo who runs a very tight ship. Joe was rewarded with slightly defrosted pork.

After a fantastic meal at the always great Cragie on Main we finally made it upstairs to 820, our very most favorite room on the property. Maybe we just like the word presidential??

Amenity in the presidential suite

Amenity in the presidential suite

But wait, what is this cocktail? The
IMG_2205 Really?? LOL. Nobody suffers at the Marlowe. We can be ungrateful though!

This cocktail needs some adjustment into what we’ll call the Ungrateful Bast@%rd as follows:
1 oz cask strenth bourbon
1 oz Dolin’s dry vermouth
1 oz lemon
stir down. in an ice filled high ball, add Fever Tree ginger beer to the top.

Serve with a cheese plate.

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No really, we’re actually very grateful!

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820 has some new gear and some old gear. It is a gorgeous room.

Sleeping quarters

Sleeping quarters

Sitting quarters

Sitting quarters

Bathing quarters

Bathing quarters

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One of my favorite parts of visiting the Hotel Marlowe is the valet guys who I have come to know over the years. It is always nice to see them.

Marlowe circle art.

Is it green?  Is it blue?  who knows?

Is it green? Is it blue? who knows?

Fiver showerheads in perpetuity for the Hotel Marlowe (and some pork ribs xrayed by the TSA).

Hotel Marlowe: 810

Hotel Marlowe: 810

It all started well. United failed to suck. But then Hertz made up for it.

Hotel Marlowe was a welcome respite from the travel nonsense. So nice to be known at a property. Hotel Marlowe is a great place to arrive!

I was assigned 810 (a very nice upgrade with the right kind of shower). But sadly the HVAC situation was untenable even though the welcome was superb. Some great cheese and an actual craft cocktail deconstructed do make you feel welcome.

Bacon and cheese.  Plus a note from Joe.

Bacon and cheese. Plus a note from Joe.

The makings for a craft cocktail. The “Cloak and Dagger.”

Cloak and Dagger
1.5 cask strength bourbon
.75 campari
.75 lillet rouge
stir down. serve up (NOT on the rocks Patrick). Express orange peel (no need to flame) and drop in.

Then there was the HVAC problem. Not sure what was broken, but something was. Huge noise. In fact the noise seems to be an 8th floor problem. So we were switched over to the presidential suite by the accommodating front desk staff people.

Hey now Joe, why was it that the presidential suite was open again? Trying not to spoil us too much with your immense power? Too late! Busted by information flow!

Anyway, here we are back in 820.

Work was actually done.  Room to work is greatly appreciated.

Work was actually done. Room to work is greatly appreciated.

Work. Was. Done.

Work. Was. Done.

820 view

820 view

In 820 you can hang up your pants

In 820 you can hang up your pants

820 shower not plastic

820 shower not plastic

All is well. Did we mention the work that was done?

Then there were the restaurants.

Coppersmith is a new Southy restaurant. It is still working out the kinks. If you’re in for some dive dining (nothing fine about it) give Coppersmith a shot. But don’t expect anything more than a huge warehouse setting, overly chipper 20 year olds, and a model that is still chunky. Clunk.

A much better bet is Craigie on Main which has become the NPS go to restaurant in Cambridge. Just fantastic. Do not miss it. With a superior bar too.

Also very good, but not in the same league as Cragie is Giulia, a nice little Italian high cuisine restaurant that is somehow all the rage. Very stylish main courses outshone the not all that great appetizers. The bar program is likewise decent.

Then there was the Highball Lounge.

Boston at night

Boston at night

Boston at night

Boston at night

Last year, the fine folks at Hotel Marlowe served up the best amenity ever by making a collective donation to my Leukemia Cup boat. Talk about Kimpton Karma! Wow.

How could they ever top that? Well pull up a chair…

The first thing they did this year was double their donation! I mean holy cow, that is the coolest thing ever. Supporting a good cause and fighting blood cancer. You guys rock.

Skirmish Leukemia Cup 2013y

(You’re welcome to join the fun by making a donation of your own, dear reader.)

Kimpton Karma Supreme

Kimpton Karma Supreme

The valet Jonathan said hello when I arrived. He knew my name!

Then my friend Joe Capalbo plussed up the room to the gorgeous Presidential Suite (820). Awesome.

820: The Top of the World

820: The Top of the World

But wait, there’s more. The very nice amenity involves bacon(!!!) and a craft cocktail from downstairs. And a personal note from Joe.

Bacon

Bacon

This is definitely the way to ease in after no fly July. Thanks you guys!

Kimpton rocks.

820 Bedroom zoom 1

820 Bedroom zoom 1

820 Bedroom zoom 2

820 Bedroom zoom 2

820 Bedroom zoom 3

820 Bedroom zoom 3

Of course the shower in here is way not plastic.

Glass shower in 820

Glass shower in 820

Dining/meeting

Dining/meeting

Telescope is a Kimpton thing

Telescope is a Kimpton thing

820 Hotel Marlowe

820 Hotel Marlowe

Anyway, ten showerheads (double the max) for Hotel Marlowe and Joe. Home away from home in Boston.

It’s true that NPS has been here countless bajillions of times. And it is true that like in all relationships we’ve had our ups and downs. But the Hotel Marlowe staff (ably led by GM Joe Capalbo) outdid themselves this time. Best amenity ever. Wait for it…

Team Tartan sailing in the 2013 Leukemia Cup.

Team Tartan sailing in the 2013 Leukemia Cup.

The staff made a sizeable donation to my Leukemia Cup sailing team. Holy cow you guys absolutely rock. (You, dear reader can join em here.) We’re trying to raise $22,000 this year, and every penny counts. Just wow.

Thanks Amanda and Ryan and everyone else involved.

Thanks Amanda and Ryan and everyone else involved.

I am in 621 which seems to be my default room these days (though I do fondly recall the Presidential Suite…yes I do…love that prosthetic blog memory unit!). Things are very nice here with plenty of room to relax and get some work done before the work starts…or something.

Bedroom 621 at Hotel Marlowe.

Bedroom 621 at Hotel Marlowe.

Living room with really TALL furniture in 621 at Hotel Marlowe

Living room with really TALL furniture in 621 at Hotel Marlowe

I do really like the bathroom part of this room, though I still have never been in that huge tub. One of these years, I swear.

What is that in the mirror?

What is that in the mirror?

The shower is definitely not plastic. NPS approved.

No plastic to be seen near the shower in 621 at Hotel Marlowe

No plastic to be seen near the shower in 621 at Hotel Marlowe

Though I am missing my rock in the middle of the Shenandoah River now that no fly July has come to an end, Hotel Marlowe and their killer staff are a home away from home. Five showerheads plus two.

The evening started with a delicious cocktail at Brick and Mortar. Great space. Great vibe. Great cocktails. Good place for a business chat. After a Greenpoint, we tried a house invented More Than Classic:
1 oz wild turkey 101
1 oz Aperol
1 oz Braulio
.25 oz demarara syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
A roller coaster of a drink that starts bitter and is a bit too sweet in the end. Not much in the middle. But a decent experiment.

Dinner at Bondir was nice, but they are trying too hard. The first three courses (bread included) were a veritable confusion of great tastes. Too much going on. But some sublime ideas in there. Main course and desert were much better. All in all, Bondir seems overpriced to me. The atmosphere is nice and homey though.

All this and a telescope to boot.

All this and a telescope to boot.

It’s like coming home—with a telescope.

Telescope in 621

Telescope in 621

GM Joe Capalbo is known for reaching across the country to make a guest feel special. It’s much easier when you’re in his domain! Boston is Joe’s domain. We were greeted with the special makings of a Shift Ender (as recently featured on Glassaholic). See, at least somebody reads this blog!

Cocktail-related amenities? We approve. Heartily. Lets make this a trend.

The Shift Ender before construction.

The Shift Ender before construction.

The Shift Ender post construction

The Shift Ender post construction

So we start with a Shift Ender and lots of delicious snacks. That should tide us over before we hit Sportello and drink and a late evening of fun and games. Hopefully, no phones will be sacrificed.

Snacks include this gorgeous charcuterie plate.

Snacks include this gorgeous charcuterie plate.

Anyway, thanks Joe. You rock.

Amongst all of the goodies was a note from GM Bill McKinney who runs not only the Bambara downstairs but also the shiny new Highball Lounge where barman Shaher Misif presides. A visit is on the docket for Wednesday (after dinner at Journeyman, no wait, strike that, dinner is slated for EVOO).

621 is a very nice executive class room at the Hotel Marlowe. The key to this room category is the glass shower cube. That’s what we do all this for!

621 has a glass shower.

621 has a glass shower.

Once again, I am utterly unlikely to get into the gigantic tub thing. What is it with these huge tubs and underuse?

Bedroom portion of 621.

Bedroom portion of 621.

Living room portion of 621.

Living room portion of 621.

And the best news? I get to spend two nights in Boston this time.

This just in from our excursion to drink, here is the inestimable Ezra Star wearing google glass. Sportello was great and so was drink. John Gertsen runs a tight and highly entertaining ship.

Ezra wears glass.

Ezra wears glass.

Ezra does her thing.

Ezra does her thing.

Somehow we managed to rally for a second evening out. Started with an OK dinner at EVOO, the highlight of which was some Slovakian stew made by a talented student chef. The bar at EVOO tried to make a good drink they call the Bleeding Heart:
3 oz grapefruit juice
2.5 oz Tequila
1 oz orange liqueur (use something not too sweet)
splash of lemon
dash of salt
Shake, serve over crushed ice, float a teaspoon of grenadine, throw in a luxardo cherry

The only problem with EVOO’s version was fake grenadine and a red dye number 5 fake cherry (plus middle quality booze). This drink has enough promise to do it properly at home.

After dinner it was off to the Highball Lounge where barman Shaher Misif presides. Shaher is a dangerous man. I repeat, Shaher is a dangerous man.

Shaher Misif is a dangerous man.

Shaher Misif is a dangerous man.

We were joined by a flamboyantly gay mexican architect who really would not keep himself to himself as well as the good man Robert Gonzales, brand Ambassador from Zacapa rum. Robert was super fun. He caused this flaming cocktail to appear.

Things became fuzzy. Liberals were served (with house amaro consisting of 26 ingredients). Alcohol rained from the sky? I believe we even got into the Pappy 23, which escalated the bill nicely into the stratosphere. Oh well, you pay what you get for (or something like that).

Eventually even the bar ceased to act as a barrier. This is Roberto on the wrong side of the bar.

Shaher is a dangerous man.  But we think he's fun anyway.

Shaher is a dangerous man. But we think he’s fun anyway.

The Highball Lounge is a great place to drink. Shaher Misif is a dangerous man. Bring your bag of bitcoins. But watch out, Shaher Misif is a dangerous man.

Five showerheads and a tip of the shaker to the Hotel Marlowe.

Meanwhile back at the Palomar, it was a noplasticshowers birthday. Yeah I know, “one day older, and one day closer to death.” Don’t even ask.

A note from Hotel Marlowe (Boston to San Francisco)

A note from Hotel Marlowe (Boston to San Francisco)

Joe Capalbo, GM of the Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge reached all the way across the country to say happy birthday. Awesome.

Cupcakes and prosecco.

Cupcakes and prosecco.

Hotel Marlowe is one of my favorite destinations, especially with Joe Capalbo’s steady hand at the helm. What a great way to cap 2013’s out of control travel. The Marlowe staff for this short stay was in rare form and managed to create the funniest amenity poster ever (Meghan rocks). Check this out:

Even Kimpton agrees: Jeff Smisek sucks!

Even Kimpton agrees: Jeff Smisek sucks!

I must admit that I do bitch about Smisek here on this blog, and, well, at least somebody is listening even if United is not!

This trip also included the best side run ever to an undisclosed location in NH where we did some experimenting with special fuel additives.

Special fuel additive creation device.

Special fuel additive creation device.

Dinner at Sportello was extremely convenient since our ultimate target was drink downstairs. Because of the previous Jacques-inspired evening in Boston, I owed Josey Packard a bottle of Amer Picon. It was delivered last night almost direct from Paris. That really got the (snow) ball rolling. By the end of the evening we had an avalanche on our hands. Woo hoo!

The ultimate victim was my phone, which Caroline used as a gravity test meter after we somehow managed to make it back home. Yes, gravity is still in effect.

Ouch.  Midnight mishap.

Ouch. Midnight mishap.

Meanwhile back at the Marlowe, all was peaceful and awaiting an extremely abbreviated evening. Sleep is for the weak in room 825.

Short sleep here.

Short sleep here.

Fruit is really good after midnight.

Fruit is really good after midnight.

No sitting happened here.

No sitting happened here.

No soak occurred in this tub.

No soak occurred in this tub.

This shower hit the spot.  Plenty of hot water in a nice glass cube.

This shower hit the spot. Plenty of hot water in a nice glass cube.

Obligatory mirror in mirror shot.

Obligatory mirror in mirror shot.

I look forward to my next visit to Boston and stay at the Marlowe. Five exemplary showerheads and a great laugh. Thanks!