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Mondrian London

May 25, 2018

Another year, another trip to the Mondrian London to preside over a conference. This year we were assigned 457 which is a beautiful room.

The bathroom and shower are just fantastic.

Walk in marble and glass shower with a stool and multiple shower heads. Yes please!

welcome notes galore

We’re here for the view.

An early arrival was super smooth. Room ready. Staff helpful. Operations is markedly improved since last year.

Lunch at Northbank across the millenial bridge is recommended.

As is a visit to the Tate Modern.

kandinsky at the Tate

One of the highlights of the Mondrian is the fact that Dandelyan bar is on the premesis. (On the other hand, the Rumpus Room is to be skipped at all cost.)

Marcus restaurant is super fantastic.

This year we called our cocktail extravaganza
#boaredintheusa. More here.

Five showerheads and perfect weather for the Mondrian London.

We were here just over a year ago running the very same small conference that we’re running this time. Well, actually more like presiding; other people do all of the actual running. Anyway, the Mondrian is still very nice.

We’re in the same room category as last year but up one level in 571. And we’ve already been in Europe for a week, so the obligatory Tate Modern visit is documented here (as is our stay at the Zetter), there is no jet lag to contend with, and we’ve even been to Scotland. Heck, we even went out to the American Bar for cocktails!

All that was left was to taxi across the Thames and check in at noon.

An absurdity happened then. Even though the massive NPS support staff had set things up so that our room would be available at noon (and we arrived at 12:30) the room was “not quite ready.” What? I’m pretty sure we even ended up paying for an extra night just to avoid this. Sorry, Mondrian, please get organized and give us our money back for the extra night! The delay was not long (only 12 minutes), but that’s not really the point.

Does it make NPS happy to sit in the lobby waiting? Nope. Not one little bit.

Here is what 571 looks like. We’ll start with the balcony view on a cold, blustery London afternoon. The temperature has dropped 10 degrees Fahrenheit since yesterday.

The balcony is nice. NPS bets the higher rooms with balconies are even better.

The room is spacious and huge with an outstanding bathroom. No sign of plastic.

Dining nook

Sleeping nook

Working nook

Sitting nook

Having an amenity at greeting was nice. But get this Mondrian peeps, guests have actual names! Wow! You should use them.

Why thank you guest experience team driod from the bottom of our customer id unknown heart.

Amenity

We had to order 4 bottles of sparking water to make us through the week. The Kimpton guys mostly have this figured out. Perhaps the NPS computer record was corrupted since last year?

But you’re reading this for the showers, right? Right!

First, a minor diversion.

Extra bathroom

And now for the main show. The incredible 571 bathroom.

Tub and “water closet closet”

What a shower

Yes please

We’re looking forward to week two in the UK. More here as things develop.

DANDELYAN here we come.

What should get a five showerheads rating (on shower karma alone) reduced to four showerheads for poor guest happiness management skills.

It may be a gray day in London, but it’s blue in room 503 at the Zetter hotel.

And that’s a good thing, because blue is the new red. Loyal readers may recall room 503 used to be red. A complete makeover has occurred making the room cozier and even more modern seeming.

But what’s best is that room 503 was waiting for us when we arrived at 10:15 in the morning after a flight across the pond (about more which see this Delta Does Business posting). So nice to be recognized and taken care of properly. Wonder why the Zetter is better? Well, that’s one reason. Thanks Fabian.

Blue 503 skylight highlight

The Zetter room 503 comfy bed

Zetter sitting now featuring carpet and a modern bar

About the only thing that has not changed is the bathroom which remains nice but small and does feature a tub/shower combo thingy. Tell no one.

The shower is nothing to write home (or blog) about, but it sure feels good after a long flight

The best feature of room 503 is the bank of windows overlooking London. You can see both the gerkin and the shard from bed.

Looking out

Looking in

503 features a fantastic balcony

So all is well at the Zetter. Now we must now manage to stay up all day somehow. Sleep is for the weak.

Stay awake by walking around London in a daze

Lunch at St John is an excellent option.

Real bread at St John

The Tate

As always the Tate is a great place to while away some time. This trip, NPS discovered an entirely new wing?!

Tate Modern

First Iris in London

A sushi dinner at Sosharu was passable. Sosharu is trying to make sushi appealing too close to a train station. Skip it.

Fortunately, a cocktail or two at the Zetter Townhouse was in order. Funny how every time NPS shows up here we have to teach them to make a Liberal all over again. At least they still have the Amer Picon on hand. Back bar fernet with Guy was something that happened.

Amer Picon in the Zetter Townhouse

Also of note during our Zetter time in London:

Dinner at Texture (not as impressive as it should have been).

Brunch at Chiltern Firehouse

A fire at the Chiltern Firehouse in May

A visit to the Artesian bar at the Langham (after tea was ditched in favor of cocktails).

Artesian

Cocktail whose name escapes us

The British Museum

Cocktails at the Aemrican Bar in the Savoy.

The American Bar (wingspan)

A Spinning Jenny is presented on its own little pedestal. Spinning Jenny
45 ml bombay sapphire
15 ml cocchi americano
10 ml pear eau de vie (williams)
15 ml Yerba Mate
15 ml grenadine
soda
Stir. Fizz. Collins rocks. Pedestal.

A new blue five showerheads for the Zetter.

Mondrian London Lobby

Mondrian London Lobby

An actual Mondrian at the Tate Modern

An actual Mondrian at the Tate Modern

Regular readers will know that NPS loves to stay at the Zetter and the Zetter Townhouse while in London. But sadly, the group conference we are hosting this week outgrew the Zetter some time ago. The great news is that the Mondrian London is a fantastic place to stay.

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Located on the banks of the Thames just a hop skip and jump from the Tate Modern, the Mondrian London is modern, chic, and packed with high style. It is part of the Morgans hotel group (which includes the Morgan in NYC).

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NPS is assigned room 463—a nice little suite with a balcony overlooking the muddy river. London graces the far side of course.

View from 463

View from 463

River view from 463

River view from 463

A little table on the balcony

A little table on the balcony

The other half of the balcony

The other half of the balcony

463 has plenty of room to work, to entertain, and to sleep (assuming any of the latter actually happens this week).

Couch in 463

Couch in 463

463 sitting area

463 sitting area

463 desk

463 desk

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There are two bathrooms in 463, one proper marble palace and the other a powder room for when guests drop by. The shower is fantastic with multiple shower heads and tons of room with nary a bit of plastic in sight.

Wait for it

Wait for it

Fantastic shower

Fantastic shower

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The rest of the property is likewise stylish. Rumor has it that the bars are great too. More about that soon enough!

Yellow submarine

Yellow submarine

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The challenge with hopping the pond in the direction of London is staying up once you arrive. Whiling away some time at the Tate Modern is a common NPS strategy.

Here are some pictures from today’s excursion.

View from the 6th floor cafe of the Tate

View from the 6th floor cafe of the Tate

Machine

Machine

Tower of babel

Tower of babel

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Valentine (for Ivan Arce)

Valentine (for Ivan Arce)

A visit to Dandelyan for a quick bite before a movie was very satisfactory indeed. Dandelyan won COTC’s best new international bar last year. It is clear why. Attention to detail and interesting cocktails to be found. Get the lamb meatballs and the pork buns!

Dandelyan visit with Aiden, Alex and Jack behind the bar

Dandelyan visit with Aiden, Alex and Jack behind the bar

The cocktail list is extensive and interesting, though the use of “refactored” standard drink names is a bit misleading. For example, a quick paw through the menu had me skip right over the Fairchild’s Mule (because it said Mule) and the BDC Negroni as well. That would have been a mistake. When I ordered a “gussied up French 75” Aiden suggested the mule. He was right.

Fairchild’s Mule
40 ml cardamom infused hendrick’s gin [10g cardamom per 700ml hendricks]
2.5 ml clove cordial [could sub in allspice dram for this British treat]
2.5 ml ginger distillate [cantons might work too, but if so drop the syrup]
5 ml simple syrup
12.5 ml lime juice
shake and double strain.
add 20 ml champagne and 20 ml fever tree ginger ale

Porter's gin by Alex Lawrence

Porter’s gin by Alex Lawrence

Barman Alex Lawrence has created Porter’s gin, which is on the aromatic side of the scale towards Hendricks. Alex uses Leopold’s method (without really knowing what that is). He made me a London Calling with his product:
50 ml porter’s gin
15 ml fino sherry
20 ml lemon juice
10 ml simple syrup
2 dashes of Regan’s 6 orange bitters
stir down, serve up. garnish with grapefruit zest

Working at Dandelyan (Gin and Arrack with a house Negroni chaser)

Working at Dandelyan (Gin and Arrack with a house Negroni chaser)

The fact that Dandelyon is associated with the Mondrian is an excellent happenstance indeed. But why does is close so early (M 1:26, T 1:17, W 1:09)?

And the Mondrian has a private movie theater, the Curzon, too. Saw Victoria which helped me meet the staying up on day one goal.

Dinner at Texture was absolutely outstanding. Fish tasting menu was delicious and the wine list was fun to work with. Yet another Michelin star with Jacob!

Five showerheads and high expectations for a super week in London. This entry will be updated as the week progresses.

The Zetter Townhouse London

September 29, 2014

View from Zetter Townhouse room 11

View from Zetter Townhouse room 11

Yes, its a gray and rainy day in London. Nothing at all surprising about that. But at the Zetter all is sunny and bright (in a virtual way). I’ve been a guest at this hotel multiple times and have quaffed many a cocktail at the Zetter Townhouse next door. This trip I am staying in the Townhouse itself, up on the third floor in room 11.

Rooms in the Townhouse have the same quirky design as the downstairs lounge. Antiques, old art, stuffed cats, fancy columns all thrown together willy nilly to nice effect.

Room 11's quirky collection of flotsam.

Room 11’s quirky collection of flotsam.

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A huge gilded tub prevails

A huge gilded tub prevails

Though the bedroom includes a huge gilded tub, there is a glass shower cube tucked away in the black and white tiled bathroom.

Glass shower cube beats the mother ship

Glass shower cube beats the mother ship

Best of all, upon my very early arrival from the other side of the pond, room 11 was ready to be immediately occupied. Short nap. Hot shower. We’re off to a good start.

Workshop coffee just across the street serves breakfast at all hours. And they make an espresso that even jOHN would approve of.

There’s nothing quite like a visit to the Tate Modern in an arrival fugue state to make life seem any more surreal than normal.

Telephone call for a Mr Dali

Telephone call for a Mr Dali

Kandinski and the very beginning of abstraction

Kandinski and the very beginning of abstraction

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An early business dinner at Tramshed rounds out the first evening. Cow in formaldehyde with a chicken on its back.

Damian Hirst was here

Damian Hirst was here

And not to outdo the lesbian petting in the gents, there’s this.

Right.

Right.

To recover, a Liberal is in order, perfectly made at the classy Zetter Townhouse bar.

The Liberal

The Liberal

Night two included dinner at the modern pantry (right next door to the Zetter Townhouse). Interesting and very eclectic food that is hit or miss. Make sure not to skip the black sesame for dessert.

A nightcap at the Townhouse was going well until some jackass showed up at the bar and insisted on picking a fight?! Easy enough to walk away, but not the sort of thing you expect at an upscale establishment. I did not wait for the situation to be resolved, but simply headed upstairs. (Note: Management seems to have ignored this situation completely. Nobody said a thing the next morning. Hmm.)

But before that, we experimented with a couple of El Presidente inspired cocktails by Bobbie. Experiment 1:
40 cl myers rum
10 cl byrhh
10 cl fino dry sherry
5 cl grenadine
2.5 cl fernet
stir. serve up in a champagne glass.

Experiment 2:
40 cl myers rum
10 cl byrhh
5 cl fino dry sherry
5 cl grenadine
2.5 cl fernet
stir. serve up in champagne glass.

The only issue with this drink was inferior rum. A cuban anejo barrel proof would be ideal. Or maybe even mount gay eclipse. Will work this one at home.

On a final note, a reservations mix-up made by my (usually incredibly excellent) travel agent when the trip was refactored to add Helsinki resulted in an extra night’s charge from the Zetter. [At first we said: I find it surprising that management did not opt to eat the charge. Bad on you Zetter for policy fascism. We will remember. But then management read the entry and reconsidered their position. Glad they did the right thing in the end. Thanks Zetter. See you again soon.]

I was just here at the Zetter in November and was completely psyched to find a hotel that did not suck in London. The Zetter and the Zetter Townhouse way do not suck.

Somewhat miraculously, United did the right thing by me on this trip to Europe with in advance upgrades on both ends. (Isn’t it ironic that merely acceptable behavior by United is so rare that it deserved kudos?!) So maybe I was in a great mood even on 3 hours of “plane sleep.” No matter what it was, though, the Zetter staff made me feel immediately welcome on my arrival.

The Zetter as seen from Workshop Coffee.

The Zetter as seen from Workshop Coffee.

The front desk staff kindly allowed me to use room 101 to take a shower in the morning since someone was still in the room I was ultimately destined to stay in. Room 101 is great for a shower.

Room 101 TV.

Room 101 TV.

Room 101 shower (ahhhh).

Room 101 shower (ahhhh).

Room 101 is about the same size as its bed.

Room 101 is about the same size as its bed.

But even after breakfast and a shower, I still had some time to kill before my room was ready, so I headed over to the Zetter Townhouse to get some work done. I was met by head barman and gracious host Kamil Foltan. He and I sat in the back getting work done and chatting every once in a while for a couple of hours. Finally, room 503 was ready. It was worth the wait.

Eyes to the right.

Room 503.  Curved windows overlooking the city.

Room 503. Curved windows overlooking the city.

Eyes to the left.

The work nook.  Sadly, lots of actual work is happening here.

The work nook. Sadly, lots of actual work is happening here.

I must admit that the bathroom on 503 could use an update. The shower is pretty good, but it does have a shower curtain. You all know how we feel about that around here!

Smallish bathroom through the door.

Smallish bathroom through the door.

We will pretend this curtain is glass.

We will pretend this curtain is glass.

I guess over on this side of the pond they have not yet started to install insanely large tubs that I never have time to use next to a glass shower cube. Alas.

The view and the gorgeous balcony more than makes up for the bathroom.

View from 503 balcony.

View from 503 balcony.

The new London pyramid and a cathedral share the skyline with a smoking chimney on an ugly building.  Classic London.

The new London pyramid and a cathedral share the skyline. Classic London.

Too bad about the weather though. Rainy and gray. Oh well, that was to be expected. All in all a five showerheads rating for the Zetter again. Great space, great staff, excellent all around.

London from the Tate Modern restaurant.  Rain rain rain.

London from the Tate Modern restaurant. Rain rain rain.

Coffee Workshop wallpaper.  ARRRR!

Coffee Workshop wallpaper. ARRRR!

In other London news, the Clerkenwell neighborhood remains interesting. The best coffee I have ever had in London can be found at Workshop Coffee just down the street from the Zetter. Mixology at the Zetter Townhouse is still in full swing (I must admit that I go for more boozy and bitter than they seem to have taste for on their menu, but you can get a Liberal!!). The Tate Modern is one of my favorite all time museums (loved the Sphinx by Fini).

Petit Sphinx Ermite by Leonor Fini (Tate Modern)

Petit Sphinx Ermite by Leonor Fini (Tate Modern)

Inside the Zetter Townhouse.  View from the couch (which was almost denied us by the little girl minding the door).

Inside the Zetter Townhouse. View from the couch (which was almost denied us by the little girl minding the door).

Superb dinner at Moro.

Kamil introduced me to a new rum at the Zetter Townhouse. Almost as good as Havana Club Cuban cask strength Anejo. Wow. And get this, it’s from Venezuela.

Santa Teresa 1796 rum from Venezuela.

Santa Teresa 1796 rum from Venezuela.

A dinner right next door at The Modern Pantry included one of the best desserts I have ever been served in an upscale restaurant. We had some trouble with the Zetter front desk getting dinner set up, but persistence paid off.

Another restaurant worth mentioning is The Tramshed where you can find great steak, a cow in formaldehyde (Damien Hirst), and lesbian petting in the gents.

This is not the cow you're looking for.

This is not the cow you’re looking for.

After dinner we went for a romp through Happiness Forgets (which was obviously teleported in from NY) and the Artesian at the Langham which is just a bit too posh for its own good, for example proudly proclaiming itself the “best bar in the world.” Happiness Forgets is excellent indeed. Artesian? Meh. Though the rum selection really is the best I have ever seen.

We handle posh by ordering this:

A posh drink with a purple skull phone from Artesian.

A posh drink with a purple skull phone from Artesian.

Zetter Hotel London

November 12, 2012

I may have finally found a noplasticshowers-worthy hotel in London (there must be zillions of them, but I keep not finding them somehow). The Zetter Hotel is located slightly off the beaten path in Clerkenwell.

A very early check in was available for me at 9am after I made my way from Heathrow (via the express train to Paddington of course). The short taxi ride from Paddington in typically awful London traffic was a standard London “welcome” to pair with the dreary gray day. After all that, it’s really nice to relax and have a hot shower.

I am in room 501, one of the rooftop terrace rooms. It is microscopic but very chic.

The room is up a short set of steps from the door. The terrace overlooks (dreary) London.

Orange. Yes, orange.

At least the TV shrine has hip seating.

Now on to the shower situation. Which is…interesting.

A small but stylish bathroom. No plastic in sight.

A very interesting shower head built into the ceiling with a light.

The shower head is so interesting that I thought I would go for a noplasticshowers first. Video.

Other interesting features of 501 include the terrace.

The famed rooftop terrace.

Though the view is not exactly awe inspiring like the one at 70Park.

London.

Then again, it looks great in the morning.

London in the morning.

And in late breaking news, when I returned to the room after a long day of meetings I was greeted with a personal note and some chocolates:

From the department of better late than never, a welcome note and some chocolates.

The Zetter is a five showerheads place.

On the mixology front, the Zetter has an associated property around the back called the Zetter Townhouse which has an absolutely world class bar. The scene is relaxed and very eclectic with a superb and subtle staff. After an appropriate period of authentication, I connected with barman Nicola Piazza. We talked Amer Picon, absinthe, and calvados. I tried one of Nicola’s experimental beverages (among other drinks).

The Zetter Townhouse is excuse enough alone to stay at the Zetter.

I returned Tuesday night and spent some time working with Kamil Foltan (head bartender) who was even more knowledgeable and just as fun. We talked bourbon and rye. He mentioned 69 Collebroke Row and Birds & Tail as very good bars to try in the future. Also a sushi place called Tetsu Sushi (Jerusalem Lane). One of the drinks we played with is called
Ward 8
1 oz Bourbon (or Rye as the case may be we used Rittenhouse 100)
.5 Lemon
.5 Orange
.5 Grenadine (dry)
2 dashes Angustora
2 dashes Amargo Chuncho

(Unrelated data on NY bars: Dead Rabbit and Mulberry Project.)

This afternoon, I spent 3 hours at the Tate Modern. Mind boggling. I am now officially in a weird mood.

We’ll leave you with this.