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).

Innocence at Highball Lounge

September 24, 2015

Shaher Misif is a dangerous man. But he does feign innocence well.

Does this man look dangerous to you?

Does this man look dangerous to you?

Highball Lounge has become quite the fantastic place to have a drink, or to get a tattoo.

Duckie

Duckie

But it can be dangerous.

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

Today’s flight from Dulles to Boston was on time. The wifi worked. The crew was not surly.

Good job United! You should have ditched Jeff Smisek years ago.

Sadly the chaotic united boarding scrum had people out in the hallway as usual to board. Somebody should invent a civilized boarding system.

Then there was Hertz. Not on the board (not enough employees to ready cars). A 25 minute, 40 car line of cars to exit the facility. No process. no adult supervision. Whoever manages the Boston Hertz at the airport should be fired.

An evening that started with a nice dinner at Kirkland Tap and Trotter (not to mention some very nice cocktails) ended with a nightcap at sister restaurant (big sister, that is) Craigie on Main.

Craigie on Main has a fantastic bar program.

Oysters with Caviar at Craigie on Main

Oysters with Caviar at Craigie on Main

One of the many fantastic cocktails on the menu is the Pepper in the Rye:
1.5 oz peppercorn infused overholt rye
.75 oz cardamaro
.5 oz house amer picon
.25 oz aperol
splash lemon
splash lime
dash grapefruit bitters

stir. strain into cocktail glass. flamed lemon (discard)

The House made Amer Picon is fairly close (a bit on the orange side kind of like Torani Amer made with Reagans number 6). Can’t wait to compare iterations of this cocktail with real Amer Picon.

Craigie on Main Amer Picon Knockoff

Craigie on Main Amer Picon Knockoff

Bartenders Rob Ficks and Eric Books were on duty.

Craigie on Main Bar

Craigie on Main Bar

Rob is working on an experimental beverage as yet untitled:
1.5 oz mizu shochu
.75 oz cocchi americano
.75 oz pickled nectarine
.25 oz verjus
1 dash grapefruit bitters

stir. strain up in champagne glass. garnish with a violet.

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.

No fly July had to end sometime, and August 6th was it! Back in the air, I was forced to fly United today. Argh.

First some good news. Checkin was smooth, efficient and had no massive line for the first time in memory. Wow! TSApre worked as advertised. And Dulles Terminal C has had a major facelift and looks way better than it used to. The United Red Carpet club people were nice too.

Then it was off to the gate for some bad news. Ridiculous boarding process angst incited by gate agents in a bad mood (boo). And get this, even though the FAA says you can carry on instruments, the awful gate agent woman would not let me. “You must check one,” she demanded. (I have a violin and mandolin with me.) “We could be fined $2000,” said another. Just unhelpful, unfriendly people. Why the hell are they in customer service? I mean really.

Fortunately, the flight attendants told me to just bring my instrument on and ignore the gate agents. They were actually friendly and helped me sneak it on. (I did have visions of the gate agent getting on the plane and making a scene, but fortunately that did not happen. I only relaxed after we pushed back.)

HEY UNITED GATE AGENTS, READ THIS.

The rest of the flight was fine.

So as usual, United can’t win for losing. They need to clean house of the employees who do not belong in customer service.