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Just a few years ago (OK ten) I used to come to San Diego all the time. I stayed at the fabulous Estancia La Jolla so often that they got to know me. But now that Kimpton is, well, Kimpton we figured we could try the Hotel La Jolla on this trip as an alternative. It’s pretty Kimptony!

Looks Kimpton-y in 906

Looks Kimpton-y in 906

You know how we feel about the hamster cage hotel design here at NPS. Hotel La Jolla is what happens when you spiffify and stylize the classic rectangle of doom into a Kimpton property. That means comfortable bedding, cool bathrooms, and nice flooring. But there is only so much you can do with a concrete shell of rectangles, and noise is a problem here at Hotel La Jolla. Like the highway traffic leaks through the door and the building “wakes up” in the morning. Reminds me of living in an apartment in Italy.

On the plus side, you can see the ocean in the morning, and the room is very comfortable in the usual Kimpton way. It feels like a Kimpton.

Then there is the shower! Very cool indeed. A glass cube between the bedroom and the bathroom. We like.

906 rectangle view includes clear shower

906 rectangle view includes clear shower

A nice note and a welcome amenity of cheese was in the room as a greeting. (Sadly, no crackers!)

Karma welcome

Karma welcome

More on that shower, which incidentally has great water pressure too.

Looking in.

Looking in.

Looking out.

Looking out.

And then there is the Pacific ocean.

Night from the balcony.

Night from the balcony.

Day from the balcony

Day from the balcony

A high four showerheads for Hotel La Jolla.

Well almost. After a really yummy dinner at Herringbone during which we taught the barman Victor how to make a Broken Bike, we headed back to Hotel La Jolla for a nightcap. It was 9:15. The bar was staffed but closed. No service for us and no money for the Kimpton bar program.

So, miffed, we went back to Herringbone bar to close it down with Victor. Turns out it was Victor’s first night ever behind the bar (and not doing backbar). Negroni, Pappy 10, perhaps some Fernet Branca? Nice time.

Morning in La Jolla.

Though the RiverPlace Hotel has apparently been around for a long time in Portland, it is now branded as a Kimpton (before it was operated by Kimpton but not under the brand). A quick stay was most welcome. You see, after the meeting at Skamania, a big trip to Powell’s Books was in order. Powell’s is the best bookstore in North America.

From the falls to Portland is just 20 miles or so.

The front desk staff Ellie and Dave were super friendly and nice as were the valet guys. Portland has lots of nice people, and some of them work at RiverPlace. I was assigned room 202.

I was greeted with an amenity including sparkling water, some cheese and a couple of notes.

IMG_1185

The best aspects of 202 are its completely non-hamster-cage design. Lots of round, no square walls. Beautiful space. Sophisticated style.

202 one way

202 one way

202 the other way

202 the other way

The king bed was very comfortable all three hours I was in it.

202 bed

202 bed

And, yes, there is a river. And you can see it from 202.

view from 202

view from 202

The bathroom is spacious with modern European fixtures. But you’re not going to believe this…the shower had a plastic shower curtain on a curvy rod over a (Euro) tub. Horrors! Run away!!

IMG_1184

Say it ain't so!

Say it ain’t so!

This is plastic.

This is plastic.

Maybe the RiverPlace has some rooms with glass showers? We’ll have to try again and see. All in all the RiverPlace beats the Monaco hands down in my book. Much better quality hotel.

Two hours and $375.92 after I found the new door, I escaped Powell’s with a huge pile of books that filled my expandable suitcase to the brim. The Powell’s fiction/lit section is a dream for any real reader.

Then it was on to Clyde Common pretty much right around the corner for a delicious dinner and some world class cocktails. Pork rinds with trout roe and horseradish lemon cream? Amazing.

After dinner I sauntered over to the (busy but not overcrowded) bar to be served by Beckaly Franks. She is a master. We had fun playing around with some experiments (including a drink I imported from New Orleans). Her best of the evening was Winter is Coming
1 oz James Pepper 1776 Rye
1 oz Perucci Vermouth (like Dolin’s blue)
.75 oz Genepy (or green chartreuse)
1 t luxardo
healthy dash of angostura
stir down. serve on rox. lemon twist.

One of the on the card drinks at Clyde Common is the Broken Bike:
1 oz cynar
2 oz pinot gris (dry)
2 oz club soda
The restaurant bottles these in advance and serves a small bottle. Add lemon oil or a lemon twist. I am going to try it on the rocks.

The bar at Clyde Common is world class.

Morning came way early.

Four showerheads and some glass doors for the RiverPlace hotel. All we have to say is no plastic showers!