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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!

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.

Long ago in a galaxy far far away Joe Capalbo set the Kimpton hook by paying attention. Since that time, Joe has moved up the food chain, running the Onyx across town, and recently coming back as the General Manager of my Boston home away from home, the Hotel Marlowe.

Joe has been good to his word. He even listens to Where’s Aubrey. That’s above and beyond the call of duty.

Another personal note from Joe, this one featuring a song title.

Another personal note from Joe, this one featuring a song title.

The welcome setup in 621 reminds me of a miniature version of Christmas morning. Fun. Thanks Joe.

High information welcome package.

High information welcome package.

One of the four featured local craft cocktail bars mentioned above is Craigie on Main, which I can attest has a superior bar and some very skilled people working behind it. The coup de grace of a great bar is a real sazarac capability. The sazarac, though simple in concept, is always a very tricky drink to get just right. At Craigie they do it right (and they surprise you with it with a comped delivery after a delicious meal). Also of note is the fantastic wine list at Craigie. We enjoyed a stellar a 2010 Nit de Nin Priorat. The food was very good as well.

Craigie on Main makes a Mellow Yellow as follows:
1.5 Buffalo Trace bourbon
.5 Yellow chartreuse
.5 Becherovka (a new one on me, see below)
.25 Apricot liqueur
dash Regan’s orange bitters
Stir. Express orange peel and drop in.

Becherovka is a cinnamon bitters from the Czech Republic

Becherovka is a cinnamon bitters from the Czech Republic

Back at the Marlowe, some pictures from 621.

Glass shower de riguer

Glass shower de riguer

Bedroom

Bedroom

Bathroom mirror (mirror).

Bathroom mirror (mirror).

Telescope room.

Telescope room.

But wait, there’s more. Day2 the plan was to bar hop with Kimpton bar strategist and Tequila master Jacques Bezuidenhout and his trusty associate Ken. It was a dangerous plan and well executed.

We started at the Blue Room with a very good meal indeed. Their bar program is really looking up these days, and the space is nicely spruced up. Then it was off to drink for the best visit ever. Ezra Star was in the house and surprised that Jacques and I arrived together. (The planet is really small.) She joined us for some tequila after her shift. The highlight of the evening other than the company was a tour of the entire incredible kitchen drink/sportello/menton trifecta by Barbara Lynch’s very natty GM John. Amazing place and excellent tour. And somehow I now seem to owe Josey Packard a bottle of Amer Picon?!

Suffice it to say that 6:30am rolled around way too early.

Five showerheads and a very high bar indeed for the Hotel Marlowe and my favorite Kimpton GM Joe Capalbo.

In flying news, United saw fit to upgrade me on two of three legs for this trip. I’ll be checking a bag from Boston, because I was given a bottle of Rhum to bring home to the bar. (Directions are: 1/8 oz lime with pure cane sugar and 2 oz rhum – or so.)

Rhum Agricole from Guadeloupe.

Rhum Agricole from Guadeloupe.