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Imagine that you blog about showers all over the world and that you have intentionally not had a shower for 3 days during which intense hiking has occurred. You know, like camping, but slightly more civilized since a well-supplied cabin is involved. But definitely “ripe.”

The hiking happened here

Then imagine you decide to stay up way late to catch the 2:23am train to Oslo which gets you to the airport in plenty of time to take a shower. I mean even if the train is delayed by 45 minutes (it was), there will still be time for a long hot shower.

The airport flytoget is fast at least.

Now imagine that there is no hot water at the Radisson Blu. None. And management’s “solutions” are ridiculous. And there you have it!

Showering was like boy scout camp. Cold and awful.

And then when you are crossing the Atlantic after a stop off in Germany the Radisson Blu twitter bot awakens. Good for a LOL.

Fortunately, when offered a 50% discount, NPS requested a 100% discount which was granted. Its as if we never set foot on the property—our precise future intentions.

Do not stay at the Oslo Airport Radisson Blu for any reason. Zero cold shower heads.

NPS is not a first-timer at the Alexis, but we sure do miss our guy Keith (once concierge) who is no longer at Kimpton. Because we have no feet on the ground at the hotel, we had to rely on social media and the CRM system that Kimpton uses to track its guests. Guess what? Knowing people beats the heck out of any computer-based guest database. Especially a guest database that elides the only real hotel room criteria we hold dear.

Which is a short way of saying, “WTF Kimpton, a room with a plastic shower??!” Really, the warm greeting by Sam, the sparkling water, the really beautiful newly-renovated room, all that stuff means not a thing if the shower is plastic. We’ll pay more. We’ll do pretty much whatever it takes to avoid the shower over bathtub thing. We’ll even cash in our loyalty and find a different hotel.

NO PLASTIC SHOWERS!

The first room was 634. It had a plastic shower. What exactly does that mean, you ask? Lets review.

This is a plastic shower. It looks not too awful from here.

But when you approach, the plastic liner becomes apparent

And this bendy “obesity bar” which is not up to the task of such heavy plastic.

Gross. This is just gross. We do not do this.

And over a step in bathtub. No no. A thousand times no.

We tried to make this all very obvious.

Does the machine have a memory??

The rest of the bathroom is very nice and spacious

So lets put this shower episode behind us and hope somebody out there in Kimpton CRM-land is paying attention.

Leave the bathroom behind. Never go back.

High style evident

Cluttered quirky and fun

This is just fine.

Sparkling water is always very nice, and we do appreciate that.

But we do not at all like this trend where our rooms are bugged. Please make these spy devices that invade privacy optional Kimpton.

No bugs please. Spy on your spouse not on your guests.

Anyway, for the record, the Alexis has a great little bar called The Library, where from time to time great bourbon flows through.

The next morning, a room adjustment was already underway. That is good. But it was already too late.

Breakfast at Biscuit Bitch is worth seeking out, even if you have to trawl for a table.

And then work. And then some sailing.

We did some racing, and the good news is that we won first place in our class (really great huge boats that start late and come in last).

By the time the ferry shenanigans finished up, it was midnight and time for the room switch. Imagine our surprise when told that the water was off for maintenance. The Alexis can’t win for losing this trip. We were assigned room 425 which was very nice. We spent 5 hours in it all told.

Though we really do appreciate the shower in room 425, it works better when the water is on.

New room for you

The staff left a very nice amenity which there was no time to get into. Sadly, the water was not sparkly, though who knows it might have started out that way hours earlier.

Fancy

The bathroom is very spacious and awesome. Wish there were more time to use it properly.

Big giant tub with its own platform

Now that’s better Alexis. A glass shower!

All told this chunky visit to the Alexis deserves three showerheads on average. Plastic showers bring your final semester grade way down here at NPS university.

The quick answer is: there is no stay short enough to justify a plastic shower.

NPS set out to prove this aphorism at the truly style-free Renaissance hotel at LAX.

Renaissance is a Marriott property, so we of course made great use of our friend Mr. X who is a Lifetime Platinum Elite member. Mr. X books for us and NPS shoves all the points in his direction. This gets us superior rooms and concierge level hoo hah and whatnot at Marriotts. Sadly they are all still Marriotts.

The front lobby is in the middle of a massive renovation at the Renaissance at LAX. So that may be a good thing (but likely it just won’t matter). NPS was assigned a newly renovated suite (number 425) after much furious typing by the front desk staff on our very late arrival around midnight. If 425 is evidence of the style that is driving this renovation then NPS is worried.

You see, 425 looks like this. But looks (even marginal looks like this) can be deceiving. Super cheap, thin, veneer style is what we have on evidence here.

Like this crooked too big TV. WTF?

No. Not how to hang a TV. Why is there even one here?

The bed is comfortable, but the lights are so cheap a light wind would blow them over. Fortunately the windows do not open.

Comfy bed.

But what is this?

The windows overlook a glowing Burger King sign That pretty much says it all.

Yeah, no. This is not really a cool city view.

More sad, thin style evident in the sitting room.

Your mother in law called and she has some design ideas

There was a sad little plant on the desk wishing for some light. Flourescent bulbs should make it happier than they make the humans trapped in here.

And then there is the plastic shower bĂȘte noire—an actual plastic shower with an obesity bar.

no

no

no no no

Everything in the bathroom is very new, very clean and completely devoid of any taste.

no sense of style

Well anyway, the trip to LA was fantastic and the time in this hamster cage was short.

There was this wine thing with new friends.

Wine? Wine!

There was an old school whiskey bar.

And there was some sportsing with the boys.

So all told we would do it again in a second but we would get a real hotel without a shuttle bus and shlep to the airport from Santa Monica.

Speaking of the airport, this Virgin America meets Alaska thing is getting chunky. Remote gates? Wolfgang Puck bullshit? Overfull lounges gussied up in the ’70s? Uh oh. Where is my high style airline?

Let the record show that the Renaissance LAX barely rates two showerheads. Not going back ever. Nice people in a beige land devoid of style.

OK, strap in for some first world problems and whining. We’ll try to get it over with quick.

NPS exists because, well, no plastic showers. Kimpton usually fulfills that mission admirably and is NPS’s hotel group of choice by a country mile. But San Francisco suffered a massive property meltdown during the IHG acquisition, and its impact can be felt all the way to today. Bill Kimpton would not likely be pleased.

After a very long day of flying across the country and working into the evening on a challenging task, a nice dinner at Slanted Door followed by drinks at Hard Water was just what the doctor ordered on a rainy rainy night. Which means we arrived way late at the Buchanan (after midnight). More about that is a sec.

Hard Water was a blast. If you like bourbon and rye, you need to go there.

We concentrated on Rye, doing a Handy Rye comparison experiment with a Sazarac chaser. Awesome.

On arrival at the Buchanan, things started off OK. We were assigned a room, but it was not the one we explicitly requested. So we proceeded on up.

Which meant, a room with a plastic shower. What happened? Did the system fail? Did nobody bother to work this through? Yes.

811

811

After a brief and very disappointing entry into 811 we went down to see what could be done about it. That is when the Demarco demerits set in, about which we’ll write only that the situation later required management intervention. Someone needs some more training.

A crappy plastic shower in 811

A crappy plastic shower in 811

811 is just fine by Marriott standards, but it is not a room to shlep all the way to Japantown for. The shower is the worst kind of plastic shower. Shower curtains are our bane.

There was a nice amenity, sparkling water, an interesting view, and a note from GM Emily Glick. They knew we were coming, kinda. You see, it turns out that nobody put two and two together about NPS and this mystery inner circle member of 14 years. Dang. We appreciate the perqs, kimpton but all we really want is NO PLASTIC SHOWERS.

The shower was plastic.

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And it got worse. Very early in the morning when it came time to use the crappy plastic shower, the shower curtain was filthy. Just gross.

The nuclear option was pursued, and everything was discussed if not resolved. Thanks to the social media team, mike d, and email for making all of that possible. The room we wanted was (miraculously) free the next day, but there was no time to move stuff on this quick hop. And no we were not expecting any kind of upgrade. We’re happy to pay retail when on business. Flowers were involved, which was a very nice touch.

Thanks for the flowers.  Lets get this right next time.

Thanks for the flowers. Lets get this right next time.

Anyway, we can’t exactly cross the Buchanan off the list, because it is the best remaining Kimpton option in San Francisco. We’ll be back soon hoping that things run more smoothly.

Two showerheads, seven demarco demerits, and a trip to detention for the Buchanan. Thanks for working things out Emily, but lets just have nothing to work out next go ’round please.

Yes it rained. And then rained. Deluge. Downpour. So we moved the music inside and played all night anyway.

Music at Oopstock

Music at Oopstock

But then we were due in Wisconsin the next morning before noon! That meant leaving the party at 2am for a late night visit to the nearest airport’s suburban hotel chain. Ears ringing from electric music, off we went into the deluge.

Here is the disaster that is Manchester, NH Springhill Suites. Just. Do. Not. Go.

My travel buddy with endless platinum Marriott points procured our reservation and checked us in, so we got to participate in ultra elite status. Like check out this outstanding amenity!

Amenity? Or cheap bag of chips.

Amenity? Or cheap bag of chips.

And we got the best available room in the place, which was this desert of a design disaster.

20160814_002420

20160814_002413

Just super generic and gross.

Plastic shower! In a sealed room.  Obesity rod.

Plastic shower! In a sealed room. Obesity rod.

Yeah. No.

Yeah. No.

So anyway, we were there for less than three hours. The plan is to never have to do that again!

One showerhead for Springhill Suites writ large. No.

Are we spoiled at NPS? Why yes we are. We just got back from 20 days staying in one fantastic hotel after the other in London, Prague, Oslo, Paris, and back in London again. And we flew upper class on Virgin Atlantic. So yes, we are way f-ing spoiled.

And you know what? Annapolis sucks for hotels. You can choose old lady or you can choose chain (as witnessed below), but you can’t choose a B&B because they have an absurd two night limit. This town needs to scrap all existing hotels and start over. Kimpton, where are you?

So we find ourselves suffering from Prague-itis (just got some antibiotics for that) in the worst possible disaster of a situation for NPS.

Let the fun begin! As I am typing this at 9:34pm a wedding reception is going on downstairs. You can see it out of the window in the only superior suite on the property. In the atrium. In kind of a hyatt meets omni design disaster from the late ’70s.

Noise making room

Noise making room

The guys helping make the noise even have real things to bang on! The only saving grace is at least they are playing all classic rock. It’s like listening to FM radio.

They're nice now, but we will hate them later

They’re nice now, but we will hate them later

Room 241 is a “superior suite” in a “luxury” hotel. Neither term applies. Sorry guys, maybe in the ’70s.

Bedroom behind a divider

Bedroom behind a divider

Living area separated by the divider

Living area separated by the divider

Um, design of some sort?

Um, design of some sort?

Desk thing

Desk thing

Then there is the NPS coup de grace, the worst kind of shower over tub plastic shower with an obesity bar to boot. Just the worst. We hate these showers.

This is a classic plastic shower.  It sucks.

This is a classic plastic shower. It sucks.

Obesity bar for Trump supporters

Obesity bar for Trump supporters

Plasticized curtain

Plasticized curtain

Bathroom console

Bathroom console

But there are things even worse than the plastic shower in the baby blue bathroom.

What the hell? Empty mini bars sitting by the wall.

What the hell? Empty mini bars sitting by the wall.

Listen "luxury" hotel. People in "superior suites" should not pay $4 for water.

Listen “luxury” hotel. People in “superior suites” should not pay $4 for water.

A hole in the divider.  Nice.

A hole in the divider. Nice.

This mirror on the closet thing.  Brady bunch set?

This mirror on the closet thing. Brady bunch set?

So we will boogey on down to some bass and drums while the wedding people are still down there chirping or screaming or whatever it is they are doing. Yes, it is loud.

The thoughtful staff did send up a bottle of wine for us to drink ourselves to sleep with. LOL. That was nice. Thanks you guys.

Kind Wine

Kind Wine

But no, we have to stick with a very low two showerhead rating anyway and a fervent hope that there is a power failure in about 3 minutes that knocks out the wedding reception in the atrium. Hmmm.

Sunday brunch at Harry Browne’s was very good and involved mimosas.

Annapolis, you’re such a cute town. Get a real hotel. No really, just do it!

IMG_1970

As an appendix, we should state for the NPS record that management did what it could to remedy the situation we experienced in Annapolis. Good management makes a big difference.

As one small example, we needed some shirts pressed for a wedding and of course every single dry cleaner in the state capital of Maryland is closed on Sunday (including the one that the hotel outsources to). So management asked housekeeping to please press our shirts for us while we were talking to them about the other issues in this post. That was a far more creative solution than the front desk had come up with (which was more like, gee that’s a bummer). Adult supervision is a good thing.

Four cities in two days will do that to you.

Upgraded on one hop to Pittsburgh on United!!

Then a tiny ancient United puddle hopper to NYC (Mesa needs more new planes).

New York was gorgeous

Train to Connecticut from Penn Station bright and early

20160310_073735

Now leaving NY

Now leaving NY

Then it was on to the worst Hertz rental car of all time. Dirty, over milage, driven hard, shimmy. Just crap. You can really suck Hertz!

This Hertz car sucks

This Hertz car sucks