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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).

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

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After a salubrious summer respite from travel, it’s back on the road in a serious way come mid-September. This is good and it’s bad. Let me explain:

1. Washington, DC = GOOD because Kimpton (The Donovan)

2. Boston = BAD because United; GOOD because Kimpton (Hotel Marlowe)

3. Bloomington, Indiana = BAD because United; GOOD because Grant Street Inn

4. NY = BAD because United; GOOD because Kimpton (The Muse)

5. Chicago = BAD because United; GOOD because Kimpton (Palomar)

6. Palo Alto = GOOD because Virgin America; ??? because new hotel

7. Seattle = GOOD because Virgin America; GOOD because Kimpton (Alexis)

8. Pittsburgh = BAD because United; GOOD because Kimpton (Monaco)

9. Denver = BAD because United; ??? because new hotel

10. Las Vegas = BAD because United; BAD because Las Vegas just sucks

11. Hartford = BAD because United; ??? because new hotel

Anyway, we can conclude that flying United is unavoidable when you are stuck flying out of Dulles. Too bad United just sucks. At least the cross country flights are mostly with Virgin America!

We can further conclude that Kimpton is a fantastic hotel chain.

And finally we can conclude that Las Vegas is a living hell, equal parts Disney, porn, and Walmart shoppers.

At each destination, we’ll seek out great cocktails and fantastic food.

Follow along as we blog up the 11 trips. Should be fun.

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.

This visit to the Monaco in Alexandria (across the river from Washington) was designed to perfection by GM Matt Hurlburt. Everything was all set before arrival. Even traffic in northern Virginia cooperated. Kimpton Karma. Hopefully not the last of it. (Now that IHG has bought the chain we will keep our fingers crossed that inner circle goodness persists. IHG also owns Holiday Inn Express??!!)

Room 403 is a nice suite with a great glass shower. A liquid amenity was just what the doctor ordered. Personal note, fancy cocktail, fruit and cheese (featuring apricots) and a bourbon flight for late night. Excellent.

Welcome to Monaco 403

Welcome to Monaco 403

The Virginia Gentleman made a great evening cocktail before the Leukemia Cup party at Port City Brewery.

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Then it was off to the Leukemia Cup event where we were surprised to learn that Team Tartan was the 3rd biggest fundraiser in the nation in 2014! Thanks to all of our supporters, including the Hotel Marlowe staff.

A quick drive back to the Marlowe got us there just in time to meet Matt for a drink. We decided to go to Society Fair and meet the czarina of the eat good food group twitterz, Vina Sananikone. She turns out to be a video artist as well.

Matt and I had a Wine and Whiskey designed by Todd Thrasher and implemented by Justin Owens. It’s a great beverage, but complicated to make:
Base
Sauternes
Orange Peel
Cardamom Pods
Star Anise
Cloves
All spice
Cinnamon
Honey
Crush and toast spices. Simmer 30 minutes. Strain

2oz base
1 oz bourbon (four roses)
1 oz canadian whiskey
dash orange bitters

This one was a bit too sweet for my palate. Would skip the honey and maybe add some heat to the spices. But a nice cocktail all told.

After a cocktail and some time with Matt (a great guy), we headed over to Restaurant Eve where we opted for the Thai/Philippines inspired tasting menu. Delicious and absolutely packed with flavor. The first course was incredible. A delightful departure from Eve’s solid fare. Go chef go!

Then it was back to the Monaco for a late night bourbon taste.

Bourbon flight

Bourbon flight

And a dip in the tub?! That’s right. First time ever in the big Kimpton bathtub.

Bathtub with actual hot water, bourbon and a book

Bathtub with actual hot water, bourbon and a book

403 bedroom

403 bedroom

403 sitting room

403 sitting room

403 sitting room

403 sitting room

this shower is not plastic

this shower is not plastic

Anyway, five showerheads and a tub full of steam for the Hotel Monaco. Everything a quick visit could be! No fly noël can still include car based travel, and to great effect.