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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

The Carlyle in DC

November 23, 2015

We’re back at a Kimpton, and you know how you can tell? Warm greetings by super friendly front desk staff on a cold day, an amenity that includes a cocktail and some charcuterie, and personal notes. All is well in Karma-land. (It does help to have Steph pulling strings and Thomas Fraher on the case.)

Amenity with a manhatten from the Riggsby

Amenity with a manhatten from the Riggsby

We were psyched to try the Carlyle, one of the newest additions to the Kimpton in DC family. DC is a big city and the Kimpton properties reflect that from the upscale George and Palomar, to the more modest Donovan and Carlyle with the quirky Helix somewhere in between. The Carlyle has the added benefit of being close to Dupont Circle.

We’re way spoiled, so you know which end of the food chain we like. But we also like trying new things! We especially like to try new things when we’re one smidgen from our inner circle status. The plan is for this visit to eek us over the finish line.

722

722

We’re in room 722 which is one of the King rooms with a hilarious little kitchenette. We won’t be boiling any hot dogs this trip, but you never know. DC has a fine restaurant scene these days.

Will we be cooking in DC?  Hells no.

Will we be cooking in DC? Hells no.

722 desk and glass door to the bathroom

722 desk and glass door to the bathroom

Lil blue couch

Lil blue couch

Open the bathroom door

Open the bathroom door

The diminutive bathroom has a glass shower, so that's good

The diminutive bathroom has a glass shower, so that’s good

Anyway, this is a nice little pod for a quick business trip into the city. For a weekend away, I would move up the Kimpton foodchain to something more fancy pants.

Speaking of food, Fiola Mare on the Potomac less than two miles from the Carlyle is very good indeed. Italian seafood with excellent old school cuisine and a great atmosphere. Our table with a view was very nice indeed as was the Napolitano waiter. Salute!

We started and ended the evening at the Riggsby. Devilled eggs and jalapeño tots with a Vieux Carré were a perfect beginning. Returning after dinner we had some hot tea and a Fernet or two.

All around, an excellent evening. Now if only that overzealous housekeeper did not try to clean the room at 9am!

We rate the Carlyle four out of five showerheads. Above average and well worth a visit.

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.

Leave it to my friend Stephane Vogel to arrange for the presidential suite! My first stay at Hotel George (a Kimpton hotel) was super fantastic. And the shower is simply not to be beat.

Room 801 (the presidential suite) at Hotel George

Room 801 (the presidential suite) at Hotel George

After a warm greeting by Blair at the front desk, I headed up to 801 where I was greeted with: note, wine, cheese, and sparkling water. A superb welcome. Thanks Steph, for the hospitality and the room! This is Kimpton Karma in action.

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801 bedroom at Hotel George

801 bedroom at Hotel George

The bathroom is fantastic.

Best shower in DC.

Best shower in DC.

A glass shower with a view.  And a bench!  NPS is in love.

A glass shower with a view. And a bench! NPS is in love.

Five showerheads and a free lunch for the George and its staff!

Dinner at Proof was good. Proof has a reasonable bar program and a great wine list. After dinner we somehow got trapped at the Bistro Bis bar which though not owned by Kimpton is associated with the George by reference of being attached to it. Ouch.

Among other cocktails and before absinthe hour, barman Ed Jenks created an experimental Essay #3
2 oz Laird 7.5 yr apple brandy
.5 oz Leizzaroni Amaretto
.5 oz malmsey madeira
.5 oz sour mix (fresh)
.5 oz chilli honey syrup
dash angostura
Stir. Strain. Serve with lemon twist. (In general, too much going on with this drink. Still needs work.)

Steph and I had a delicious lunch at Bistrot Bis next day after my talk. It’s always fun to catch up and learn more about the hospitality business.

Manet at the cusp of impressionism and the academy.

Manet at the cusp of impressionism and the academy.

The afternoon yielded some time to a visit to the National Art Gallery with Richard. An afternoon of art and discussion is just what the doctor ordered in late August.

As early evening rain fell, we made another fantastic visit to the incomparable Columbia Room where mel mixed some excellent drinks including the Leap Year Cocktail
2 oz plymouth gin
.5 oz sweet vermouth (cocci)
.5 oz royal combier
.25 oz lemon juice
shake. strain. garnish with lemon peel.

Dinner and bad bluegrass at Argonaut rounded out the visit.

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