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Two years ago, we experienced some four showerhead luxury on Amelia Island off the coast of Florida. We’re back for another corporate event (the BSIMM Community Conference), once again with no spare time.

This time United upgraded both legs in and out. Global Services privileges are a good thing.

Great news about the Ritz-Carlton is that they’ve added a much better bar since we were here last. Better selection, and more importantly, bartenders who know what they’re doing.

Sadly, NPS was demoted from 832 (the huge Presidential Suite) to 432 for this visit. The 2018 room had a nice ocean balcony and was a very nice room in its own right. It just was not palacial.

432 has a long double balcony overlooking the Atlantic

Bedroom

Sitting room

Like last time, we were greeted on arrival on the property (in the hotel car service) by the staff. Really fun! Champagne and treats. Woo hoo!

Honey from the very local hives

Goodies included a cocktail book and a jigger made of salt

Sparkling water because someone pays attention

The 432 suite has two bathrooms.

Entrance hallway with a small bathroom

The bathroom itself is nicely appointed. Showers are not plastic.

The anteway entrance to the main bathroom has plenty of room

This is very likely the last Amelia Island corporate visit for NPS. Four showerheads again, and kudos for the bar upgrade. If you are into the luxurious big giant conference hotel thing, this is a strong iteration.

Lets tip our NPS hat to the people in marketing, shall we? We’re running a conference for a couple of hundred senior people down in Florida. So Amelia Island it is, and the Ritz-Carlton at that. Anyway, how does this property rate? Off the charts.

Room 832

Room 832

United pulled a ridiculous head fake on the way down: You’re upgraded. Oh, sorry, nevermind. Oh no wait, you ARE upgraded but now there is no room for your suitcase since you’re already seated in the back. In the end the trip was great and NPS appreciates the upgrade. Nice try united! Lets do it again and get it all right next time!!

The hotel provided car service at the airport, and our driver was superlative. He took a shortcut that saved us 20 minutes getting on the island. There was some evidence of hurricane damage on the sides of the road coming in. This island dodged a bullet when hurricane Matthew stayed off shore just two weeks ago.

We were greeted by name at the door with some champagne (which we sadly had to skip), and whisked up to 832 by gregarious staff. Outstanding greeting.

And the amenity shows that someone has been doing their homework. Cocktail? Yep. Sparking water? Yep. Hand written note? Yep. It’s all here and all awesome.

Pirate Loot (chocolate treasure, a cocktail, and sparkling water).

Pirate Loot (chocolate treasure, a cocktail, and sparkling water).

832 is nothing short of palacial. A gorgeous room with an incredible view of the ocean from its five balconies.

The suite has two main sections and 5 rooms.

Living area off the bedroom

Living area off the bedroom

832 bedroom

832 bedroom

Dining area

Dining area

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Of course, we’re here for the showers. This non-plastic shower is also off the charts. Multiple shower heads and a bench? OK then.

Shower in the bathroom suite (itself several rooms)

Shower in the bathroom suite (itself several rooms)

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The bar situation here is not good, which in 2016 is just plain sad. Sure, you can get some scotch if you try hard enough. But no bourbon to speak of. And if you order a proper cocktail (say, something like a sazarac) you will be sorely disappointed. Ever had a cocktail served hot in a glass straight from the dishwasher? How about a sazarac made with angostura? Yeah no.

Time to invest in some people who actually know what they’re doing Marriott. In the meantime, stick with the Mt Gay Extra Old rum (in a glass that has cooled off).

Four showerheads and a sincere wish for some more free time and a real bar for the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island. Gorgeous property run by hospitality experts.

If you are a careful reader of noplasticshowers, you may recall the very first blog entry ever (October 21, 2009). Way back when! What were we whining about then? A Marriott property foist on us by the Kilbourne. You see, some people will do most anything for points. Some people, but not us some people.

Here at the Ritz Carlton you might expect a glass shower, right? Like the ones in Charlotte. Sadly, Atlanta appears to be a hotel desert. And as such, even the Ritz (the Ritz!!) has plastic showers. Alas.

I do not like plastic showers. Really.

A good start in the tiny bathroom, but is that a plastic shower?!

A good start in the tiny bathroom, but is that a plastic shower?!

Queue YES Close to the Edge (yeah I know the title referenced Rush, what can I say?!)

I get up.

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I get down.

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Ah the high life in a high end hamster cage.

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Never fear, there is an amenity that arrived as this diatribe was under construction. Did I say hamster? Eat up little hamster.

All your bar foods are come in BIG BIG bag.  With coke.

All your bar foods are come in BIG BIG bag. With coke.

Of course, Atlanta is a big city and there are plenty of great places to go. Dinner at South City Kitchen was relaxed and very nice with a supremely delicious pork BBQ appetizer. Drinks at 4th and Swift were surprisingly well-crafted by Gabriel. The only fly in the ointment is that Gabriel needs to relax about recipes and understand that every great drink will survive on its own in the light of day. Gabriel was fun at first, and then just plain green.

We concocted a Berryville Passage with Batavia Arrack (which I still need to procure for my bar), some homemade black walnut bitters, and an overly-smokey scotch. The new recipe is called the Peachtree Passage:
1.5 Batavia Arrack
.5 Dolin’s sweet vermouth
.5 Dolin’s dry vermouth
.5 Yellow Chartreuse
1 dash House Black Walnut bitters from 4th and Swift
1 dash Angustora

Wash a cocktail glass with smokey scotch. Shake. Flame a lemon peel over the drink. Drop in peel.

The next day started out right with a quick trip to dancing goats coffee (which would even meet jS criteria) on the way to Krispy Kreme!

The ultimate doughnut.

The ultimate doughnut.

No calories whatsoever.

No calories whatsoever.

The famous hot doughnuts now sign is on and the factory is running.

Proof that the cigital offices actually exist!

Cigital Atlanta

Cigital Atlanta

Night two was even better than the first with a superb dinner at Ecco where they have outstanding charcuterie and a great winelist. After dinner we went to Seven Lamps for the best mixology in Atlanta. Master barman Kevin Bragg created a trio of outstanding drinks, including this experimental beverage which we will call the Georgia Liberal:
2 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
.5 Punt et mes
.5 Kronan Swedish Punsch
.5 Amaro Cio Ciaro
1 dash hopped grapefruit bitters
orange peel

We will leave the Ritz in Atlanta with three showerheads, despair that Atlanta just can’t rise to the occasion, and this snippet of YES.

Down at the edge, close by a river.
Close to the edge, round by the corner.
Close to the end, down by the corner.
Down at the edge, round by the river.

Gorgeous ceiling in the Biltmore ballroom.

Gorgeous ceiling in the Biltmore ballroom.