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Yes, we know the governor of Indiana is a jackass. And as a serious participant in the Indiana business community, my company is not happy with the exclusionary stupid laws recently enacted. But it’s not like we can just pull up stakes and leave. So we sometimes have to go to Indy.

Last trip out, NPS gave the Alexander a shot with mixed results. This time, we found a better room (3044) and had a much better shower. Much less hamster cage. Much more bathroom kung fu. If we find a higher floor version, we will have what we actually want. Oh, and about that morning newspaper…

3044 has style at the Alexander

3044 has style at the Alexander

3044 bathroom console (includes unused TV)

3044 bathroom console (includes unused TV)

Bathub AND large glass shower cube

Bathub AND large glass shower cube

Not only was the shower glass, it had great shower pressure and plenty of hot water. YES!

Hallway

Hallway

Homage to the American TV

Homage to the American TV

I was so beat when I got to the Alexander, that I did not even go to the fabulous bar for a night cap. Slept like a log. Maybe next time.

Four shower heads for the Alexander. So much better than the awful Conrad!

In other Indianapolis news, other than a stupid jackass governor, the Libertine has moved to new fancier and hipper digs. Still the same great cocktails though.

Arriving too early for the event and just in time to squeeze in a cocktail, my companion and I were served by Benjamin Moran. After the event, three hours later, we returned for more. Here is the as yet un-named Libertine Experiment One:
2 oz Ford’s Gin
.5 Cocchi Torino
.5 Gran classico
.25 Dry curaƧao
1 dash angostura
2 droppers scorpion grapefruit tincture (in house)
Stir down. Big rock. Grapefruit peel garnish for nose.

The Libertine Experiment One by Benjamin Moran

The Libertine Experiment One by Benjamin Moran

Benjamin was nice enough to make this for me even though his shift was over. But not to fear, Colin Lime was in the house to take over. Colin made us an Indiana Diamondback:
2 oz Bonesnapper Rye (local)
.75 Green Chartruese
.5 Demerara syrup (1:1)
2 dashes Angostura
3 dashes lemon bitters
shake. serve over big rock. lemon peel garnish.

Then it was back to Bloomington and the Grant Street Inn, but not before stopping in at the Irish Lion again for a Sazarac with Hendry.

The noplasticshowers verdict on the Conrad finally reached its tipping point during the last visit (ten thumbs down). But we need to stay in Indy at least once a year, and we need a place to stay!

Our first experience at The Alexander, a fairly new hotel near Monument Circle (and right across the street from Lilly), was a mixed bag. So close! And yet not quite where it needs to be. So much better than the Conrad; but so not at the level of a Kimpton.

A litany of small nits and nots: 1) housekeeping knocked on my door at 8:12am to see if I was gone (the computer probably knows and I was just stepping out of the shower), 2) no morning newspaper? (not even USA Today?!—just a joke), 3) the shower pressure is poor (and you know how we feel about showers), 4) management came to see about a delay during checkin and did not solve the problem?! (managers who simply go to get more staff need to roll up their sleeves and do some work), 5) the gestalt of the building has more in common with suburban mall fake hipster than real art (not as bad as this indigo mess, this Florida mess, or this thing in Norway, but approaching it), 6) the password for the front desk system was divulged live and out loud and joked about (hey, that computer knows my credit card number, that is not a joke).

Beyond the level of nit is the standard issue hamster cage architecture. I was assigned room 6041 which other than being way way way down the hall from the elevators is exactly the same as all of the other rooms. Better than a Marriott hamster cage, but only by reference to surface style stuff! Yuck. Looks like better rooms to ask about might be 6001 (big suite), 6045 (corner facing right way) and 6044 (corner facing wrong way).

Here is 6041 (and all the rest of the 42 numbers not yet covered).

6041 hamster cage

6041 hamster cage

That's pretty much the sum of it.

That’s pretty much the sum of it.

There are some very nice touches though. Power on the bedsides (and USB too). Euro power adapters on the desk with HDMI, serial, USB, etc. Super good free wifi.

Of course wifi is free.  But that is rare in Indy.

Of course wifi is free. But that is rare in Indy.

The bathroom situation is uncluttered, but not very glam. Fixtures too cheap and water pressure too low. This may not be fixable in the model.

IMG_1043

Nice big glass shower, but the water dribbles out of the spout by gravity alone.

Nice big glass shower, but the water dribbles out of the spout by gravity alone.

One of the many style touches has a bit too much Marriott for my tastes.

Good?  Bad?  We can't tell.

Good? Bad? We can’t tell.

The best and most surprising part of The Alexander is its superior bar Plat 99. Though we don’t really dig the architecture at all, the drinks are fantastic. Watch out Kimpton, these guys are coming on strong! I was served by DC barman William Mohring who was willing to play and had a nice body of knowledge. He served me this:
The (Indianapolis) Diplomat
1 oz bulleit bourbon
1 oz bonal
1 oz black seal rum
.17oz all spice dram
[2 drops white creme de menthe]
stir down, serve over rocks with 2 luxardo cherries

Impressive back bar at Plat99

Impressive back bar at Plat99

As a final verdict, The Alexander seems to be the only place to stay in Indianapolis that we can tell anyway. But in the end this hotel is only a high three showerheads place at most. Maybe some of the nits and nots can be eradicated (hopefully they are not too entrenched in the Dolce model). We look forward to finding out.