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NPS has accumulated lots of great memories at the Georgian Hotel in Santa Monica over the years, including the romantic, slightly-buzzed Italian singing love songs (in Italian of course) and crying about his ex-wife. And if you read this blog, you know that NPS is nothing if not a creature of habit. So we’re here again, and we’re pleased to report that a major renovation has the place all spruced up.

A new bar. A better lobby. New elevators. Shiny new look. Better furniture in the rooms. Well done!

About the only thing left behind is the showers. This is an unwelcome (non) development.

After a slightly-delayed checkin involving lunch at Lazy Daisy Cafe and a Negroni (from 11:30 to 3:00), we were shown to room 803. This ocean view suite on the top floor is very likely the best room in the hotel. The room has beautiful views, many windows, and lots of light.

View from 803

803 is a good place to be in Santa Monica

Old school touches remain on the property, like these “peep holes” directly out of the ’20s.

Who is it?

Sitting room 803

Furniture upgraded. Could use some leather up here.

The room layout has interesting angles and does pretty much all it can to avoid the “adapted hamster cage” architecture of most hotels. This is much appreciated.

architecture

803 bedroom

The bathroom could use some attention, however. Time for a shower upgrade. The current shower is a study in “not approved by NPS.”

nope nope nope

Lazy Daisy is a good place for lunch.

Dinner in the mountains at Saddle Peak Lodge is also old school. Dead animals hand from the walls. There are pistols in frames. Fire. And lots of game on the menu. NPS approved. A taste of Canada in California.

More soon from the upcoming wine luncheon at Little Sister (we’re just here for fun this trip).

Four showerheads and a sincere wish for a shower upgrade at the Georgian Hotel. Apparently they are making money around here, so lets drag the bathrooms into this millennium!

fin

Wine luncheon one was so much fun that even in a month of intense travel (three countries and 7 cities so far this May), NPS just had to attend edition two.

A great time was had by all. Our gracious and knowledgeable host was the owner of Bistro 45. The food was as outstanding as the wine and included Mexican shrimp, dry scallops, organic beets, and waygu beef.

Arrival

The supply grows and pairing planning begins

Wine range

Bistro 45 is highly recommended

The crew

The kitchen crew minus chef

Cigars and cognac spontaneously appeared after lunch.

Someone is having fun!

I know, lets do it again!

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.

Wine

Wine

New friends, great wine, excellent food, great conversation—donnie, you sure know how to do it!

Lets start things off with a Negroni

Lets start things off with a Negroni

We convened slightly off the beaten path on a flooded, rainy day at Officine Brera in LA.

Convocation

Convocation

Tasting two

Tasting two

Everyone brought a bottle to contribute and describe. Probably the most interesting was a 17 year old bottle from China.

A flyer from Trentino-Alto Altige (Grenache, Syrah, Teroldego)

A flyer from Trentino-Alto Altige (Grenache, Syrah, Teroldego)

The food was just as good as the wine.

Cinghiale

Cinghiale

The menu

The menu

Chaos

Chaos

Delightful. Lets do it again.