HotelCrush: a vehement, furious, downright pathological appreciation for hotel design and culture


We love hotels. We love room service. We love poolside cocktails. There is nothing more decadent than a trip to a hotel, the epicenter of our social circles and respite from our daily life. They are destinations in themselves, with the acumen of the location converged in the design and the sensibilities of its inhabitants. Hotels are daydreams made real, with amenities at your fingertips and a dip in the water just steps away. More than temporary homes, today's hotels aspire to be just like home - whatever home it is that you are looking for.

Lip Balm Is a Food Group

11/30/11: bliss, yummy

It goes without saying by this point that we've tried a good 50% of the Bliss product line, from the disturbingly lush Blood Orange & White Pepper body scrub to the glossy, moisturizing Youth As We Know It cream.  But two products have powered us through November, assisted by the requisite water and oxygen. 

Bliss Problem Salved 20-in-1 Wonder Balm:  There is nothing glamorous about a chapped, runny nose, save the minty tingle after applying this amazing balm.  Meant for everywhere except the lips, this nose chapstick (and prescription vitamin D supplements) invigorated our pale, vampiric physiology and snapped us out of a seasonal cold without the red-nosed, bloodshot, party-hangover-like aftermath.

Bliss Fabulips Lip Balm:  Is it possible to go through a tube of lip balm in two weeks?  Yes, it is.  Or at least, we're 3/4 of the way through it and we're just shy a half-week.  This is possibly the most addictive, enslaving product Bliss has released to date.  The buttery, faintly coconut-scented texture glides effortlessly across the lips, resting protectively between you and the elements attacking you (ie the harsh, 60-degree weather).  We would say that this product is not for the sensory-addicted, but it totally is for the sensory-addicted, and we've just ordered another three tubes to carry us through, you know, January. 


Mother Daughter Spa Day

12/6/11: bliss, spaaah

We at HotelCrush are deeply opinionated, but we're also about objectivity – and fairness.  After last spring's fabulous Father/Daughter Spa Day, it was just a matter of time before we pulled together something equally fabulous for Mom.  Our proprietor of choice was Bliss Spa Hollywood, the only Bliss to serve champagne, and therefore the BEST Bliss.  Drai's rooftop lounge was closed for lunch, so we found a sunny table outside at Delphine and dug into bistro fare (a salad for her, a Croque for us).  Of course a party isn't complete without party favors, so we handed her a Bliss bag of our faves: Lemon and Sage body butter, High Intensity hand cream, and Glamour Gloves ("Ooh! those gloves that I use after putting hand cream on??  Oh I SO need these...") 

And then it was off to the spa.  We've road-tested the Triple Oxygen Treatment, Fully Loaded Facial, and Elemis Tri-Enzyme Facial, but wanted to do something luxe and patently Bliss for mom.  We booked her into the Youth As We Know It Facial, a nourishing anti-aging fog of collagen and relaxation, while we opted for our standard Blissage75, a 75-minute knot-tamer fortified with a paraffin foot pack and a full-on hemorrhage of Blood Orange & White Pepper body butter. It was her first time in the spa portion of Bliss, so we were excited to introduce her to the decadent backstage.  "The brownies are absolutely drop dead," we warned, pillaging two at a time.  Settling into the comfortable couch, we chatted over sips of bubbly, wished each other well, and plunged vehemently into the last perfect hour of rev and renewal.


Bliss Hollywood, can we move in?

10/4/11: bliss spa, spaaah

We've mentioned before that we are blisteringly DIY about some things (manicures, lemonade, VIP birthday cakes) but there is one thing we absolutely cannot do for ourself: a massage.

And for that we go to Moeul.

We discovered Moeul last spring on a day when the knots in our back and neck were so tight that it was reminiscent of a car accident injury, and, again having one of those weeks, we booked in for a reset. With the enthusiasm of an aesthetician performing extractions ("got one!"), Moeul defeated the knots between our shoulder blades with deep Shiatsu and Swedish massage, rewarding our muscles with an application of cooling peppermint oil.

We don't get massages for relaxation, so the balance of our Blissage was active (and sometimes downright forceful). But the reward is a month knot-free, until the ravages of our punishing desk chair converge on that spot in the middle of our back...

The Sitting Room in the Ladies Locker Room at Bliss Spa Hollywood (those missing brownies were ours...):

photo of the waiting area in the ladies locker room at bliss spa hollywood

The Sitting Area and Lockers in the Ladies Locker Room at Bliss Spa Hollywood:

photo of the waiting area and locker changing room in the ladies locker room at bliss spa hollywood

The Sitting Area and Vanity/Sink Station:

photo of the sink area at bliss spa hollywoodphoto of the sink area and round mirrors at bliss spa hollywood

The Steam Showers (Left) Sauna Area (Right) and Locker Room Amenities at Bliss Spa Hollywood:

photo of the steam shower and sauna area at bliss spa hollywood photo of the ladies locker room amenities at bliss spa hollywood


Control Freak or In Control?

9/8/11: bliss, spaaah, yummy

Don't get us wrong, we at HotelCrush love to delegate like the best of them. (Dress hems? Tailor. Driving? Taxi. Cooking? Well...usually take-out.) But there are certain things when absolutely nothing else will do, and that's when we take matters into our own hands.

  • Beauty Treatments: We love the spa, but for moments when we really want to brighten up, we head into the shower with a tub of Bliss's Blood Orange + White Pepper Sugar Scrub. Exhilaratingly scented and dense with the exfoliating natural alpha hydroxy acids found in sugar cane, we emerge with a new layer of skin, moisturized and back in the game.
  • Manicures: We've met women who swear by their weekly manicures, but we can't say we've seen the light. Aside from being pricey, a regular manicure degrades quickly and a gel manicure runs at least $10-$15 more. Taking matters into our own hands, we purchased a Thermal Spa professional UV lamp, an Opi Axxium starter kit, and CND Shellac nail colors. We have the methodology refined from years of doing our own nails, with a couple of salon gel manicures to learn from the pros. We're relieved to not be at the whim of the salon's color selection (a little too ballet pink for our Vendetta taste), nor do we have that disappointing feeling of "My nail is peeling and it's only been four days." But the best part? We're able to prep our hands with sunblock before plunging them into the mini tanning booth of the UV nail lamp, something we've never seen at a salon.
  • Birthday Cakes: Though we admit to weekly Magnolia trips when we lived in New York ten years ago, with the cupcake, bundt cake, red velvet craze being what it is, we're relieved to escape such a competitive sport. We don't need a lot of birthday cake fuss for our birthday, but when it comes to others, we love to do something homemade. Whether it's five-dozen mini vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting or a chocolate layer cake from scratch, it says "you're the best" like nothing else.
  • Lemonade: This one is very dear to us. We love fresh lemonade as much as we hate the bottled kind (it's as polarizing as the Coke/Pepsi war). So we are jumping-off-the-couch excited for the lemon tree that will soon be growing in the completely renovated backyard. We're excited for all of the fresh lemonade, lemonade carbonated with SodaStream, lemonade with vodka, lemonade with strawberries that we can take. Now if we could just get a hold of our sugar intake..


Bliss Hollywood

7/04/11: hollywood, bliss, spaaah

Happy 4th of July! Oh my. The brownies, the champagne, the smell of blood orange + white pepper. . . and a luxuriously satiating Elemis Tri-Enzyme Facial from our favorite Hollywood spa. This 60-minute resurfacing treatment brutalizes dead skin cells and restores hydration. The two peels were so swift and results-oriented that we could see a difference right after and overall improvement in skin clarity for nearly two weeks. A side benefit of this facial? The wonderful aromas of Elemis's famed skincare line, with enough ginger and mint to revive the laziest of holiday afternoons.


It's Monday Night

6/27/11: bliss, spaaah

...latest crush is the Blood Orange + White Pepper body scrub and body butter from our friends at Bliss. What had started as a spa party favor this spring has turned into a tumultuous, raging Blood Orange habit we can't pry ourselves from. Each evening the tasks (like shaving) that we stave off until the last possible nude photoshoot moment have become a bloody orange treat. So at this particular juncture in the week we're settling in to a jacuzzi bath in the double tub, a glass of champagne from our haul of Mumm 187mL, and a satisfying lather of blood orange sugar scrub. Now maybe we'll just have that lick...


Father Daughter Spa Day

4/14/11: hollywood, bliss, spaaah

There is nothing more luxurious than a day wholly to yourself in the middle of the week. So when we made plans with our father on his vacation day off, we texted that morning, "Standby, making plans. Text you in an hour." Of course we were up to no good. After railroading through a cancellation in the Bliss roster, we texted: "Putting you in a Blissage 3pm. Am scheduled for a Triple Oxygen Facial 3:15".

So father/daughter spa day was on, and we made plans for lunch at the rooftop pool prior. Absolutely nuts over the ceviche in the hotel restaurant, we opted for the ceviche tacos and a Sauv Blanc (indulgence day, remember?) while Dad chose the fish tacos and a Chardonnay. It was a sunny, warm day and the views breezed for miles. "This is so nice," he said. We agreed. We live in the same city, separated by the gulf of two freeways and a ferocious amount of street congestion. But that's hardly an excuse.

Lunch was a fast, leisurely two hours, and then we blew in to Bliss. "Checking in," we said, introducing our father. "Let's get you flip-flops!" they offered, ushering him backstage. We asked if they might offer him some Youth samples, then headed to the locker room to grab a quick steam shower and sip a glass of their complimentary champagne. Our facial was soothing, leaning on the Porefector gadget for extractions, an oxygen peel, and a blast of pure oxygen from which we kept stealing small huffs.

We met in the hotel lobby, fresh-faced and tension-free. "Thank you sweetie! I feel great." "Did they offer you champagne?" we asked, the concerned host. "I did!" he laughed. "I didn't have time to drink it before so I saved it in my locker for after." (Ahh, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree...) And we walked outside for the short drive home, promising to see each other soon, promising that we would do this again sometime. And certain we would.


The Massage of Our Life

4/05/11: hollywood, bliss, spaaah

There's good, and there's heart-racing, chest-pounding, toe-tingling FABULOUS. We were back at our favorite Bliss spa for a drop-in massage (can't seem to plan ahead) and landed a 3pm with Moeul. He introduced himself enthusiastically and, legally blind, led us to the room with the use of his white cane. We guided him to Naked, our body butter of choice, and settled in for the tension-taming of our life. Moeul had a sixth sense for the knots in our neck and the tightness in our back, and through a miasma of Thai, Shiatsu, and Swedish techniques, we emerged a brighter and infinitely more balanced being. There are some knots you just can't get yourself, and it's those for which we're ever devoted to a humble and profound master named Moeul.

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