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.
It goes without saying that we love the hotel lounge. Whether it's in our home city or far abroad, the hotel lounge is a respite from the mundane and a welcome perk of geographic proximity. Here's where you'll find us across the country:
XYZ Lounge - W San Francisco. The lobby lounge of the W SF is as comfortable as they come, with an expansive gas fireplace and yummy menu of small plates (we love the chicken sandwich and tuna tartare). Always temperate despite the SF chill, the lobby also offers complimentary hot chocolate to warm the hands and temperaments of guests.
St. Regis - San Francisco. We love love love this cavernous lobby bar, with a modern and slightly Asiatic sensibility. From the fresh seasonal flowers to the towering Christmas tree and sparkling lights, the lobby provides the perfect setting for the beginning of the night or the end. One of the few bars in town with top-notch bar snacks, we're addicted to the cheese puffs, a light and delicious crisp of Parmesan and cheddar.
Chateau Marmont - Los Angeles. Quiet, subdued, but buzzing with moments of rogue glamour. This is Hollywood the way Hollywoodland intended, bright enough for an afternoon lunch but dark enough for secrets.
Olives - W Union Square New York. Slide in here the way you would your own living room or the library at your old college. We love the central location perched in Union Square (up, right), close enough to the train to work as a meeting point for friends but far enough from the vendors selling organic honey sticks. Order liberally from the appetizers menu – we assure satisfaction.
Mandarin Oriental - London. Tthe Mandarin Oriental is like having a well-situated friend in Knightsbridge across the street from Harvey Nichols. With comfortable club chair seating and a decadent "see and be seen" central bar, it fulfills the HotelCrush quotas for style and relaxation. Voted Best Hotel Bar by Time Out London, it garners our praise for its perfect Ketel One martinis and its crisp barbeque potato chips, deliciously refilled again and again.
9/20/11: hotelcrush, yummy
Nothing shouts "summer!" like a glass of fresh-squeezed lemonade on a sunny afternoon. And it must be fresh, nothing is worse than a dribble of synthetic preservative-laden lemon syrup stirred into room temperature tap water.
With the jacuzzi construction underway and visions of poolside afternoons reading our Kindle, we stirred up a pitcher of caustic, minimally diluted lemon juice, with a slim cut of sugar. Here's how we do it:
Serves 3. Or in our case, plenty to taste test and serve over ice for the fabulous construction crew.
9/15/11: hotelcrush, w hotel
We love the anonymity of hotels, the perfectly piqued generic atmosphere, a buzz of locals and people passing through. Nowhere is this climate more poignant than at the W (any of them), a brand that floats effortlessly on whatever city it anchors. Our first W was Union Square New York, with its corner lounge sanctuary from the protests and flash mobs punctuating Union Square. We passed hours with friends over martinis and thin crust pizza before breezing downtown, hanging on the scent of the lobby.
Our next W was Los Angeles, swollen with house music and the airy crowd at French Tuesday. We weaved through the lounge beds on the patio, balancing a clutch and a glass of champagne, dancing every beat. We forgot we were in Westwood, in Los Angeles, in America. Cloaked in a trail of L'Artisan Parfumeur and the fizz of Laurent Perrier we were (our young mind insisted) almost French.
And we landed at the W San Francisco. Comprehensively urban and as anonymous as an airport, it was thrillingly easy to forget which city we were in, which year. When we moved back to LA it was the W San Francisco we'd make our temporary base, testing everything from the hot chocolate (delicious!) to the spa (every bit Blissful), to the stock of pink champagne and half of the room service menu.
But the best part? The opening of a W in Hollywood, so close we could zipline in.
Our very own W.
As we plummet into September with the verve of a CEO ("Get ahead of the trend before it gets ahead of you"), we give a parting nod to Summer 2011, a summer that wasn't too hot or too cold, but just right:
and lots and lots of refreshing, tart, delicious lemonade...
8/28/11: in the air, hotelcrush
Traveling can be a slow, planned out, highly organized affair. It might involve an itinerary - "3 days in Paris, 4 days in Italy, 3 days in London" and a roster of flights and transfers meticulously pre-planned.
Or, it can be an all-out runaround.
Our last trip to London went something like this. Hotly immersed in work and work travel, we had little time to devote to our ever-immediate vacation in Europe (which we hate in its catch-all reference but use for lack of another term except maybe, E.U.) There was a dust cloud over Western Europe and an imminent strike by British Airways which blossomed profoundly on our day of travel, negating a set of flights booked in and out of Berlin. Thus we were left with LAX <--> LHR roundtrips and one hotel booked for a night in Berlin but nothing for the remaining week and a half.
It may have been jetlag, or a British candy bar sugar high, or a cocoon of oppressive denial but we weren't worrying the slightest. "Let's just book and go." So we set to the task of booking new Berlin flights, hopping into our hotel and asking ourselves "where next?" Fueled by regional air carriers, a bit of train travel, and the guidance of Tablet, we checked into Straf in Milan, Galeria Del Arte in Florence, and Hazlitt's in London.
It was off-the-cuff, fast and rushed with no small amount of optimism, but it was our most successful "Europe" trip yet. So the next time your travel plans are thwarted by a dust cloud, a strike, a hurricane, or a petulantly low stamp of fog, we advise: Book and go.
8/25/11: hotelcrush, yummy
The hotel cocktail can be overpriced, rushed, and cranked out with the same care as a beer on tap. But it can also be deliciously reviving, the perfect complement to a sunny afternoon or evening outdoors. Here are our favorites to move you gently through the last few weeks of scorchingly pleasant weather.
The Parker Palm Springs - Fresh Squeezed Lemonade: We love the cold, tart taste of fresh squeezed lemonade and the Lemonade Stand at the Parker is devoted solely to this. With poolside ordering and shady lounge chairs, this is our favorite setting for an hour drowned in our Kindle and some Balzac.
W Hollywood - Berry Caipirinha: A good caipirinha is neither too sweet nor too sour, and the W Hollywood has struck the perfect balance of both. We love the addition of muddled strawberries which nearly turns the drink from a cocktail to a Jamba Juice.
W D.C. - Mixed Berry Mojito: Nothing seems more decadent than sipping a mint and berry cocktail on a weekday afternoon against the backdrop of snipers patrolling the rooftop of the White House. We love this refreshing cocktail for all the reasons we love mojitos (mint, lime) and berries (sweet, slightly acidic).
We love sharing our recommendations, which we'll post here for the record. We've been asked the following in the last month:
We've said that world capitals are neighborhoods of the same city center, a blisteringly conscious, dynamic, unpredictable stack of lifestyles and density of patterns. You've met city addicts no doubt, or you are one, and the rush of living and swarm of sensations is what keeps you trying the next one, and the next, and the next. You have favorites, of course, but you're after novelty, variation, quantity of possibility, and the jolt of surprise. You consume air travel like diet soda, satiated and thirsty, and you accumulate cities like rooms in your house to which you keep going back.
It's the plurality of instances, the challenge to limits, the feeling of "not anywhere, but just in the moment" in which we smear our face, smother our body, and suck down as fast as the next Crush swells, familiar, tingling, and bottomless.
7/24/11: las vegas, hotelcrush
Visitors to Vegas are struck by the sheer magnitude. Yesterday's dollhouses are today's miniature Venice, Paris, New York, and Lake Como. Everything is neon, gilded, metallic, reflective, light-up, angular, self-important, and not a small bit desperate. And out of this miasma of numb stimulation, tucked in from the frontal onslaught of the Strip, is the Mandarin Oriental. At first impression you'll know this one is different. There is no casino, and the lobby is on the 23rd floor, adjacent to a lounge serving afternoon tea and champagne on ice. A step further and you'll enter the bar, a rounded corner of a room with floor-to-ceilings of the horror below. A perfect place to recharge with a moment of float time before plummeting into a posse of pamphleteers advertising "Girls to your door in 20min".
Yes, we'll have another. . .
The Lobby and Lounge:
It’s 6pm as you step into the W Downtown. The first reflex is scent, a drink of the fragrant lobby that slides over your tongue. The second rush is noise, voices rise and glasses clink as the suit crowd blurs a day’s surfeit of tension. You sense music, your heels sink into the beat. You’ve found the city, the anonymity, the generic and cosmopolite. You could be anywhere, San Francisco, Shanghai, HK, Berlin. You’re in the moment, you let your body forget…
There’s something sticky sweet about a new crush. It’s hot-tempered, breathless, exotic and terrifying in its possibilities. It’s the first lick of an ice cream cone, the rock star onstage, the music absorbing into your skin. It’s the beat of the city, an endless rooftop view, the rush of adventure, and the seduction of something new…