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.

The Gorgeous New Jewelry At Bendel's

12/7/11: yummy

Our heart beats fast, fast, and faster for the glittering displays at Bendel's. The jaded will say that only diamonds will do, but our taste runs extravagantly broad and smothers anything shiny and highly refractive. Thus our meeting with the Holiday jewelry collection was swift and furious. We love the Buckle Up baby bangle and matching ring, as well as the Holiday Stone Cluster bracelet and the Locked Up Bracelet. But this being the season of giving, we left the store with just two pieces – one for us, and one for our lovely friend M.

The Henri Bendle Buckle Up Baby Bangle and Ring:

henri bendel buckle up baby bangle and ring

The Henri Bendel Holiday Stone Cluster Bracelet and Locked Up Bracelet:

henri bendel holiday stone cluster bracelethenri bendel locked up bracelet

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. 


What We Want...

10/19/11: yummy

agent provocateur thora dressWe're the opposite of "shopaholic," those ravenous Sex-and-the-City women whose sense of self-worth is derived from the momentary pleasure of a designer handbag or pair of shoes. In fact, women like that downright creep us out. But every so often we come across something so stunning that it deserves a second glance, a further inspection, and a bit of hard-earned want. So now we'll do a little sharing.

Gray is really no one's color, a shade disappointingly forgettable given its stunning parents Black and White. But pop it onto a curve-hugging silhouette with a sweetheart neckline and salacious red lining and it becomes positively exotic. We love this "Thora" dress from Agent Provocateur because it's the picture of decorum...until you turn around.

We're far more into experiences than things and can't see ourselves following through, but perhaps if we're in the neighborhood we might stop in for a harm in a little tease?



HotelCrush Lemonade

9/20/11: hotelcrush, yummy

fresh squeezed hotel crush lemonadeNothing 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:

  • - 3/4 cup of fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • - 4 cups of ice cold filtered water
  • - 2-3 tablespoons of sugar

Serves 3. Or in our case, plenty to taste test and serve over ice for the fabulous construction crew.


A Night At the Races

9/12/11: speakeasy swank, hollywood, yummy

photo of the french 75 champagne drink at sayers club hollywoodBy Hollywood standards it was a slow drip. A Tuesday or Thursday at the height of summer, a night here or there for the rest of July and August. But with our devotion to Sayers Club deep in full pitch, we're verging on a level of attendance seen only in educational settings or the workplace. It's rare that a nightclub is this good, and like the thrill of your first concert or trip backstage, we're happy to report that it's downright exhilarating.

Ambience: A black box theater with tufted leather couches, 1920s light fixtures, a gripping sound system, and rigorous sense of lighting nuance. We've compared Sayers to a scaled version of the Edison during its moment (Lucent Dossier, 1920s film projected on the walls). Drinks are classic speakeasy, like our favorite, the French 75 (pictured left). A mixed drink made with gin and tart with lemon juice, the slightly sweet concoction is finished with champagne and a strawberry.

DJ: We're known for DJing three or four genres a night, moving in and out of each at full blast. The same mentality goes here, where the DJ will spin the Ronettes, the Presets, and Biggie in the same half hour. Seamless, and perfectly on point. The late '90s/early '00s concept of Eighties night or hip-hop night is completely irrelevant here, and the single-genre boredom is absent as well.

Live Music: The reason everyone is here. Thursday night Sessions and Tuesday night funk are infamously good, with knock-out cover performances that have the entire crowd on their feet, breathless and stunning guest performances (like Prince last Tuesday) that leave everyone feeling smarter, taller, better-looking, and on a bender of good fortune.

Crowd: 100% music. The best parties revolve around a superordinate purpose beyond straight pick-up dynamics. It might be a great DJ or a weekly residency, but everybody is united by something more ephemeral than their next drink.


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..


The Smoking Scent of Fall

9/5/11: yummy

l'artisan parfumeur amber ballOur love of L'Artisan Parfumeur began with the scent of French Tuesday. Sultry, enveloping, imbued with the same charm as the heavy French accents and toasts of Laurent Perrier. It was the fragrance of L'Eau d'Ambre – gorgeous and swelteringly addictive, daring as a first kiss and intimate as candlelight. We sipped champagne and drank each room, infatuated.

Our devotion deepened when we received a gift from French Tuesday. It was an exquisite, triangular red box with three candles, two Mimosa Maurin and one Mure Sauvage. We nurtured them like a bottle of Louis XIV – opening the cap, sniffing, indulgently taking a sip. We burned them sparingly, gently returning them to the box and retying the gold ribbon.

As Fall descends and temperatures get colder, the smells change too. Rain seeping through dry leaves, wet asphalt, spices in place of citrus, hot chocolate instead of lemonade. But if there's one scent we'd like to leave with you, it's the aroma of Ambre, tingling like the first cold chill, warm as a beach bonfire, decadent, endless.


Our Favorite Hotel Summer Drinks

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).


Laurent Who?

7/19/11: campaign champagne

It's no secret that our favorite drink is rosé champagne, so we were thrilled to discover the effervescent Graham Beck Brut Rosé at a 4th of July dinner party. From South Africa, this sparkling wine shares all the qualities of our perrenial favorite. Our hostess explains: "I went in to buy a bottle of Laurent Perrier but the guy told me that I absolutely HAD to try a bottle of this. So I did, LOVED it, and went back to get four cases."

The taste: Tart enough to balance anything sweet, but a hint of sweetness to complement anything savory. Basically, perfection.

The look: Pale pink, think Veuve rosé or Essie Ballet Slippers.

The price: Will shock you, in a good way.


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