Not the New Edition song. The forecast!
The forecast calls for a full week of bad hair in NYC.
I can’t help but feel that the bad weather has been following me.
Hope you have a great week, whatever the weather.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I enjoy my trips to Los Angeles. I have favorite hotels, restaurants and people to see.
Sometimes the trips don’t go quite as planned though. Case in point: this most recent trip.
The weather was mostly terrible. The exception was Saturday. I flew out a day early to see a college friend and her family.
My favorite hotel, Andaz WeHo was priced above my daily limit for LA so I stayed at a new-to-me hotel, a Kimpton property.
I checked into the Hotel Wilshire Sunday afternoon. Continue reading
How hotels can make guests want to return over and over again.
The Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills did all of things and more. A front desk employee named Kris bowled me over with his kindness. Thanks, Kris!
After the awful experience I had at my original LA hotel this trip, the Four Seasons made my trip end on a happy note–all for only $30 per night more than the Ant Hotel.*
Enjoy a few pics I took during my too brief stay at the gorgeous Four Seasons.
*I get a corporate rate through my company.
“What would we do without these?” the man in the elevator asked me, pointing to the smart phones in both of our hands.
I smiled politely. But instead of feeling grateful, as I usually do for my various devices, I was thinking back to my first business trip quite a few years ago.
It was probably 1998 – or possibly 1997 – when I was dispatched to Los Angeles on a four night trip with a senior coworker from another department who was leading the trip. He selected the Ritz in Pasadena (now the Langham Huntington). Okay then!
Our work commitments for this trip were to take place on that Sunday and Wednesday evenings. Otherwise I was free to do whatever. I didn’t have a personal laptop at this point and the practice of loaning them out wasn’t commonplace.
I had my first cell phone, but I remember using it judiciously. And not getting many calls. Most likely because my parents and a few close friends were the few, the lucky, to have the number.
When I wasn’t working, what did I do? I hung out by the hotel pool, of course. The only problem with that was running into my coworker, both of us nearly nude.
The coworker and I shared a rental car so when I had access to it, I’d sneak away to see friends, alternately thrilling in the sense of maturity and freedom I felt and stressing over “can I expense this?”
Looking back, this had to be one of the best business trips ever. It would be such a treat to go on a smartphone and laptop-free business trip to a beautiful place!
I travel a lot, particularly on business, so I spend a good amount of time in hotels. This year-to-date, I have spent approximately fifteen nights in hotels already.*
Here are five things I’d implement immediately if I ran a hotel.
1. Provide high quality hair dryers.
If you care about female business travelers, this is a must. I want to look good, but I don’t want to lug my Rusk Speed Freak in my suitcase, OK?
This evil little hair dryer pictured below is the worst-of-the-worst, but a Conair without heat control and a worn out motor doesn’t win a prize either.
Hotels should treat quality hair dryers as an upsell opportunity like they do robes. If someone steals the hair dryer, add $250 to the bill. Easy.
2. Offer breakfast for room service 24/7.
Years ago I was dining with my friend Joanne at the bar of our mutual neighborhood favorite, Palena. We had snagged seats, ordered Sidecars and starting perusing the menu when a couple came up behind us.
“Oh great,” we whispered to each other sarcastically, assuming the couple would spend the next twenty minutes ordering drinks over our heads and stalking our bar stools with their eyes.
Instead we made friends, and stayed friends.
The male half of the couple, Mark Kuller, subsequently opened his own restaurants, Proof and Estadio in DC. The much prettier half, Kristin Connor, is Managing Partner of Whisk Gourmet in South Miami at which her brother Brendan is Executive Chef.
The lovely couple married several years ago and splits their time between two cities.
Mark kindly agreed to share Five Great Eats in Miami. Hopefully a guest post by Kristin isn’t far behind!
2. Bánh cuốn and Vietnamese chicken curry at Hy Vong in Little Havana.
3. Truffled Roast Chicken and roasted tri-color cauliflower on the patio at Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill in Midtown.
5. Fried green tomatoes, chicken n’ biscuits, and pretty much everything on the menu at Whisk Gourmet in South Miami/Coral Gables.
If you have Miami favorites, share ‘em in the comments.
It was a quickie – just two nights!
I arrived by cab in the midst of a conference call. The valet whisked my bag inside and pointed me toward an open couch. When it was clear that my call wasn’t ending, the Concierge motioned to my purse. I gave him my license and corporate card. He checked me in and delivered my bag to my room.
My room decor, including this tarot card-inspired mural looming over my bed, was typical W. Which is to say atypical. It worked for me–although the mural may have given me some weird dreams. Who knows!
A business partner sent me sparkling wine. Next time I complain about biz travel, please smack me.