Entries tagged with: hotels

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Bernardus Lodge & Spa - Carmel, CA


Just back from a quick trip up the coast to meet friends and try out the new Villas & Suites at Bernardus Lodge & Spa in Carmel Valley! Between the various (much needed) rain storms, we got a lovely sunny weekend to drive up California, explore Carmel/Big Sur, and most importantly, relax, catch up, and indulge in delicious wine, spa pampering, and silly leisurely activities like bocce and croquet! Also - between the 3 fire places in each suite and fire pits to curl up by throughout the property, even the chilliest nights were cozy. Tucked into Carmel Valley between vineyards and golf courses, you’re about 20 minutes into the adorable Carmel By The Sea. I’ve been torn trying to decide what to share with you, but overall, there were so many lovely details (the bathroom! the fireplaces! the views! the stars!) - here’s a look at my favorite parts. As for whether i’d recommend the Bernardus Lodge & Spa - i’m not sure, we did have a bunch of strange moments that stuck in my head, but fill you in on a few of those later. For now - take in the sights on the next page!

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Laguna Lodge: Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

laguna000.jpg Sometimes you need a place to truly relax, hide away, and gather your thoughts. Since we were in Guatemala for Jackson’s wedding, we decided to add on a few days to do just that… and Shawn found the eco-luxury 6 room resort and nature reserve, The Laguna Lodge at Lake Atitlan - the perfect getaway add-on to our Antigua plans. Since the lodge is in Santa Cruz La Laguna, Lake Atitlan, on the western highlands of Sololá, you take a car to Panajachel and then hop on a boat for about 10 minutes. To get anywhere from the lodge you can either hop on another boat, or walk along the pathways along the lakeshore. Though, I honestly can’t tell you much about waving down the boats to hop from town to town, since once we were situated, we realized the ultimate break was really to just hide out at the lodge, explore the 100 acres of nature reserve, delicious locally grown, organic, vegetarian fare, and watch the sunsets over the volcanoes and the lake! Of the 6 suites, the majority of couples we met did seem to be American 20-30 somethings as well - but this was the part of our trip that was more about a stunning oasis tucked away from the chaos of everyday life. Two nights at the Laguna Lodge, and we were feeling rejuvenated, relaxed, and ready to get back to reality! Take a look at the stunning space on the next page.

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The Prairie Creek Inn - Aspen Tree House

tcpi0.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, we roadtripped up from LA for a fall adventure. In Part II, we are experiencing all that Alberta Winter has to offer! Follow the series to see what inspires us along the way!

Everyone needs a relaxing, magical getaway - the type that forces you to stop, relax, and just revel in the beauty around you and the company you’re with. We just found that at The Prairie Creek Inn in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, which is about 3 hours east from Banff and Jasper. Even spending a mere 20 hours there, Shawn and i feel rejuvenated to continue on our epic Alberta adventure! This luxury B&B is actually a group of cottages spread throughout their large property (there’s even a creek running through!), so you feel more like you’re staying in a private cabin in the woods… only with a delicious restaurant, wonderful hosts, and all the amenities you could need (firewood, snacks, movies, and more.)

We had the chance to stay in the Aspen Tree House - just up the hill from the main lodge, and it truly is magical… from the moment you walk up to it in the clearing between the trees, to waking up in the morning and pulling back the curtains to expose the windows on two sides of the cabin that make you feel like you’re right in the woods. How anyone can watch the tv in the corner over the fire place between the two HUGE windows when snow is falling, is beyond me. The tree house interior is that perfect balance between comfortably homey, and spaciously modern. Even with just a few hours there, we had to make use of the fire pit (i’ve never done a fire in the snow!) It was fantastic to chop some wood and curl up by the fire after dinner as the snow fell around us. Take a peek into the Prairie Creek Inn Aspen Tree House on the next page…

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8 days in 100 Instagrams: Alberta, Canada

use00.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, Shawn, Bucky, and I are loaded up in the NOTFZJ80 spending a week in Alberta roadtripping, camping, and exploring all that we can fit in… follow the series here to see what inspires us along the way!

WOW. It’s surreal to be home in Los Angeles - after putting 4000 miles on the NOTFZJ80 in 2.5 weeks as Shawn, Bucky, and I headed up from LA up through the middle of the US, spent a week in Alberta, Canada, and came home down the west coast… Even as i work on making sense of our many pictures and adventures, SO much has happened and been experienced along the way! One of the most important things i’ve learned on this Alberta adventure - be ready for ANYTHING - from hot weather into a snow storm - from camping to luxury hotels - from stuck in traffic to being alongside amazing creatures. You just never know what might be around the corner…

When I was counting things up, i couldn’t believe how much has happened in our 8 days across the border alone, which i’ve shared in exactly 100 @NOTlabs Instagram pictures! So as fun as breaking it all up is, the epic nature of our adventure seemed like it deserved a post of its own - all 100 instagram pics in chronological order to relive it all in one scroll! See it all from crossing the border to Waterton to Calgary to Canmore to Banff to Jasper to more Calgary to Drumheller and more on the next page.

p.s. Why an Instagram picture roundup of the whole trip? When i look back to remember this adventure - going through hundreds of pictures to make posts is one thing - refiltering it all through a new lens… but the Instagrams in order with their captions… THESE are the things that got us at the exact moments they were happening (or very close to it, depending on cell reception) - looking through/reading all of these are the 8 days as we got excited about things in real time!

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Hotel Arts, Calgary

arts0.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, Shawn, Bucky, and I are loaded up in the NOTFZJ80 spending a week in Alberta roadtripping, camping, and exploring all that we can fit in… follow the series here to see what inspires us along the way!

One of our favorite Calgary spots is definitely their designer boutique Hotel Arts in the heart of downtown. Dog friendly, well located, and awesomely designed? Amazingness! And as far as Bucky was concerned, it was his first luxury hotel experience (days after his first hotel experience ever)… and i’m pretty sure he thinks that walking into them now means belly rubs and excited greetings from the valets and front desk ladies are standard. They also spoiled him (and us!) with treats when we got in - that are so beautiful! I’ve never seen a fruit+chocolate platter displayed quite like the one above! And their fun greetings on the plates - even special Bucky ones… so cute. We also got to check out the newly redesign interiors by B+H Architects - including my favorite custom made bedside tables (minimalist with USB and outlets in the base)! Take a peek inside the lovely new rooms and goodies on the next page!

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Mount Engadine Lodge + Spray Lakes

engadineMAIN.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, Shawn, Bucky, and I are loaded up in the NOTFZJ80 spending a week in Alberta roadtripping, camping, and exploring all that we can fit in… follow the series here to see what inspires us along the way!

The one thing you can count on on a multiweek road trip is running into the unexpected. In this case the weather took a turn to the cold and snowy for a few days! Like wake up to half a foot of snow sticking kind of snowy… and that didn’t stop us from genuinely, excitedly trying to go find a camp site by Spray Lakes. The camp sites are THAT stunning just off the water nestled in the trees. But like in a fairy tale ~ we headed to dinner at the Mount Engadine Lodge around the lake, which appeared like an adorable Swiss chalet mirage through the low visibility of the snow and trees… and with dinner, they offered us a spare room and told us not to be silly instead. By the time i woke up and saw the inches of fresh powder everywhere, i think we made the right decision!

Honestly, there is something just magical about Mount Engadine Lodge. Beyond the adorable chalet style, the people both running it and guests immediately treat you like family as you curl up by the fire, play games, and join the communal dining area. The first thing you are offered is to get out of your wet shoes and slip on some colorful hand knit slippers. Then you hear “BEAR” and “MOOSE” and then “TWO MOOSE!” within moments of arrival… and it’s not joke. Staring out the vast windows overlooking the meadow, sure enough there is a mama and baby bear sauntering down, and two moose chowing down in the mud pit. Often you read things are “like the Serengeti for wildlife viewing”, but to pop in and have all of this happen so fast… magical! See our adventure to Spray Lakes, Mount Engadine Lodge, and the rather precarious drive out on the next page!

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Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles

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Ace Hotel Portland: Inside #420

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Seattle Adventures: The Sheraton

sheraton0.jpg This post is brought to you by Sheraton. Click here to explore Sheraton Club. As our hosts in Seattle a few weekends ago, here’s a peek into our room and Sheraton Club first hand!

When the Sheraton reached out to us to write about our adventures beyond work meetings, etc. when visiting a city that had Sheraton Club amenities, I didn’t know what to expect. And having not been to Seattle since i was too young to remember much more than going clamming, I had no idea what i was in for! So, thank you Sheraton, for helping us make a weekend of the trip instead of a quick one day type of thing, it has been quite the fun weekend of exploring. You can see how we planned where to explore, and peek into our Seattle adventures, but first, back to the Sheraton!

About the Sheraton Club, I’d never tried one of the club lounges or club floors before. Basically, it’s like a hotel version of an airport lounge; free Wifi, lounge space with tvs, newspapers and magazines, and a buffet that varies on the time of day. As far as how that fits into your hotel time, think of it as your room on a floor that conveniently has a little lounge on the same floor, and breakfast and wifi are complimentary, as well as happy hour hors d’oeuvres! But back to the adventures, take a peek on the next page to see inside our room, our stunning downtown Seattle views, and our experience in the Sheraton Club Lounge!

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Hotel de Paris, St. Tropez + CLA

deparis0.jpg This weekend’s adventures lead me from LA to St. Tropez by way of Paris and Marseille to try out the new Mercedes-Benz CLA. While there, Mercedes-Benz took over newly redone, iconic Hotel de Paris St. Tropez, which barely reopened the doors before Mercedes moved in for this round of drives. Mixed into the sculptures throughout the lobby, we were greeted with displays of the new CLA Dashboard, Direct Steer System, various engines and more… which fit right in! In the main courtyard, the new CLA and it’s larger influence, the CLS were on show. Apparently the Hotel de Paris was one of THE first hotels in St Tropez back in the 1930s, and was THE spot to be seen in the 60s and 70s (think artists, starlets, and more). Freshly redone by interior designer, Sybille de Margerie, it is quite a mix of design styles, and the hardest things to miss are the stunning spherical chandelier of metal petals of sorts in the lobby… and the nearly ready glass bottom pool that is suspended over the lobby which is viewable from all floors! Take a peek at the details of the Hotel de Paris St. Tropez with its Mercedes-Benz CLA flourishes on the next page!

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The Saguaro Palm Springs

sag0.jpg Happy 2013!!! To ring in the new year, we suddenly decided to hop in the car and escape to Palm Springs, relaxing and celebrating an incredible 2012 in the brilliantly colored Saguaro Palm Springs. While it still has the layout and feel of a roadside motel of day’s past, the classic Joie de Vivre style of livening and updating it certainly breathes new life into the space. From the hallways to the patios to the lobby, you can’t escape the playful rainbow that follows you everywhere… the color palette just screams HAPPY all over! Take a peek at the details on the next page… from looking inside our room, to running around with my cell phone, and more!

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Basecamp Hotel - South Lake Tahoe

basecamp0.jpg On curious new hipster hotels to pop up ~ first glance at the website and gallery, i couldn’t help but think - new Joie De Vivre updated motel or new Ace Hotel (based on the lobby/decor)? Turns out the Basecamp Hotel in South Lake Tahoe neither, but is definitely targeting a similar clientele. The prices sound quite reasonable (in the under 200$ a night for a king room range) and it is full of character with all the vintage, woody, designer looks - Tolix stools, Emeco Navy chairs, wall art in the rooms and more! How fun is the room with a tent in it for the bed… and fake fire with the woodsy wallpaper? Take a peek at the playful site design by Bucktrout, and inside Basecamp Hotel through the stunning pictures from Eva Kolenko on the next page!

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Spitz Hotel, Linz, Austria

spitz0.jpg We just moved into the Spitz Hotel in Linz, Austria, which is a stone’s throw from Ars Electronica, and a spacious boutique designer hotel that i’m currently giddy about. Take a peek inside our room and you’ll see why… Also, i’ve never moved to a hotel in part because of their SPONGE and awesome branding… the use of the Spitz Hotel red star/burst is all over the room in tiny details that just give it a fun playful spark! And the details of their custom desks - with cut acrylic inlays for stationery and hotel information and a cutout of their burst logo in the powder coated steel of course too. Anyhow, must run off to help set up for the exhibition, but wanted to give you guys a peek into our new room first! See it all on the next page!

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The House Hotel Galatasaray, Istanbul

house1.jpg This post is part of a content series presented by smartwater… smartwater, good taste travels well. Click here to learn more. The opinions and content in this post are 100% NOTCOT, smartwater is supporting us to share what we love with you! Advertisement

Currently in Istanbul! While here, decided to try The House Hotel Galatasaray. One of the three House Hotels (all in Istanbul), this is the four-storey mansion built in 1890′s and renovated by renowned Autoban Design. The result is a beautiful and unexpected mixture of late 1800 turkish styles with lots of geometric patterns which feel like modern takes on more traditional tile patterns… from the reception area to the closet to the ceiling of the bathroom. Additionally the juxtaposition of modern (custom!) furnishings, chandeliers, tvs and more to the wood flooring and ornate walls and ceilings leave you in a beautifully unique space! As Mr & Mrs Smith says, “The House Hotel Galatasaray in Istanbul is a masterfully modernised mansion, elegantly imperial with a hint of contemporary magic.” Take a peek inside our room on the next page!

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Republic Bikes at the Mark Hotel NYC

mark1.jpg Adorable black and white bicycle loaded up with the “ultimate picnic in the park created by celebrated chef, George Vongerichten” ~ how could anyone resist? This is park of the latest luxury amenities added to the Mark Hotel including The Mark Restaurant and Bar by Jean-Georges Vongerichten; a shoe shine kiosk by John Lobb; martial arts gym Punch Fitness Center; and a Frederic Fekkai salon… this fleet of bikes are bespoke Republic Bikes with a striped chaincase and monogrammed bicycles, MARK1 license plates, signature black helmets and baskets! As for the ultimate picnic lunch - “Steamed Shrimp Salad, Avocado and Enoki, Champagne Dressing; Fresh Mozzarella, Marinated Roasted Peppers and Arugula; Black Truffle Pizza with Fontina Cheese; Mini Vanilla and Chocolate Éclairs Red velvet cupcake; and Artisanal Cheeses. Lunch-to-go also includes half a bottle of Champagne and a bottle of San Pellegrino. The picnic basket, together with blanket, plates, cutlery and glasses all fit neatly into the bicycles front basket, with a specially designed drink bottle cooler.” Adorable, isn’t it? See more picture on the next page!

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Hotel Tonight San Diego Escape

beach0a.jpg This super stormy socal weekend, we decided to wander down to San Diego… having lived there for years i’d walked/driven by so many of the la jolla hotels but never stayed in them! After months of vicariously browsing the HotelTonight app on our phones around noon to see what hotel offers popped up each day, it finally seemed like the right time to be spontaneous about it! And San Diego Beach Cities were a recent addition as far as deal locations ~ also love that you can even book a deal for up to a few nights (for that spontaneous weekend away or so!) Take a peek on the next page at our spontaneous La Jolla adventures thanks to Hotel Tonight which landed us at La Valencia and the super new Pantai Inn… as well as a look at their lovely app and UI! It was hard not to book another random night and stay longer, but alas, it was time to get home!

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Der Zauberlehrling Hotel Stuttgart

sunrisestut0.jpg After the Mercedes-Benz Bremen factory, we drove down about 6 hours (Fun! Intense! Autobahn adventures!) to Stuttgart ~ and getting in around midnight, we promptly settled in to Der Zauberlehrling, a cute little design hotel, with only a few hours to work, clean up, sleep ~ and hop back on the road by morning! Nestled in the Sunrise room, you can get a peek at the unique space! The patio made me wish i colud have stayed longer to relax a bit! See it all on the next page.

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La Residencia in Deia, Mallorca

resroomMAIN.jpg On great escapes, the Orient Express (and their Journey Like No Other) seems to know how to do it ~ this week in particular we’ve been hiding out at La Residencia in Deia, Mallorca, Spain in between trips (See the madness surrounding this escape and a peek at the views at night). I can guarantee your stress levels will drop ten fold even from the drive in from Palma (or via private jet)… the softly twisting roads bring you deeper into the island’s canyons and terraced lush green hillsides. The hotel and surrounding town have apparently changed little over the last few decades, and before joining the Orient Express family in 2002 was owned by Richard Branson since the late 80s, and a favorite escape for many high profile clients over the years. Luxurious accommodations, great service, and breath taking views… not to mention divine tapas… while you have multiple pools, tennis, spa and lots of hiking, sailing, and more available, it’s hard to beat taking a few hours curled up on the patio of our suite staring out at the mountains and ocean… so take a peek inside the Alfabia suite, our ridiculously large bathroom, luscious four poster bed (with tv that pops out from the foot of the bed)… in addition to a few other fun details ~ from the call buttons that are poolside… to the various donkeys, sheep, and olive groves around the property (which they make their own olive oil from!) as well as an organic garden next to the spa!

p.s. You have to see the amazing little cove that is a quick walk/hike down into the canyons to the water…

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Hotel La Residencia at Night

res1.jpg In exactly a week i’ve gone from LA to Frankfurt to a few hours at the Auto Show, doing a live interview with the heads of global communications for Mercedes, to Paris and directly into a car to Reims to visit the Hotel Du Marc of Veuve Clicquot for a few hours, only to be back in Paris by dinner, then driving through France, stopping by a chateau, sleeping on a ferry, only to wake up in the UK and end up at Goodwood, crash for a night in London, and have ended up in Mallorca yesterday. Phew. What. A. Week. Is your head spinning as much as mine right now just reading that?

Well before another week not too dissimilar than the last, the Orient Express has invited me to experience one of their relaxing escapes, and the timing seemed perfect to see the world of Hotel La Residencia, nestled in Deia, Mallorca, Spain while catching my breathe. Currently curled up on the patio lounge chair in a bathrobe with laptop staring out at the most serene town, mountainside, and peeks of ocean 5 minutes away as i write this post. And last night after getting in, you can see the delectable tapas and wine we indulged in… before coming back to a nice bottle of bubbly cava they kindly left for us… at which point i couldn’t not grab my camera and share the stunning star filled night and glow of the town. So before i give you a peek into the room ~ take a look at the breath taking night! Exactly what i needed after quite the euro-whirlwind of a week!

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Google Hotel Finder

hotelfinder1.jpg On fun new web resources, loving Google’s Hotel Finder experiment. It has a beautiful UI allowing you to search for hotels in the US filtering by location (with 4pt shapes), dates, price, hotel class & user rating… you can also flip between map and list view and even have hotels in your shortlist in a different color… But my favorite feature is definitely “Highlight popular areas” ~ which is perfect for new cities you are visiting when trying to figure out what hot spots are. Read more about it on the Google Search Blog and see more pics of the details on the next page.

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Soho Beach House Miami by Jonas Bergstrand

house0.jpg I love when a graphic can transport you to another world… or make you wish you were somewhere else… just got an email from our friends at the CIA (Central Illustration Agency) with these stunning posters by Jonas Bergstrand for Soho Beach House Miami… beyond the retrotastic look and feel of beach house living… the tiny modern details hidden in each piece are great ~ helicopter, parachuter, and headphones… Take a peek at the three posters and details up close on the next page!

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Ace Hotel New York Inspirations

acemore0.jpg The inspiration is in the details… every time i’m at the Ace Hotel NY ~ or any Ace Hotel for that matter ~ its the fonts, witty statements and quotes, playful design choices, etc that just make me giddy and inspired… take a look at some i found in the loft this trip… photos on the next page!

p.s. I already showed you the Ace x Chromebook x Superfuture collab, and this is the rest of the fun pics!

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Ace Hotel NY + Chromebook + Superfuture

acechrome0.jpg On awesome tech + hotel collaborations, latest one i’m loving is the Ace Hotel NY and Google teaming up to put Chromebooks in EVERY room and in the hands of lobby folks to experience them throughout their visits. Sure it’s great that they provide them for use both in and out of the hotel throughout your stay, but even cooler? The custom felt cases designed by Ace x Google that they come in! AND the Superfuture powered “Ace Hotel New York Field Guide” they’ve created as well! And bonus? “For guests, we’re laying out an extra gift: an Ace x Google designed notebook - with real paper - wearing a John Milton quote from 1634.” So whether you’re a guest staying at the Ace, or just hanging out for some Stumptown in the lobby - feel free to ask to borrow a Chromebook next time you’re in there! And take a peek at all the fun little details of this collab ~ all the details from the case to the guide are on the next page as experienced in one of the lovely Ace Hotel NY lofts!

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The Redbury: Room 415

redbury1.jpg Finally taking a vacation in LA this week ~ when the opportunity came up to pop across town to try out The Redbury in Hollywood, it seemed like the perfect chance to even further escape my “normal” life. Checking in to room #415 ~ i stepped into the red red building perched at Hollywood and Vine, into their red red hallways adorned with larger than life hollywood glam photos filling walls along the way… and into a fully stocked apt of sorts. To call it a hotel room doesn’t even do it justice. With a kitchen (stove, fridge, dishes, the works) ~ and Katsuya and Cleo room service ready at the touch of an iPhone App ~ a washer/dryer as well as a record player stocked with records… it’s hard to find an excuse to leave this little escape when sitting on the patio staring out at Hollywood. It is a boho-chic home away from home ~ complete with that vintage store scent. “Curated by renowned photographer Matthew Rolston and Founder and CEO, Sam Nazarian ~ The Redbury features 57 thoughtfully appointed guest flats designed to provide a relaxed and entertaining environment. Each spacious room offers a home-like atmosphere to accommodate stays of a day, a week, or as long as required.” And it couldn’t be more true… ready to take a peek into my room at The Redbury and some of the fun details? To the next page!

P.s. i’m smitten with their graphic design/branding details!

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Mondrian SoHo: Views + iPads = Room Service

monfood0.jpg So, you’ve seen my stunning full moon views tonight ~ and in the past, Jackson came to the Mondrian SoHo’s staycation and showed us the ipad/room service magic that was breakfast. Well needing a hotel for a night, i decided to try out the Morgan’s Global Card, one of the perks being a “complimentary night at all of our new hotel openings around the world “… and amazingly, even on an expensive and rather full night, calling the number on the back of the card, somehow a room was procured (even the night before)… and upon arrival, even upgraded into a penthouse level suite. I must say i’m impressed. The heinous stress of a last minute booking in the chaos of NY hotels being transformed into a seemless and painfree experience filled with surprises was perfect. But anyhow, back to the view! And the iPad! And the food! Having forgotten to have breakfast before my flight, and not really having food on JetBlue, i was famished by the time i got in around 8pm… and drawn out to the patio with the iPad, room service was ordered with a few quick taps between being mesmerized by the view… it arrived incredibly fast! (Or i just lost track of time out there, but i swear, it was faster than the time i picked - which was essentially ASAP.) So take a peek at MY version of experiencing the views, precariously balancing the iPad on the corner of the railing 25 stories up, breakfast/dinner in a fried egg burger/salad, and a look around the adorable room ~ all on the next page!

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