Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep
Travel Odds & Ends, Wk of 22-08-30
We used to have an ironclad rule that we could only stay in one (preferably iconic) luxury hotel per trip. The rest of the time, we’d make do with any old bed, running water, and a lock on the door. Not much of a surprise, since we rarely had any money left over after visiting the higher class of establishment.
We include the phone numbers here, because these are NOT hotels you book on an aggregator website. You might reserve the room on the hotel’s official site, but then you call and specify exactly what you want. It might not be logical, but even in huge establishments, we’ve found that a phone call lands us in another category with the arrival staff. For this kind of cash, we want that pickier category.
And always ask for the Specials. You never know when even the grandest hotel might need to fill its rooms—even if it means tolerating riff-raff like us.
And—one final note—if anyone ever tells you that your choice of hotel doesn’t matter, that it’s only a place to sleep for the night, they've obviously never stayed at one of these treasures.
And now, our weekly round-up of daily bits and pieces from our much-too-cluttered travel bin. Click on any title for a deeper dive.
1. Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai
If this review reads a bit gushy, the gush is deserved. The Taj might be the best hotel on the planet—it certainly gets our vote. In fact, we’re even headed there next month for our thirtieth!
2. Hôtel de Paris, Monte Carlo
Sometimes, you just have to let things happen. At least when it comes to travel, you never know when an impending screw-up might turn into the experience of a lifetime.
3. Palazzo Gritti, Venice
In winter, when we usually arrive, the water taxi drops us off at the hotel's private dock into an opulently furnished utopia with all of the luxuries and none of the agonies of its medieval origins.
4. Moana Surfrider, Honolulu
The same Moana that sat for a century at the end of the beach, like a grande dame in repose, immune to the noise and kitsch of Kalakaua Avenue. A rocking chair on the veranda, a Polynesian cocktail in the shade of the banyan tree, and Diamond Head fading into the twilight as the sun eases over the horizon.
5. Mondorf Parc Hôtel & Spa, Mondorf-les-Bains
When you're done with all that healthy, strenuous regimen (we max out at a morning and afternoon two-hour session each day), you can get right back to normal with a pizza, a glass of Bordeaux, and an elaborate ice cream sundae at our favorite local restaurant.
6. St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, London
Think of it as a reverse dive into the British Industrial Revolution and 19th century London, without the grimy slums and coal-black fog that plagued the era. And be grateful to Ms. Jane Hughes Fawcett for the experience.
7. Le Meurice, Paris
For all their stiffness, the Prussian aristocrats who ran the German Army had excellent taste in palaces, both their own and the ones they commandeered in their conquests. Sitting in the Meurice lobby bar with a martini and a glass of pink champagne, we can still hear the quiet hubbub of German conversation, the subdued Bach of a string quartet, and the clicking heels of shiny riding boots. A very spooky place for an amateur historian.
And lest we forget, there’s this week’s Travel Newsletter:
The Thing About Mexico City
Encanto y Elegancia en Latinoamérica