I have been extra on-the-go. Here are three hotel reviews across North America.
The Hotel Dauphin could not be closer to the convention center. It’s a perfect location for a business trip if that is your destination. But the Dauphin had none of a prince’s charm, and came off as more of a pauper.
It is one of these minimalist, modern hotels with a sparsely furnished lobby, lots of steel and cold surfaces, with a front desk staffed by casually dressed young people who serve as both reception and concierge. Well, they will hand you a sheet with local restaurants if you ask.
Our double queen room was spacious. But there was very little charm or warmth. Blonde wood, a big iMac, a flatscreen TV, and a couple of kind of depressing posters on the wall. The lighting consisted of four blaring sconces. It is all or nothing with the lights. They are activated by the room key, good for those who are green at heart, but bad for nuance and ambiance. This place is clean and new; it just lacks soul.
|Thermostat and sconce decor|
And then there was the construction project as the featured view from our 6th floor window. We saw the workers coming and going and we could almost see what they were having for lunch. And we heard them from morning to night. I recently attended a management training session in New York City, and because the class was subjected to the sound of a jack hammer all day, I received $1,000 off the next training. I wonder if The Dauphin might also offer a noise rebate? But wait, the website did describe the hotel as "in the heart of a booming downtown Montreal."
But man, the gigantic breakfast room made up for a lot. Coffee service is the way to my heart. A super-sized espresso machine spits out any kind of coffee you like. And this is not just good coffee, this is great coffee. Serious coffee, like Europe. And the food was continental Montreal’s famous bagels, sweet little chocolate croissants. yogurt, fruit, inexplicably a crockpot full of beans. We are always looking for ways to stay warm in Montreal.
|Pendry king, two places to crash|
Man, I loved the Pendry, I had never heard of it, but I loved it. Quite the opposite of the Dauphin, this place had tons of style and charm. From the pink and black plaid room keys to the turn-down service with two macarons on the pillow, and the Beach Boys on the stereo.
It’s huge but feels intimate, it spans a city block, 5th and 6th and J. It is four blocks from the Convention Center, in the heart of the Gaslamp District.
|Wallpaper-hares, surfers and birds|
The wallpaper is pretty, the room had a glass encased shower facing the room with wraparound curtains, everything was soothing, the nice fainting couch in the window, the cool desk chair. The bathroom with marble countertop, the high quality “products."
|I can see for miles and miles|
We ate dinner at Lionfish, also part of the hotel, recommended by a local who says it is one of the best restaurants in SD. I had the Salmon Creek Pork Chop, which they kindly offered to slice for me like a child; my companion had a Specialty Roll called Bezerk—shrimp tempura, avocado, OOBA, salmon belly, brown butter aioli, citrus, Negi, and sweet soy. And a side order of Brussels and Squash in a malt lime vinaigrette with goat cheese.
Another hotel restaurant was Provisional where we ate breakfast outside in the perfect 70-degree weather. On the flight to San Diego the pilot said "the weather in San Diego is clear and 70 degrees, what else is new?" Fresh-squeezed OJ, avocado toast with poached eggs with Sriracha, and
copper salt and pepper shakers.
Flaw. No coffee maker in the room. Please, I am begging you West Coast hotels, do not do this to your East Coast customers. You know that we are up at 5 a.m. On this trip, daylight savings had just begun so we were up at 4 a.m. They told me coffee service in the lobby started at 5:30 a.m. I called at 5 a.m. with desperation in my voice and and they assured me it was ready now. Good save, but not enough. Fix this black mark with black coffee.
|... a Maiden Moscow Mule|
|A Margo and Judy Joynt|
|Quarter century plants|
I had never been to Cabo, it is Tucson-like, desert dry with cactus-y vegetation, but right next to a body of water, in this case Santa Maria Bay. Judy has been there several times and told me what's different about The Montage is that it has a private beach. Most resorts there are on the rocks, so to speak.
The Montage Los Cabos, an exclusive luxury hotel with properties in Beverly Hills, Maui, and Deer Valley, is brand new. It just opened in May. You can see the newness in the vegetation—some of these century plants will take a century to grow. There are hair dryers that have never been used. Beds unslept in. Walkways unwalked.
|View for days|
What was not to like? This was a drop-out, unwind, refresh, restore vacation like no other. We went there to talk and read and rest and eat, and pamper. Check, check, check, check.
Plus, it was my birthday and Judy alerted the staff, so that I was greeted by the hotel manager, offered Mescal at every turn, provided with cake and balloons in the room, and given birthday gifts in the spa.
Our room had an oceanfront view, a balcony, a Nestle coffee maker with black pods and an indoor/outdoor shower. The bed was so amazing that I wanted to buy it and ship it home. The food was terrific, bowls of berries overflowed at breakfast, the chips and guacamole sang, my birthday dinner featured sea bass with Veracruzano salsa, an avocado-shaped butter dish, and three scoops of ice cream for dessert.
All of this cost a pretty peso, it was “spendy,” as a friend says. But, hey, yo soy worth it.