Posts Tagged ‘hotels’

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

travel tuesday – hotel burnham in chicago

On my recent week­long stay in Chicago, I dis­cov­ered there is much to love at the Hotel Burn­ham. There are also a few areas in need of minor improve­ment – from my per­spec­tive as both inte­rior designer and trav­eler. I must say the loca­tion and the build­ing itself are terrific!

The hotel occu­pies a ren­o­vated office build­ing built in 1895 and many beau­ti­ful archi­tec­tural fea­tures remain. We stayed in suite 804 – below is the room’s old office door and the charm­ing 8th floor ele­va­tor lobby.

hotel burnham suite 804 door

hotel burn­ham suite 804 door

burnham hotel 8th floor elevator lobby

hotel burn­ham 8th floor ele­va­tor lobby

The com­mon areas on the first floor are equally beau­ti­ful. The small lobby hosts a wine recep­tion each evening, a Kimp­ton trade­mark. I adore the orange chairs! Note the con­trast welt and cutout back on the lobby sofa. Details make a difference!

burnham hotel lobby

hotel burn­ham lobby

burnham hotel lobby

hotel burn­ham lobby

details make a difference - burnham hotel lobby

details make a dif­fer­ence — hotel burn­ham lobby

The largest rooms/suites at the Burn­ham fea­ture a bed­room and liv­ing space, sep­a­rated by French doors. Unfor­tu­nately, the French doors only have sheer cur­tains, so any­one try­ing to sleep in the bed­room is sub­jected to light from the liv­ing area. The king bed is very com­fort­able. There is a canopy of sorts over the bed, which doesn’t appear to have any rela­tion­ship to the room, although it does cam­ou­flage the smoke detec­tor and sprin­kler head. The ceil­ings are quite high, adding vol­ume to a small floor space (the French doors scrape along the side of the bed as you try to close them). The left cor­ner quarter-round side table is styl­ishly delight­ful, but the lamps in both rooms appear under-scale.

bedroom at burnham hotel

bed­room at hotel burnham

funky little corner table at burnham hotel

funky lit­tle cor­ner table at hotel burnham

The seat­ing area fea­tures a fab­u­lous mir­ror and a tiny set­tee. Sadly, the set­tee is uncom­fort­able for one per­son, and impos­si­ble for two! The only other seat in the room is the desk chair. Also, that lit­tle set­tee does not turn into a pull-out, which seems a lost oppor­tu­nity for flex­i­bil­ity, espe­cially for a hotel as friendly to chil­dren as the Burnham.

cute but impractical settee at burnham hotel

cute but imprac­ti­cal set­tee at hotel burnham

The bath­room is very small but well appointed. Aveda toi­letries ele­vate the expe­ri­ence. Of course, the trade­mark Kimp­ton ani­mal print robes are at hand.Suite 804 had win­dows on two sides, both with excel­lent down­town views. The hotel is easy walk­ing dis­tance to many Chicago attrac­tions, includ­ing Mil­le­nium Park, the Cloud Gate (jelly­bean) and the Jay Pritzger Pavil­ion, seen in the back­ground below.

the view from one side of room 804 in hotel burnham

the view from one side of room 804 in hotel burnham

Ser­vice at the hotel is gen­er­ally quite good and always friendly. The restau­rant, Atwood Café, serves a won­der­ful break­fast. Ser­vice here was out­stand­ing in the morn­ing. In the evening, we did have din­ner here once, and ser­vice was not as good. Also, the menu is fairly eclec­tic, mak­ing it trick­ing to feed a picky young diner. There are bet­ter nearby options for din­ner if you are trav­el­ing with young chil­dren, but adults would thor­oughly enjoy the fare. Any place that serves up Red Vel­vet Cookie Dough for dessert is worth a try in my book!

One per­sonal dif­fi­culty at the Atwood: the ban­quette seat­ing at the tables clos­est to the win­dows. It's hard to see in the pic­ture below, but the ban­quettes look ter­rific with an asym­met­ri­cal back. Unfor­tu­nately, the lower side of that back pro­vides zero sup­port for din­ers and hit my back at a painfully low height.  Just a word of cau­tion for any­one above aver­age height.

atwood cafe at hotel burnham
atwood café at hotel burnham

Over­all, we enjoyed our stay at the Burn­ham. How­ever, after a week, the room issues I men­tioned were loom­ing large for our party of three. I do rec­om­mend the hotel, but would myself opt for a larger space in another hotel next time. The Burnham's rooms are ide­ally suited to a max­i­mum of two travelers.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

travel tuesday — the hotel golden in rome

Rome, the Eter­nal City, is like New York — it never sleeps. Find­ing a quiet haven in Rome is mirac­u­lous. From a pre­vi­ous visit we knew the Villa Borgh­ese area could be rel­a­tively peace­ful. Based largely on Tri­pAd­vi­sor reviews, we chose to stay in April at the Hotel Golden. This is not a place to see-and-be-seen, nor a high-style bou­tique hotel sport­ing the lat­est trendy décor. But this is the place to stay with the Roman fam­ily you never knew you had!

The hotel occu­pies a res­i­den­tial build­ing on a quiet street less than a block from Villa Borgh­ese Park – a god­send for fam­i­lies with chil­dren because there is plenty of room to run around in the park. We arrived via the car ser­vice hired through the hotel – an easy, stress-free option. The small recep­tion area and tiny break­fast room are on the 2nd floor – there is no lobby.  We were upgraded to the fam­ily suite, and while two of the extra bed­rooms remained locked (and unseen), the space we had avail­able was enor­mous, par­tic­u­larly by Euro­pean stan­dards — a large, high-ceiling bed­room (king bed + twin day bed), a din­ing room, bath­room and large vestibule. We were wal­low­ing in space!

It’s dif­fi­cult to over­state the care with which the fam­ily caters to their guests. We over­slept the first morn­ing, miss­ing the open hours in the break­fast room. With­out ask­ing, Mama whipped up cof­fee and break­fast for us. On another day, when we planned to dine else­where for break­fast, they held the kitchen open until we appeared because they thought we’d over­slept again. Such atten­tion is unheard of in a typ­i­cal hotel! Being in the fam­ily suite on the 3rd floor required a fam­ily mem­ber to escort us to unlock the outer door, so some­one was always on hand with a smile and con­cern that our day was a happy one. Kudos to the Loria fam­ily for a charm­ing, well-run inn!

My pic­tures appear dark, but the room actu­ally has very large win­dows that look out upon an ancient sec­tion of the city wall toward the Villa Borgh­ese. There are both a large wardrobe and desk with chair not seen in this picture.

hotel golden large king bed

hotel golden large king bed

hotel golden twin day bed

hotel golden twin day bed

The spa­cious bath­room fea­tures a walk-in shower.

hotel golden double sink bathroom

hotel golden dou­ble sink bathroom

We absolutely rec­om­mend the Hotel Golden to any­one look­ing to be trea­sured by fam­ily in Rome!

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

la dolce vita — palazzo murat

There are many joys to be found in trav­el­ing, espe­cially to a place as filled with his­tory and beauty as Italy. One of those must surely be the shoulder-season room upgrade! LOL — but seri­ously, what's more fun than find­ing out the gor­geous room you booked has mor­phed into a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom suite com­plete with an enor­mous liv­ing room and a kitchen?

I chose the Palazzo Murat in Posi­tano after much angst and research. Tri­pad­vi­sor (my go-to source for hotel ideas) rated it #1 on the Amalfi Coast. Could it really be bet­ter than my first choice, Le Sirenuse, a styl­ish gem? The Conde Nast Gold List is sel­dom wrong, but as it turned out — no chil­dren allowed at Le Sirenuse. My only real reser­va­tion about Palazzo Murat was the rooms are not directly fac­ing the sea. But so many great fac­tors made up for that — the cen­tral loca­tion, the quiet ambiance, the amaz­ing gar­dens and easy access to the main beach.

Where I thought we'd be:

palazzo murat

palazzo murat

Where we wal­lowed in space and charm­ing (if not high style) décor:

palazzo murat room 43 living area

palazzo murat room 43 liv­ing area

palazzo murat - room 43 smaller bedroom

palazzo murat — room 43 smaller bedroom

palazzo murat room 43 kitchen

palazzo murat room 43 kitchen

palazzo murat room 43 small bathroom

palazzo murat room 43 small bathroom

With 14 foot plas­ter ceil­ings and elab­o­rate old mold­ings, this room is truly a gem — bet­ter than my pic­tures can show!

palazzo murat room 43 large bedroom

palazzo murat room 43 large bedroom

palazzo murat room 43 large bedroom

palazzo murat room 43 large bedroom

palazzo murat room 43 large bathroom

palazzo murat room 43 large bathroom

This bath­tub is 5 feet in diam­e­ter and nearly 3 feet deep!

palazzo murat room 43 large bathroom

palazzo murat room 43 large bathroom

palazzo murat room 43 view from the sofa

palazzo murat room 43 view from the sofa

And the out­door views — not too shabby…

palazzo murat room 43 view from the terrace, looking left

palazzo murat room 43 view from the ter­race, look­ing left

palazzo murat room 43 view from the terrace, looking right, with breakfast area below

palazzo murat room 43 view from the ter­race, look­ing right, with break­fast area below

The palazzo is jus­ti­fi­ably famous for its gar­dens. Al Palazzo Ris­torante sits within the gar­dens — best ser­vice and ambiance we expe­ri­ences in Italy, bar none. The food was lovely as well!

palazzo murat gardens

palazzo murat gardens

palazzo murat gardens

palazzo murat gardens

palazzo murat gardens

palazzo murat gardens

I covet these planters! There were dozens, all different.

palazzo murat gardens

palazzo murat gardens

palazzo murat gardens

palazzo murat gardens

palazzo murat gardens

palazzo murat gardens

And finally, a look at the inte­rior pub­lic spaces.  The lobby extends all along the gar­dens, with mul­ti­ple rooms to dine, relax, play chess or sim­ply be.

palazzo murat public spaces

palazzo murat pub­lic spaces

palazzo murat public spaces

palazzo murat pub­lic spaces

The Palazzo Murat is located three min­utes walk below the main road, which elim­i­nates road noise issues. It is two min­utes walk above the main beach via delight­ful stairs and alley­ways full of shops. This elim­i­nates noise from the beach and its adja­cent restau­rants.  Even the church ceases ring­ing its bells from 7pm to late morn­ing. Quiet com­fort is the byword at the Palazzo.

Go to Posi­tano (off sea­son) and stay at the Palazzo Murat. It is a gem!

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

la dolce vita

As you read this, I am wak­ing here:

palazzo murat

palazzo murat

in this room:

palazzo murat

palazzo murat

with these views:

view from palazzo murat

view from palazzo murat

garden at palazzo murat

gar­den at palazzo murat

I will have my own lovely pic­tures to share soon, but enjoy this taste of la dolce vita. Have a won­der­ful week!

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