Friday Links to Love

 

Plaza Food Hall

Stories & Links I Loved This Week: 

  • The Plaza Food Hall, which completely reminds me of Harrod's in London, is gaining Luke's Lobster & No. 7 Sub as tenants! AND William Greenberg, which has the absolute BEST black and white cookie in New York! The area is now known as Todd English at the Plaza Food Halls. Full story on Gothamist
  • I loved this USA Today Story about hotel breakfast costs: Would you pay $15 for oatmeal? (Hell no! Go to Starbucks!)
  • A fantastic map on The Bowery Boys mapping out where Mark Twain lived, worked, and played in New York City.  For all Mark Twain (how can you not be?) & NYC fans. Their free podcast on Mark Twain's New York available on iTunes is great. 
  • There's no better mommy site for product reviews than Cool Mom Picks. Here is their 2011 Holiday Gift Guide.
  • The Intercontinental Moscow opened this week! I loved my time at the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow but am excited to see this property at some point. My posts on Moscow are here.

The Huffington Post: Two Days in Moscow

My visit to Moscow was such a whirlwind, incredible experience. We stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Moscow, which added to the "can't believe I'm here" feeling.  I posted room photos on a previous blog about the hotel.  You can see more of my tips for visiting Moscow here on The Huffington Post.

"Golden cathedrals and historic buildings aside, Moscow is experiencing a stirring revival. It is a city moving away from its traditional roots and towards vibrant new art and restaurant scenes. Admittedly, I didn't know much about Russia before my recent visit. My remedy: A quick immersion.

Standing on Red Square and glimpsing the early spring sun reflecting off the brilliant colors of St. Basil's Cathedral took my breath away. Like the layers of the onion-shaped domes dotting the skyline, Moscow began to quickly unravel itself. New adventures were layered over old history."

Read more here

With Andy in Moscow:

 

Ritz-Carlton Moscow Room Photos

Staying at the Ritz-Carlton Moscow was a high moment of the year so far.  It just didn't disappoint me in any way.  The views of Red Square were every bit as magical as the photos I'd seen and the room was a wonderful break from touring Moscow jet-lagged.  The feeling was old-world Moscow meets modern, luxury-hungry Moscow.  I was surprised to learn the hotel had been open for less than 5 years, because it captured that history-book Moscow feel that I wanted to get.

Moscow reminded me of a big reason why I travel...to make sense of what I don't know and to become inspired to learn more.  Red Square and St. Basil's Cathedral was as colorful as I'd always seen in photos but standing there literally took my breath away. 

I never once felt the apprehension I had felt from my pre-trip research.  The city's buildings weren't nearly as industrial as I thought they'd be, though there were those buildings.

Huge bathroom, great products, bathrobes, and towels

A sitting room begging for tea to be served

Another view of the sitting room, TV and bed

Next stop, Moscow

We are leaving New York tomorrow for our week-long visit to Dubai! I am extremely excited to check out all the unbelievable hotels in Dubai.  But first, we're stopping in Moscow to stay at the Ritz-Carlton Moscow.  Moscow isn't the point of our trip, however, it's a convenient and exciting stop on our way to the UAE.  I hired a guide to pick us up and take us through the Kremlin, beautiful subway stations, and tell us the best local spot for dinner.

How could you not get excited about a hotel that could more appropriately be described as a palace?  It's right on the Red Square, with views of the Kremlin from many of the rooms and the rooftop lounge.

For my pre-trip pedicure today, I chose OPI's An Affair in Red Square...perfect!

If It's Not Better than my Home, I Don't Want to Go

When I was home in Arizona, I met my friend Jena for a walk with her new baby.  We've been friends now for about 13 years and I always love seeing her.  I was telling her about all my different projects and focus on hotels. 

She said something that really resonated with me.  "If a hotel isn't a lot better than my home, I don't want to stay there." 

This is my reality now.  I've gotten to stay at some incredible hotels around the world and loved it.  In college, I stayed at some really terrible hostels while backpacking and loved every minute of it then.  But not anymore.

My apartment in New York is small and I can't wait for a new one next year.  But it's my home, my bed, my DVR, my books, my clothes, my refrigerator.  I just don't want to go through the hassle of traveling unless it's to stay somewhere really distinctive, fabulous, and unique to the location.  This doesn't mean five stars only.  It means I need the experience to be worth the trade-off of leaving my home.

I am going to Moscow in a couple of weeks.  The process of getting a Russian visa was convoluted and heinous, to be nice.  But I'm staying at the Ritz-Carlton Moscow at the edge of the Red Square and the Kremlin.  When I wanted to throw in the towel, I thought of the history, beauty, and opportunity to learn the story of Moscow in this setting.  The trade-off is worth it.

Jena & me at our ten-year high school reunion