Red Red Wine

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What is it with Moms and wine?  I’ve always enjoyed wine.  But since I’ve become a Mom, me and wine are kind of tight.  We used to buy a bottle here and there for when we had dinner parties or a special occasion.  Maybe we’d treat ourselves in a restaurant.  But now, I have a rack in the basement.  Well, actually we have (ahem) two racks.  I keep bottles of sauvignon blanc in the fridge; one open and one ready to open.  We have nice bottles we save for that aforementioned special occasion but now we keep “everyday wine” in the house.  Do we have a problem?  And what is the correlation with the arrival of our kids on the scene?

Lets think about this.  We all know that Moms + Wine is a thing.  Its a running gag.  A joke.  Moms like wine.  Moms need wine to cope.  I don’t think that I need wine more now that I’ve had kids (well, maybe a little more….) but I can say that I like it more.  Did this love affair kick in when my kids were born and I was nursing so I couldn’t very well jump right back into scotch on the rocks territory?  Was that it?  Its like booze light.  You’re practically encouraged to indulge in a glass of wine or two while you’re breastfeeding.

There is always the intimation that Moms need wine to cope with all the sh*t (figuratively AND literally) that their kids throw at them.  I wouldn’t say that I need wine to dull the senses from kid-related trauma as much as it is a nice treat at the end of a long day of wearing so many hats and juggling so many people that need your undivided attention.  Its like going for a pedicure, except for the fact that you enjoy it sitting at your kitchen table and no one will rub your feet.

I’ve grown so accustomed to that lovely glass of wine at the end of a long day that on a recent business trip in NYC very late one night, I was ready for a glass of wine.  The hotel we were at was under receivership or up for sale or some other such nonsense and the hotel bar was closed.  I found myself in a greasy pizza take out joint in the Village and lo and behold in the cooler next to the diet coke were tiny little bottles of the sh*ttiest pinot grigio one could find.  I squealed when I saw it!  I took a little mini-bottle to the cashier along with my contraband full gluten/ all dairy/ full grease NYC cheese pizza 1am dinner only to be completely denied!

“Sorry Ma’am” (ugh, now I’m really in Mom territory), “But I can’t let you take this wine out of here.  You have to drink it now.”

So that was then I had to face the facts.  How much has this wine indulgence of mine actually become a problem?  Did I need my “pedicure” so bad after a long day that I was willing to chug-a-lug a crap mini-bottle of PG in front of 3 dudes in the middle of a greasy Greenwich Village pizza joint?

“Um. No thanks.”  I said as I tromped out with my slice.

I got back to the hotel hoping and praying the bar was miraculously open.  No luck.  Now I’m sure you’re all thinking, “But you’re in NYC.  The City that Never Sleeps?  C’mon R&R Mom hit a bar!”  But I’m a girl.  Alone.  On the road.  Who’s over 40.  And Married.  And a total scaredy cat.  So I went back to my room and double bolted the door.  I opened the minibar.  No dice.  The whole receivership/ sale drama caused the grand full hotel mini-bar clean out earlier that day.  I needed my fix.  It was late.  I had jetlag.  It was a long rough day.  I wanted ONE glass of wine.  Is that so wrong????

Just then I turned to see there on the desk, a pile of room service plates with their nifty silver covers.  Huh.  I wasn’t in all day.  Who ordered these?  Stinky cheese, warm fruit and stale crackers.  But there, right beside it stood the most beautiful bottle of mediocre chianti that I have ever seen.  Well, being the Canadian that I am I immediately picked up the phone and called the reception:

“I’m sorry. (we Canadians ALWAYS say that) But it seems someone has mistakenly delivered some room service to my room.  Some stinky cheese and warm fruit.  But there’s also a full UNOPENED bottle of wine.” I said.

“Was there a note?” said the somewhat irritated front desk worker.

“Uhhh, no.”

“Then I guess its complimentary.”

Huh, well I guess it was the WINE FAIRY!!!!!!  Thank YOU beloved WINE FAIRY!!!!  You heard my plea and took pity on this old bag and her addiction.  I cracked that bottle, poured a solid 4 fingers, drank half and fell fast asleep.

And that my friends is just one more story of Moms and their relationship with wine.

Hotel Awards

Regular followers of the R&R Mom know I am quite vocal about service when traveling, especially in hotels and on planes.  So it came to me that I should probably recognize some of my favorite places to stay with my first ever (and probably only) Hotel Amenities Awards.  So without further ado (even though there is hardly any “ado” anyways), here we go:

Best Hotel BedThe Four Seasons Los Angeles

Let’s face it.  The reason MOST of us are staying at a hotel is for a place to sleep so the quality of the bed, bedding, mattress AND pillows is of the utmost.  The bed at the Four Seasons LA has the perfect pillow to bed size ratio and is just cushy and cozy enough to lull this jetlagged old bag off to a deep slumber.

Sleep...

Sleep…

Best Hotel Bathroom – TIE – The Sunset Marquis West Hollywood and The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

The Sunset Marquis wins for best bathtub.  The Cosmopolitan wins for sheer size and layout.

Best Hotel Bathroom Amenities – TIE – The Chateau Marmont West Hollywood and the W Hotel Hong Kong

The Kiehls products stacked up at the Chateau Marmont overrides the tired old bathrooms in desperate need of an upgrade.  At the W in Hong Kong, its all about the quantity of items.  Dental kits, shaving kits, bathing kits.  This place would be heaven if you lost your luggage.

Best Hotel Towels Claridges London

Big, soft, fluffy.  That in and of itself in a hotel towel is miraculous – but add in a fresh lavender scent and I’m in heaven.

Best Hotel MiniBarThe Thief Oslo

Clothing.  In the minibar.  Are you freaking kidding me?  It was like shopping in your room.  Another respite for weary luggageless travelers.

Best Breakfast The Sofitel Buenos Aires

No matter what you order, they bring croissants and pain au chocolat and those awesome Argentine treats Alfajores (chocolate covered dulce de leche cookies – shut. the. f^&%. up they are delicious).  Not to mention the entire pot of dulce de leche on the table to slather on your toast.  Disclaimer – I was pregnant when I stayed here, can you tell?

Best Hotel RestaurantGemma at The Bowery New York

Baked eggs with avocado and prosciutto for breakfast?  Do I need to say more?

Best Hotel Bar – TIE Lobby Bar at The Bowery New York and Vertigo at The Banyan Tree Bangkok

You have to battle to get a table after 10pm but it is one of the coziest, sexiest bars I’ve ever been too.  Vertigo is on the 61st floor overlooking Bangkok.  Who cares what the drinks are like.  You’re so high up, you’re already buzzing from lack of oxygen!

Best Hotel Swimming Pool – TIE – The Sunset Marquis West Hollywood and The Four Seasons Los Angeles

Of course LA hotels have the best pools.  The Sunset Marquis has 2 but I prefer the upper pool near the restaurant as opposed to the one in the courtyard.  More sun and more fun.  The pool at the Four Seasons is on the 4th floor, gets sun all day and is sheltered from the wind enough that its usable almost year round.

Best Hotel SpaEvason Six Senses Hua Hin Thailand

Outdoors comes indoors as geckos and frogs hop around the spa.  The Thai Yoga Massage was easily one of the best I’ve ever had.

 

 

 

 

Heartbreak Hotel

I stay in hotels a lot.  All kinds of hotels running the spectrum of number of stars.  In my opinion that makes me kind of an expert on what makes a hotel awesome (or more likely, not so awesome).  The real question is – when is anyone going to ask me my opinion?  Probably never.  But, guess what?  That’s why God invented Blogs, so people like me can blab away with their opinion, especially on the bad things hotels offer to cause the travel heartbreak.  Right?

#2 - Hotel Guest

#2 – Hotel Guest

So here goes, my top ten tips to hoteliers on what they need to do to make their hotel awesome….

1. Hooks – I hate hanging my clothes in a hotel closet.  Especially when I’m only there for like 12 hours total.  A hook or two by the door would be awesome!

2. WiFi – hotel wifi has come a long way from the days of the dreaded firewall that blocked email and other such shenanigans.  But man, why does it still cost $35 a day.  The sound of the words Free WiFi is like a choir of angels singing…

3. Counter Space in the Bathroom – What’s with this?  People travelling – especially girls – are carrying toiletries and cosmetics.  Why is counter space always an issue in a hotel?  Big sinks, fancy tissue holders, soap dishes.  I need space for my stuff so if you’re not going to give me drawers in the bathroom, then how about a little counter space.  Same applies for shelf space in the shower.

… and speaking of showers….

4. Rain Showers – I HATE these shower heads.  They are a pain in the ass especially when you’re having a non-hairwashing day.  HATE.  Its true.

5. Mini Bars – Ok, I kinda like mini-bars sometimes but lately I keep encountering an empty fridge in lieu of the stocked mini-bar.  I rarely dip in and sometimes like to self cater a little, so finding middle ground here would be awesome.  A little bottled water (still and sparkling if you don’t mind), coconut water and maybe some booze, but leave a little space for some of my own snacks.  How about that?

6. Slippers.  Barefeet in a hotel room = EUW.  Slippers = Yes please!

7. Amenities – I’m all for the boutique brands for the bathroom amenities.  Love them.  But FORGET it if they contain anything rose scented.  Seriously, the perfumey products are a bad idea.  PLUS, I haven’t met a dude yet that wants to use gardenia scented shampoo.  Keep it simple.  Clean, mild scents are a much better way to go.

8. The Hotel Car – Who gets to use it?  What’s the point?  Yes, I see your Bentley parked out front, but if the chances of me using it are nil, then get it out of my face.

9. Breakfast – Make it available.  Make it good.  Make it quick.  Doesn’t have to be free but highway robbery would be frowned upon.

10. Music – Don’t forget, I work in the music business so I appreciate the ambiance that comes with music.  However, I am not down with an elevator that could double as a disco (I’m looking at you W Hotel in Hong Kong) or walking into the room to a full frontal assault of horrible smooth jazz courtesy of the turn down service.  Neither are probably necessary, like at all.

So there it is.  I won’t charge for my consulting services on such matters.  Just upgrade me next time I’m through.

XO