Articles in Checking In

Even Hotel Rockville, Maryland – Review


If someone had told me a few weeks ago that I would be on a mat on a sidewalk of a busy street doing yoga, I would have thought that person a bit odd.  Yet, there I was, on a yoga mat, outside the brand new Even Hotel in Rockville, Maryland, participating in my first-ever class.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Allow me to first describe the hotel.
What we have …

The House Hotel, Nisantasi, Istanbul – Review


Celebrated Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk describes Istanbul as “an archipelago of neighborhoods” and, from my personal experience, they all exhibit their own unique character. Nisantasi, part of the Sisli quarter on the European side of Istanbul, has always been an upscale neighborhood known for its cafés and exclusive shops.  Here on Abdi İpekçi Street, Istanbul’s premier shopping street, is one of the four House Hotel locations.
The low-key entrance, one that doesn’t …

Claridge’s, London – Hotel Review

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The butler did it.
There, I said it, and I’m not even the writer of cheap pulp fiction or detective novels.
Come to think of it, the butler brought me ginger tea with honey each evening, created an ad hoc brunch when several friends stopped by one Sunday morning without warning, and turned my Wagamama’s takeout one evening into an elegant feast.
But I digress.

Claridge’s, located in the heart of Mayfair, just off …

Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski, Munich, Germany – Hotel Review


A children’s fairy tale reflects on how a chair may have been too large, another too small, and the third “just right.” The  Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski, a hotel I’ve stayed at regularly since childhood, has that feeling about it, and may be why it has become my “Stammhotel,” or regular hotel, in Munich, the city where I attended university and visit several times a year.
When the property opened in 1858, …

Millennium Hotel Minneapolis, Minneapolis, Minnesota – Review


Situated on Nicolette Mall, the locally-celebrated and renowned street that runs through the heart of downtown Minneapolis, the Millennium Hotel Minneapolis sits at the very head of it all.  Indeed, one can take in vistas of the city’s skyscrapers and downtown area from a north-facing room or from the various meeting and event spaces on the 14th floor, including the Millennium’s iconic Dome room.
The lobby’s lounge area was both large …

Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains, St. Moritz, Switzerland – Review


There’s a certain look one would expect from a hotel in St. Moritz.  A backdrop of mountains is a must.  A massive façade with an imposing presence and a few towers thrown in for good measure is another.  There must also be snow, the grounds groomed perfectly with it, creating a pristine white lawn.  Finally, there needs to be a rather formal décor paired with a sense of the contemporary …

Villa Quaranta Park Hotel, Verona, Italy – Review

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On one of my first driving trips as an adult, I headed from Austria through the Alto Adige or Südtirol in Italy towards Milan with a stop near Verona.  Sadly it was only for one night but I stayed at a hotel outside the city, Villa Quaranta.  The memories of my arrival are still with me.  It was late afternoon on a hot day, I checked into my room, changed …