Articles in Checking In

Mark Hopkins San Francisco, California – Hotel Review


There are some hotels that, upon arrival, immediately make the guest feel at home. One of these is the Mark Hopkins in San Francisco, an InterContinental property I like to visit whenever possible. Over the past decade I’ve stayed here many times and the three main attractions for me are the view from the Top of the Mark, the view from the rooms, and the executive lounge on the ground …

Ellenborough Park, Cheltenham, England – Hotel Review


Visiting the English countryside has always been a somewhat alluring notion for me, so when the opportunity presented itself to visit the Cotswolds, an area of south central England, my mind filled with images of bucolic rolling hills, villages and hamlets, shopkeepers and old churches, lords and ladies in ancient manor houses.
On a pleasant sunny morning,  I set off on the First Great Western Train to Cheltenham in the Cotswolds.
The …

Warwick San Francisco, California – Hotel Review

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It was a sunny, crisp day as I made my way through the crowded streets of downtown San Francisco toward the Warwick San Francisco, situated on the other side of Powell Street from the area’s iconic Union Square.
The historic establishment, which first opened in 1913 as the Maryland Hotel, sits on a busy street packed with small shops and restaurants. The lobby of the hotel is small and cozy, with …

Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu, China – Hotel Review


Chengdu, the Chinese terminus of the ancient Southern Silk Road, is one of China’s fastest growing cities.  Overlooking Tianfu Square in the center of the city is the brand new Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu, a modern skyscraper on the site of what once was a palace, in a city known as much for its pandas as for being a modern industrial center.
Indeed, Chengdu residents often say they are “living the panda life,” …

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 …