Book Your Stay At The Library Hotel

IMG_0720 (2)

Every company needs to send their staff to the Library Hotel in NYC to see what customer service is. All companies should set their standards to the level that which the Library Hotel has. Their customer service is impeccable. I can’t say this person was good or that person was fine. Every single person that works there is exceptional. Every single one. It’s unbelievable.

First of all the establishment is adorable and library themed as you can sense from the name. We were greeted with a smile when we arrived and felt right at home immediately. We came to the Library Hotel to celebrate my husband Nick’s 40th birthday. He’s a self-proclaimed “book nerd” and had been dying to stay here. So we booked a stay (during the Hemmingway exhibit at the JP Morgan Library so we could attend that).

Our room was super cute and we were on the 9th floor in a 20th century history inspired room. They even surprised us with a bottle of Prosecco to celebrate. The amenities there are great. It’s the perfect place for business people to stay because breakfast is included plus a wine and cheese reception.

The first day we were there we checked out the Hemmingway exhibit then headed back to our room. We then went to the 2nd floor for the wine & cheese reception from 5-8pm. Yes its 3 hours! They had an incredible spread of cheeses, crackers, fruits, nuts and snacks as well as wines and prosecco. We walked in, made a plate each and ordered our drink. After that the girls that work there would come around constantly to all the guests to fill their glasses. I swear they try and get you drunk. They are so accommodating and so service oriented. Even if your glass is half full they would fill it up for you right away. So we had some snacks and a couple glasses of Prosecco then we headed off to dinner at the 21 Club.

IMG_2697 (2)

When we came back we headed up to the 14th floor to the Rooftop Bar and Lounge which is amazing. They have a couple different rooms to sit in that include fireplaces and of course more books. There are books in every single room there. We enjoyed a little night cap there and then headed up to our room. When we arrived turn down service had occurred. Which we knew happened but never to this extent. Yes the bed was turned down and chocolates left for us. However they also gave new towels and freshened up the room. But the incredible part was that they set mood lighting so you walk in and the room is lightly dimmed and they put the radio on to light jazz. Imagine yourself walking back to your room perfectly lit with light jazz playing. Never had we experienced this anywhere. Their little touches like this were consistent throughout our 2 night stay.

The next morning we woke up and enjoyed a continental breakfast which again was far more than we could have imagined. Tons of pastries, every kind of bagel, fruit, and Nutella packets you name it. Oh did I mention they have a full on coffee/tea station? You can have a latte, cappuccino, Americano, you name it you can make it in their machine and they were wonderful. Coffee, tea and cookies are available 24-7 on the 2nd floor so you can get your coffee fix any time.After breakfast we read a little on the 14th floor and just relaxed in the hotel for the day. Then we went up around 6 for the wine and cheese reception and then headed to dinner.

We were so sad to leave the following day. Everyone made us feel like it was our home and so amazing. My husband said he’s never stayed at the Plaza but thinks the Library Hotel has got to be better. They are truly top notch.

IMG_2708 (2)

I’m fearful that by writing this the prices will go up and I’ll never be able to get a room here again because it will always be booked. Which they deserve. Good for them, bad for me.

Special thanks to Rob, Arman, Bryan, the other doorman (sorry I forgot your name), Jessica and the 2 guys at the front desk I asked about nail salons. You all made our stay extra special.

Check out this awesome video of the Library Hotel!

Musings of Living in a Hotel for 6 Weeks – Embassy Suites

What do you do when you are going to undergo major home renovations? Where do you live? We crossed that path last October when we decided to move into my dad’s house after he passed away. The house needed a lot of work and since it wasn’t going to be worked on until the winter and we lived an hour away we thought it best to find a place to live nearby. We really just needed a place to shower until one bathroom was done. This way we were close and could be at the house daily but also not have to deal with the daily drive, weather, etc. We researched a number of places in the Piscataway, NJ area and found the Embassy Suites on Centennial Avenue in Piscataway.

How perfect would it be to have a separate bedroom and living area since we were going to be living there 6 weeks? My hubby and I went there to take a tour of the hotel as well as check out their rooms. We knew it was the place. Plus, since we were going to be staying more than 30 days we also got a special deal. Oh and free breakfast? Yes! Count me in!

So for the next 6 weeks we lived in a hotel. Which sounds crazy I know. And it was, kind of. Because I mean who lives in a hotel? My hubby kept calling himself Royal Tenenbaum. But it was so close to where we needed to be and it really was like our home. We got to know everyone that worked there over our stay. Every person we met and got to know was nicer than the next. We especially got to know the staff at breakfast (they have a great cooked to order breakfast daily) Agnes, Hernando, Margot as well as the all the bartenders Carlos, Tyrell and Wendy. And you can’t forget Sue the waitress in the bar area.  Every night we both received a free cocktail (which if you knew about all we went with in our renovations you know we needed it) and snacks as part of their daily evening managers reception. Our room was always spotless but we always knew when Emma cleaned it. She took care of little details, plus used Fabuloso which smelled so good. For Valentine’s Day she made us a heart out of a napkin and left Valentine’s Day candies. I learned that not all hotels have bad food. My past experiences with hotel food have not been so hot. Seriously… this hotel has the most amazing French Onion soup ever. In fact, all their food is really good. And trust me we tried everything! The portions are huge and enough to share. I also learned that if I purchase food or drink I should charge it all to my room because I will earn extra points. Were if I just charged it I wouldn’t get anything. But as a Hilton Honors member I get extra points any time I charge to my room. Done and done.

The Embassy Suites really was our home away from home. We were treated like family. Every day we were greeted by staff. They might have been thinking oh here are those crazy people just living in a hotel. But we came to find out a number of people actually lived there. Mainly during the week because they worked at a nearby company but some for years. We got to know the other people that stayed there as well.

We eventually moved into our house but when it came time to have our floors redone we needed to move out again and guess where we went? Of course! We didn’t want to deal with the smells, chemicals from the floors so we moved on back to the good ole’ Embassy Suites. Everyone was so excited to see us (or at least they made us feel that way).

I’m happy to report that we are all settled in at our home now and couldn’t be happier. Although I am craving some French Onion soup so I think we may have to run over to our old stomping grounds.

 

CAMBIO

 

Change.

 

Most people don’t like it. Many avoid it. Very few try and do it. Those that do… are pretty amazing in my book. I admire people that take a stand (whether I agree with it or not) on what they believe in. I took a stand in 2010 to help the unemployed community in New Jersey and get American’s back to work.

 

I also admire community. Towns that come together to support local businesses, communities of people who are out of work, people with similar backgrounds/beliefs and most recently… a tight knit community I was fortunate to meet while in Miami.

 

My husband and I love to eat with the locals when we travel and since we were in Miami we needed to have traditional Cuban food. After asking around we learned that Versailles (located in Little Havana) was the place to eat in Miami. We were also told to make sure we had a cup of coffee next door after our meal.

 

So on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 my husband and I left our hotel, hopped in a taxi and headed to Versailles. Where we had a pretty amazing meal. We then did as we were told and went next door (operated by the same family) and had coffee. My husband had the traditional Cuban Café, while I opted for the Café Con Leche with evaporated milk (it really does make all the difference). It was hands down the best cup of coffee I ever had. I digress.

 

While we stood at the outdoor café sipping our coffee and my husband smoking a cigar, I noticed all the men outside were sharing coffee. A man would have a big cup of coffee then pour a little into small cups and pass around to everyone. They were a community. I asked one of the men what they were drinking and it was just a larger version of what my husband had. Somehow this man and I began talking (although he didn’t speak much English). Despite our language barriers we were able to communicate.

 

He was Cuban. He began to tell me how all the men standing there were political prisoners from Cuba. Every Wednesday at sundown this group of Cuban men gather together, share coffee and host a vigil for those still imprisoned in Cuba and those who have passed.

 

One by one more men joined the group. A few wives were there as well. The gentleman introduced us to everyone that came over. Some spoke English, most did not, yet we were able to communicate. That man was in prison for 27 years, that man 19 years with his wife. The stories were incredible. What were the odds that I would be in this place at this time to experience something so incredible.

 

It came time for the vigil and they asked us to participate. We were both given a candle. The vigil was done in Spanish, followed by the Cuban anthem. Throughout our talk they stressed the importance of change. We gave our candles back and one of the men came over to me, took his white bracelet off and gave it to me. It said CAMBIO. Which translates to CHANGE.

 

60 students (and probably more) were arrested in Cuba for wearing this white CAMBIO bracelet. It is considered a criminal offense in Cuba as freedom of speech is prohibited. I found this video regarding the bracelet’s being worn in Cuba.

14,000 men and boys were executed in Cuba in the 1960’s and this group of men survived.

 

I admire their community and their desire for change.

 

InterContinental Miami

 

When I was in college I was in Delta Phi Epsilon. A few months ago I was asked to sit on the International Governing Board for Delta Phi Epsilon. Earlier this month my husband and I flew out to Miami to attend the 2012 Delta Phi Epsilon Convention being held at the InterContinental Miami.

 

The moment we arrived to the moment we left nothing was less than amazing. We walked in to the beautiful lobby and checked in at the front desk. To our surprise we had a suite with Club Lounge access.

The suite was incredible! All I kept saying was why would anyone stay anywhere else. The suite had a his and hers bathroom as well as his and hers closets, a living room, foyer and a large bedroom. Not to mention a gorgeous view of the Biscayne Bay.

 

The staff was incredible helpful at the front desk, concierge, the pool area, restaurants, I mean everyone. I even had the opportunity to meet the Marketing & Communications Manager at the hotel. I was tweeting the whole time I was there and we ended up meeting up. Ahh I love social media!

 

So I mentioned we had a suite but what is the Club Lounge access you ask? We had complimentary breakfast every day, complimentary tea time as well as a happy hour. The staff in the lounge were very helpful when asking their opinions on what to do and where to eat in the area.

The pool was beautiful and overlooked the bay. The outdoor area was very well maintained and the bartenders outside made a mean mojito.

 

I heard through the grapevine that they are working on some renovations and will be showcasing them in the fall. I can’t wait to return. I can’t imagine it getting better than it already is.

 

A little more about the InterContinental Miami:

 

Stylish and Elegant Miami Accommodations

Rising 34 stories above shimmering Biscayne Bay, the InterContinental Miami brings a new level of elegance to Miami’s downtown hotel accommodations. We offer 641 spacious guest rooms, including 34 suites and 103 Club InterContinental rooms. Whether in town for a wedding,   business meeting,  or simply to enjoy the breathtaking location with one of our vacation packages,  you’ll unwind in spacious guest rooms and suites that are among the largest in Miami.

 

Club Level

 

Spacious luxurious guest room with contemporary amenities and decor overlooking beautiful Biscayne Bay. Access to the InterContinental Club Lounge on the 29th floor offering complimentary Continental Breakfast, beverages throughout the day and Hors oeuvres in the evening hours.

 

 

*Disclaimer – I was not required to write this post. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Top 10 Minnesota Picks

Ahhh Minnesotahhh! The land of 10,000 lakes, walleye pike, wild rice and 10 other things that are my personal faves. My mom is from Minnesota so I’ve been visiting family there for years and wanted to share some of my personal fave things about the great state.

 

10. The Saint Paul Hotel & The St. Paul Grill – I make sure to schedule a Sunday into any trip to MN I take so I can head to The St. Paul Grill for brunch which is located in the Saint Paul Hotel. My favorite item is their sausage gravy and biscuits. It is out of this world! The gravy is a spicy cream sauce that is to die for. They also provide a little pastry tray for the table which has chocolate croissants, sticky buns and more.

 

9. Cheese Curds – Fried cheese curds to be exact. The first time I ever had cheese curds was at the Mall of America, although you can usually find them at their State Fair. During a recent trip to Minnesota I was pleasantly surprised that the hotel we stayed at (Ramada MOA) offered fried cheese curds at their restaurant. Score!

 

8. Mall of America – How could I write about Minnesota without including the largest mall in the US? Not possible! Not only is this the one stop spot for shopping cause ever store known to man is there, but there’s a theme park, shows, LEGO Land, restaurants galore and more. Plus as I mentioned above the location of my first cheese curd experience.

 

7. Illume – Minnesota is home of Illume candles. They have the most amazing fragrances and their diffusers last forever. I adore them. You may read more about my love for Illume in my previous blog post HERE.

 

6. Bridgeman’s – The famous ice cream locale for Minnesotans. A chain throughout the State that has been slowly diminishing unfortunately. They have the best Butter Brickle ice cream ever! Plus they make a mean Turtle Sundae. Now if only they would open in NJ or ship to me.

 

5. Bakers Square – If you want pie, and who doesn’t want pie, then Baker’s Square is the spot. The Caramel Pecan Supreme is my absolute fave.  Their Candy Cane holiday pie sounds delish though.

 

4. Patina – I love love love this store! They have the cutest finds. They sell everything from bridal bingo to kids toys, cookbooks and lotions to purses and tee-shirts. I never walk out empty handed in this store. Such a cute store. I frequent the Highland Village location but they have a few stores scattered throughout the State.

 

3. Your Best Face (YBF) – Another great brand based in Minnesota. I came across them on Twitter and fell in love with them. You may read more about them in this previous post I wrote about them HERE. Great skincare, super moisturizing and smells like homemade biscotti. Yum!

 

2. The Lexington – You’ve got to go to “The Lex” when you’re in St. Paul. Established in 1935 they are a classic! Any occassion is a good occassion to be at “The Lex”. I personally love their Filet Mignon and they make a mean dirty martini. It’s very reminiscent of the “The Oak Room” in New York City.

 

1. My Grandma – I saved the best for last! No hyperlink here. 🙂 My grandma will be 95 this February and she is a total rockstar. Enough said.

 

From food to family and shopping in between, Minnesota’s got it all.