Sleeping in an Art Gallery at The Henry Jones Art Hotel in Tasmania

The art was overwhelming, it was everywhere and I was wandering the hallways happily taking photos of everything. While this would be appropriate in an art museum, I was a guest at the hotel, specifically The Henry Jones Art Hotel in Hobart, Tasmania. Tasmania is an Australian island a short flight from Melbourne and Sydney and one stop on my RTW trip. With a rotating art collection of over 400 works of contemporary art scattered throughout the hallways, common areas and hotel rooms, I felt that this was more art gallery than hotel (there are only 56 rooms) and it was pretty cool to be staying here.  Showcasing emerging and established Tasmania artists, this is truly a local gem for art enthusiasts and collectors. The fact that it is also a luxury boutique hotel is a bonus!

The Henry Jones Art Hotel

The Henry Jones Art Hotel is made up of a few converted and restored warehouses on the waterfront

The Henry Jones Art Hotel collection

The Henry Jones Art Hotel hallway art

Location

The Henry Jones Art Hotel is located in a converted number of warehouses formerly the ILX Jam Factory along the Hobart waterfront. The restaurants and markets of Salamanca are a short (10 minutes) walk away.  The local sightseeing and MONA (wait to you read about that art museum!) boats are steps from the hotel.  It was a fabulous location for my quick three day visit.

Lobby – Arrival

I walked into the hotel with my bags and was happily greeted by the front desk staff.  As the hotel is small and was full the night before, a room was not ready for my early arrival so they stored my bags. The staff was able to book my tours for my stay and provided good information of the area before I left to explore the area. They don’t get many American guests so I was a bit of an oddity but had a lovely chat with the front desk girl who had just returned from a visit to New York City.  The lobby itself is packed full of art that constantly changes – the black and red leather furniture blended well with the stone and wood throughout the area.

Henry Jones Art Hotel

The lobby of the Henry Jones Art Hotel – the art constantly changes the scene

Henry Jones Art Hotel inside courtyard space

The Henry Jones Art Hotel inside courtyard open space

The Henry Jones Art Hotel lobby

Lobby space and front door with all important umbrellas!

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Categories: Australia, luxury hotel, Tasmania, Travel | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Solo Dining London: Holborn Dining Room at Rosewood London

Solo Dining in London can be tricky, at least for me over the years, as I’ve often felt really out of place. Through trial and error, I’ve developed my solo dining routine of places that I like and feel comfortable – places where the food is wonderful, the service attentive and the atmosphere trendy/cool but also cozy/comfortable.  For my last visit to London, I would stay in Holborn for the first time at The Rosewood London and break with routine.  With my first stay in Holborn, I had so many plans to try different restaurants but was so taken by restaurant at the hotel, Holborn Dining Room that I would dine there multiple times during the week (and do room service too!).  The locally sourced, seasonal British food was really good. Yes, I just said “British food was good, really good”.  If you think otherwise, you haven’t been to London in a long time as the food scene is genuinely exciting with each visit.

Holborn Dining Room

Outside entry to the Holborn Dining Room

First Impressions

The restaurant can be seen as you walk outside on High Holborn and you can enter either via the hotel (as guest) from the staircase or alternatively the main door from the street just inside the archway.  While I know that the hotel renovation has been spectacular, I didn’t know what to expect from the restaurant space but was quickly impressed.

Rosewood London stairs Holborn Dining Room

The Rosewood London Hotel staircase to the Holborn Dining Room

Holborn Dining Room

Holborn Dining Room Communal Table

What I first noticed was how big the restaurant was, which surprised me, as well as the interior design of woods, glass and red leather.  It has separate spaces to break up the space – the bar, different sections and the outdoor patio terrace.  Despite its high ceilings and open space, it was a rather cozy environment. I saw the restaurant in bright light each morning so I could appreciate the interior design and function a bit more than at night when it was candle lit and more intimate.

Holborn Dining Room at The Rosewood London

The Holborn Dining Room Bar at The Rosewood London

Holborn Dining Room

Group spaces at high top dining tables in the Holborn Dining Room

Holborn Dining Room terrace Rosewood London

The terrace patio space at the Holborn Dining Room in the Rosewood London Hotel courtyard

Breakfast

Since I could walk to work rather than take the tube one stop, I was able to have a bit more time for breakfast.  Upon entry, I was greeted by the host/hostess and the smell of burnt toast (this was a recurring smell during my morning visits and most likely a one-off but it made me smile).  They each offered me my choice of table (at 8 am, you can sit anywhere) as well as a plethora of newspapers to read.

There is no breakfast buffet here it is ala carte and surprisingly reasonably priced (for a hotel).  I would keep it simple with either eggs (£4.50) or pancakes (£7.50) and vary it by adding one or more sides –  toast, potatoes, juice (£3.50) and maybe expense account bacon (£6.00).  The pancakes took two tries to get it right as raspberry pancakes in the U.S. are not quite the same in the U.K. (the U.K. like it much, much sweeter as you can see below – more raspberry soup with a side of pancakes.  Other hotels served it this way too). Service was quick, attentive and working in teams, constantly available.

Holborn Dining Room breakfast

Eggs, Bacon, Potatoes at The Holborn Dining Room

Holborn Dining Room pancakes

Fresh raspberries pureed over pancakes at The Holborn Dining Room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holborn Dining Room toast breakfast

Soft locally sourced Abernethy butter with morning toast

Dinner

On a Wednesday night after my spa treatment in Senses, I would stay on property for dinner.  I sat alone at a half booth with American businessmen on my left and a birthday celebration for three on my right.  There are many seating options – at the bar, a table or the long communal high top table. My server explained the menu and was easy to converse with.  At no time did I feel weird dining solo as I was able to be a bit of a hotel guest mixed in with the locals.  The room was a good mix of hotel guests, business people, visitors and locals.

Holborn Dining Room dinner table for two

Table for two at night – Holborn Dining Room

 

As with breakfast, I looked forward to the bread and the local soft delicious Abernethy butter.  At dinner, I got a full loaf of bread all to myself, my inner carb loving fat girl was thrilled!

Bread Butter Holborn Dining Room

A loaf of bread at dinner -glad I didn’t have to share it!

My fillet of cod with chorizo and tomatoes (£21.75) was simply light, airy and delightful followed by a  Valrhona chocolate pot with sweet cream dessert (£6.50) which was simply decadent.  The house red wine (£5) accompaniment worked to cap off a great spa + dinner experience.

Holborn Dining Room Dinner Cod

Fillet Cod with Chorizo and Tomatoes at The Holborn Dining Room

Valrhona Chocolate Pot Holborn Dining Room

Valrhona Chocolate Pot  with sweet cream and chocolate pieces at the Holborn Dining Room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Holborn Dining Room with it’s varied British fare menu and attentive service would definitely bring me back on my next visit on my own dime (or quid).  Whoever said British food isn’t good hasn’t been here yet!

 

Categories: London, luxury hotel, Restaurants, Travel | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Boutique Hotels Interior Design – The Great Indoors #FriFotos

From the moment I exit the taxi cab, I enter a world of comfort, design and a style that I long to be a part of – in my mind –  the cool kids club. The boutique hotel spaces are magazine worthy and I want to be in the middle of it all – jump inside and just be pretty. They are put together in such a way that the execution of the colors, the patterns and the details all make sense in the space (if I tried this at home, stripes, pattern and textures, I think it would be a disaster).  For this week’s FriFotos theme of “The Great Indoors”,  I thought I’d show you my favorite indoor spaces from my favorite boutique hotels – The Firmdale Hotels (London) and The Kimpton Hotels (U.S.). My dream home makeover would be styled by Firmdale or Kimpton (sadly, they don’t have a design service but each has their own partnerships in fabric and accessories).

Ben Franklin Hotel Palomar

Busts of Ben Franklin in the lobby of the Hotel Palomar Philly

 

Firmdale Hotels in London

I discovered the Firmdale Hotels in London a bit accidentally in my research years ago.  I was bored with the US Chain hotels, this was London, I wanted glamour and style not cookie cutter beige in a small European room. I found it all at The Firmdales – a small UK group of eight individual hotels in London owned and designed by Kit Kemp in a modern English decor.  In the heart of Soho, I would be surrounded by restaurants, clubs, near shopping and theatres, it just seemed perfect for my solo jaunts.  After my first stay at The Soho Hotel – the service, the style, the privacy all lured me in and I was hooked (plus the best hotel toiletries). Goodbye hotel loyalty points! The Firmdale hotels are so very home away from home for me – small properties that are full of life all day long – they have drawing rooms to entertain friends or just sit read a book/have a drink, a few have movie screening rooms  and the restaurant/bar is a lively scene (maybe a celebrity sighting or two). Two London Firmdale properties that I love are The Charlotte Street and The Soho Hotel.

Charlotte Street lounge space

Comfortable lounge space to meet friends for drinks and conversation

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Looking Up in Downtown Portland – What Will You Find?

Do you need a new way to “see” a city, to explore the nooks and crannies of it all and come away with a different experience than the next guy?  A simple solution is to “LOOK UP!”  Easy in theory but when I walk the streets everyone seems to be looking down, no longer at their feet to avoid eye contact but looking down at their phones to tweet, like, share, text or follow directions.  Looking down makes you miss so much of what’s above you – not at eye level but way up toward the sky.  With my camera in hand, I wandered the downtown streets of Portland enamoured by the historic buildings, the architectural details and the fire escape stairs.  Downtown Portland, like most cities, will surprise you when you look up.  Here’s what I saw looking up in downtown Portland.

Portland downtown lights

Looking Up in Downtown Portland

 

The Architectural Detail

Both of my hotel stays, last year at Hotel Vintage Plaza Portland and this year at The Nines, were in restored historic buildings. Walking around downtown, past the malls, you will find small historic building and then the grand buildings, each with interesting design and architectural detail.  I was geeking out at the cool photo opportunities as the light was fading from the city during my walk.

Portland Architecture Details

 

Portland Architecture

The details in sun and shadow in Portland

Portland Architecture Column

So many details in the building and the column

Portland Architecture downtown

Looking up at the corners of the building in Portland

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Categories: Look Up and See, Musings, Photography, Portland, Oregon | Tags: , , | Leave a comment