New York, Nantucket and Long Island
Here I am back at the desk after two weeks holiday. Where, you ask? New York, Nantucket and Long Island. Not our first choice, but an old hotel friend was getting married in New York where he lives now, so it seemed like a good idea. We wouldn't have missed it for the world. But that's another story; the amazing wedding reception in a Museum on the Bowery. Wow.
Wouldn't it make sense to add a few days on to the stay in Manhattan? We know New York reasonably well - used to go there once a year to visit travel agents to persuade them to send their wise and wealthy clients to Linthwaite – and we love the buzz, but to justify the flight, a few more days....
We'd been to New England before and had been to Martha's Vineyard, an easy ferry ride form the mainland, but had always been tantalised by Nantucket a bit further out in the Atlantic. You may not remember an American heavy but melodic rock band called Mountain (like an American Led Zeppelin) but they had recorded a great song called “Nantucket Sleighride” and so; imagine my delight to find you can fly Jetblue from JFK for not many pounds, in just 45 minutes. Much easier than driving and getting the ferry.
So how do we choose where we stay? Same as you: Guides, Trip Advisor, Google; you know. Jean is very particular about hotels. Housekeeping is paramount but reviews don't rate housekeeping. I look for style and hospitality. I want to learn something from staying in someone else's pub.
In New York we were torn between the Standard (amazing views, Meatpacker's district, young trendy and probably noisy, a design statement) and Giraffe (used to be the one, faded a bit, but good reviews). TripAdvisor convinced us that Giraffe would be best choice; after all you just want to get a peaceful night's sleep, not be too hot, and feel safe. In New York these are all things I have not got right sometimes in the past. Giraffe was solid, dependable, unspectacular, but it worked. In a nutshell the Volvo of hotels rather than the Lamborghini. And free wifi, buffet breakfast AND free evening nibbles with a glass of wine, made it beyond expectation; something we work on at Linthwaite.
In Nantucket, the first choice, Union Street Inn, could only take us for 3 nights so we booked the Veranda for the other 3 nights. They were less than half a mile from each other but it's interesting when you stay in a different part of town, adds a new perspective. Please don't try this in Windermere - you will only be disappointed. Having had a few days to cogitate the two “Inns” as the Americans like to call them, the conclusion is if you are over 50 you'll prefer the former; under 50, you'll prefer the latter. Why? It's about style that emanates from the top. Not style necessarily of the interior design, though that's important, but style of operation. Little things that we innkeepers decide to do. Both Inns have great staff, are nice places, provide a nice breakfast, both are proud of what they do, one owner managed (guess which) one Manager managed. Both well managed.
To Long Island: a Marriott you say? What on earth were they doing going to a Marriott? Well we'd done a bit of luxury and it's always good to stay at a new bed factory my wife says because they are clean and functional. We generally pick new builds for some reason. And you can park. Breakfast is generally free but full of e numbers. Loads of space in the “suite”. They are all suites these days. Worked well. No bath. In many respects the room was better than the other three places we stayed at in New York. And it was a third of the price. But it was soulless whilst being technically faultless. And there's the rub. We wouldn't be happy staying in those places for very long. But they are the Kia equivalent in car terms. A Kia driver is probably not interested in cars, they just need to get from A to B. Same with hotels.
Now back at the desk reading all that you, dear readers, have written on your comment sheets while I've been away and I'm thinking, how would I have felt about my stay if I'd just been to Linthwaite? We take the criticism seriously. It hurts, and it pleases. Feedback is essential and it's imperative to listen.
After these hotel experiences I came to the conclusion that all we really want in an hotel (dinner aside, because none of these provided it) in no particular order of preference are:
- Ability to have a Peaceful Night's Sleep
- Good comfy bed and covers; some like their bed hard, some soft, some in between, but you can't get it right for everyone.
- Loads of hot water, a good shower preferred; Jean says a bath is essential, ah well. Fluffy towels, bathrobes.
- Beyond expectation level of staff hospitality, attitude: can do.
- Wifi and TV that works
Simple isn't it? But everyone's list will be different.
So, if Linthwaite was a car what make and which model would it be?
Answers on a postcard or by email, Twitter, Facebook to Linthwaite. Thanks!
Coming soon: eating out in America.