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31 Mar 2015

NEW YORK LAYOVER

New York. All my life I've been hearing about how awesome NY is, how cool, how inspiring, how diverse. The city had a lot to live up to, in my eyes. I was very excited about this trip, as was Jarv, who had lived and worked on Wall Street for a year and was one of the first to tell me that I had to go. But with only 24 hours in the city before flying on to our next destination, we wondered how we could cram everything we wanted to do, see and eat into one day without missing out. Well, of course we would miss out, you just can't do New York in one day - but I have to say, I think we took a pretty good run at it.

Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || British Airways First, LHR to JFK
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || British Airways First, LHR to JFK
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || British Airways First, LHR to JFK
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Andaz hotel on Wall Street, New York
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Andaz hotel on Wall Street, New York
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Andaz hotel on Wall Street, New York
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Andaz hotel on Wall Street, New York
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Andaz hotel on Wall Street, New York
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Andaz hotel on Wall Street, New York
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || ABC Kitchen by Jean-Georges, New York
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Wall Street, New York
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || subway, New York
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || New York skyline at the 9/11 memorial
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || New York skyline at the 9/11 memorial
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || New York, Katz's Deli
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || New York, Katz's Deli
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || New York, Katz's Deli, matzo ball soup
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || New York, Katz's Deli, pastrami galore
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || New York city in the snow
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || New York skyscrapers

This is how we spent just under 24 hours in New York:

Sleep: the Andaz hotel on Wall Street. It's young, hip and convenient, plus the room we had was fantastic. There was so much space, a 360 degree rotating cabinet, a massive walk in shower, and free snacks and soft drinks from the minibar plus one alcoholic drink (we chose the largest bottle - the vodka - and had two of our local friends come over before dinner for drinks). They also always serve complimentary coffee and cookies in the lobby.

Eat: For dinner, we ate at Jean-Georges' ABC Kitchen, an organic food lover's dream. They do tend to go on about where your produce comes from (anyone watch Portlandia? "Is the chicken local? Did it get to play with other chickens?"). Food was pretty good. Drinks were strong. Setting was lovely.

For lunch the next day, Katz's Deli. You know the one, from the infamous When Harry Met Sally scene where Meg Ryan fakes an orgasm and the man at the next table says, "I'll have what she's having!" Well, oh. My. God. It was the best pastrami sandwich I've ever had.

Il Laboratorio del Gelato, right opposite the street from Katz's, also does the most fantastic gelato in enticing flavours such as avocado, blood orange, lychee, dulce de leche and so many more.

See: we didn't get around to much sightseeing, but we did walk from our hotel to the 9/11 memorial site, which was eerily beautiful, framed by snow dusted trees and skyscraper giants.

Drink: We missed our reservation at PDT and Raines Law Room was too busy for walk-ins; instead we ambled down a few blocks towards a very different type of drinking hole where live (rock, usually) music is often played on stage. The name eludes me right now but if I find out, I'll make sure to add it.

Shop: Century 21 has myriad designer discounts and bargains - we spent a little too much of our time here! TJ Maxx (or TK Maxx as we know it in the UK) of course is also worth a look, but didn't hold quite as many good brands as Century 21.

26 Mar 2015

EMERALD

Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || wearing an ASOS scuba dress with Zara heels and Pretty Polly tights.
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || wearing an ASOS scuba dress with Zara heels and Pretty Polly tights.
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || wearing an ASOS scuba dress with Zara heels and Pretty Polly tights.
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || wearing an ASOS scuba dress with Zara heels and Pretty Polly tights.
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || wearing an ASOS scuba dress with Zara heels and Pretty Polly tights.
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || wearing an ASOS scuba dress with Zara heels and Pretty Polly tights.

Photographer: Roger Bool

Dress: ASOS
Tights: Pretty Polly
Heels: Zara, similar here

Scuba is such a smooth and flexible material. I had this dressed shoved unceremoniously in a pile of clothing I had to sort through, and when I 'unfolded' it to hang it up, it just sprang back to life, not a crease or wrinkle to be seen. Not my usual type of party piece, what with the puffed up crew neckline, but it is the most gorgeous, elegant colour and feels wonderful to slip into.

23 Mar 2015

CONRAD, ST. JAMES

Another day, another hotel. The third and final qualifying stay to renew Jarv's gold status with Hilton, we spent a weekend cosied up in the comfort of the Conrad, St. James.

Newly renovated and rebranded from an Intercontinental, the hotel is conveniently located a mere few steps from St. James' station. The entrance to the lobby is bright and airy, leading up to a luxurious lounge area where afternoon tea is served whilst a harpist plays gently in the background.

Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || lobby at the Conrad hotel, St. James, London
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || lobby at the Conrad hotel, St. James, London

We were (easily) convinced to upgrade to a King Grand Deluxe Room, so after being checked in at the Executive Lounge and snacking on some afternoon tea snacks, we made our way up.

Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Conrad hotel, St. James, London
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || King Grand Deluxe at the Conrad hotel, St. James, London
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || King Grand Deluxe at the Conrad hotel, St. James, London
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || King Grand Deluxe at the Conrad hotel, St. James, London
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || King Grand Deluxe at the Conrad hotel, St. James, London
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || King Grand Deluxe at the Conrad hotel, St. James, London

After some obligatory photo-taking (before we made a mess of the room), I flopped down on the bed to watch TV (check out that flat screen below!) whilst Jarv instantly fell asleep.

Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || King Grand Deluxe at the Conrad hotel, St. James, London
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || King Grand Deluxe at the Conrad hotel, St. James, London

At cocktail o'clock, we  headed down to the Executive Lounge for drinks and canapes. So ensued an evening of G&Ts, lengthy discussions and a LOT of canapes (not pictured).

Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Executive Lounge at the Conrad hotel, St. James, London
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Executive Lounge at the Conrad hotel, St. James, London

Back to the lounge for breakfast in the morning, after which we migrated towards the more private room off the side, me to blog on one of the computers whilst Jarv worked on a trip report on the other.

Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Executive Lounge at the Conrad hotel, St. James, London
Euriental || fashion & luxury travel || Executive Lounge at the Conrad hotel, St. James, London

The only slightly sour note was after checkout, when I realised I'd left my iPhone charger plugged in next to the bed. This led to more than a week-long back and forth-ing (they insisted nothing had been found or logged as left behind, though I knew with certainty I had left it). Eventually they offered to send a replacement charger, a conclusion that I think shouldn't have taken so long to reach. However, the problem was rectified, which is the important thing!

All in all, although generally considered more of a business hotel, I'd say it's absolutely fine for out of town-ers visiting on a leisure trip. It's ideally situated for quick travel to central London with easy access to both East and West London. Staff are polite and unobtrusive, and I absolutely recommend upgrading if you can - the rooms are much more spacious and the rain shower (or marble bath) is the answer to your tired body's prayers after a long day running around the city.