Since our shortened anniversary trip, we’ve been mostly home except for errands and the occasional socially distanced and outdoor gathering with no more than four friends or family members. While it’s kept us safe (and hopefully others as well), it’s also been a bit disheartening to continually cancel the travel plans we’d made pre-COVID. We’re generally in a fortunate position with regard to the pandemic; the effect of no travel and a lot of uncertainty has been having little to look forward to outside the daily routine. For a couple who lives small outside of travel, it’s had more than a little impact.
We decided to do something without incurring the two-week isolation required by our city after traveling to many states. So we cashed in a whole lot of points for two nights in a suite at the Park Hyatt downtown. We figured they would have robust procedures in place (they did) and the large room meant we felt little pressure to go anywhere (we didn’t).
We took the train downtown after closing out the work day. Check-in was a breeze thanks to the great staff. We got settled into our room and ordered a snack (salmon beignets and a tarte flambee with bacon and chives, with two glasses of chardonnay) via the modified room service (call ahead, pick up at the restaurant front desk). It hit the spot and tided us over until our late dinner.
Around 9pm, we walked next door to the Peninsula Hotel for dinner at Shanghai Terrace. We were seated in an isolated area in a very large room (not outside due to cold winds). We decided against getting Peking duck in favor of variety. We started with two kinds of dumplings — lobster/chicken with truffles, and classic pork — before our main courses of beef tenderloin in a black pepper sauce, shredded duck in hoisin sauce, and red rice. We paired it all with a young Crozes-Hermitage from the Rhone Valley and it was all excellent. We walked back to our room very full and without any intention of leaving again until check-out.
We slept in, a luxury in itself as I normally wake up very early to take care of our cats. We had coffee in the room before exercising in the spacious bedroom. After getting cleaned up, we had brunch at NoMI Garden, the hotel’s outdoor restaurant. The weather cooperated and the restaurant had several heaters going to make sure guests were comfortable. After filling up on eggs benedict, a bacon/avocado/egg scramble, and coffee, we went back up to our room for the afternoon.
We played a mystery puzzle game for a couple of hours, then Virginia went to take a luxurious soak while I read in the living room (both with a glass of champagne to further revel in the experience). Basically, we did nothing and it was glorious.
We had dinner at NoMI Garden as well, getting a table far from the walking paths. They’re opening library wines for purchase by the glass each night, and this night was a 1996 Bordeaux (sadly, I didn’t catch the name). In any event, the taste knocked us out and we quickly settled on steak frites and that wine for our main. Before that, we tried two of their sushi rolls (futomaki and salmon avocado) with a glass of Sancerre. We closed with chocolate desserts and Port before waddling our way back to our room.
We woke up earlier as we planned to leave after breakfast at NoMI Garden. Virginia got the scramble I’d had the day before while I went for avocado toast and bacon. We then packed up and checked out for our quick return to the current normalcy, stopping for groceries on the way. It was a welcome respite from routine and a good way to test the waters of a hotel stay.