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Kimpton Hotel’s Eye Candy Welcome Wagon

Who knew that the little honeys who opened the door for me everyday at Hotel Monaco in Seattle could inspire an entire blog post? It was the doormen’s dashing good looks and mannish abilities to pull off the color purple that won them a spot on my 17 Things I Love About Kimpton Hotels list from a few weeks ago. However, it was brought to my attention by our readers that I neglected to include one key element in my post: proof that “a piece of eye candy will open the door for you.”

Well, ladies, here’s your proof…

Firesky, Scottsdale, Ariz.


Hotel Allegro, Chicago


The Sky Hotel, Aspen, Colo.


The Muse Hotel, New York City


The Muse Hotel, New York City


Hotel Monaco, Seattle


Marlowe Hotel, Cambridge, Mass.


Hotel Palomar, Dallas


Alexis Hotel, Seattle


Alexis Hotel, Seattle



My name: Jennifer Gaines, but my friends call me Gaines, Jenni-Dallas or just plain Jenn.

(Find me on Twitter @jenngaines)

Travel ambitions: It's my mission to visit each of the New 7 Wonders and to step foot on every continent before my next milestone birthday.

Greatest travel lesson learned: Find the local hangouts to experience the real, true culture of a place. During a trip to Europe, my friends and I spent several days with a French family in the small town of Vichy. We had a private party in their family-run creperie, feasting on cheese-stuffed crepes and sampling wine that we picked up in the Bordeaux region a few days earlier. Their English wasn’t much better than my French, which is limited to a few well-known phrases from Moulin Rouge and the question: Parlez-vous anglais? (I'm proud to say that I can spout this question off in several different languages, and luckily most Europeans do indeed speak English!) After a few bottles of wine, the language barrier was hardly noticeable (slurring actually sounds the same in French!), and we managed to swap stories about life in other places. What a slice of local flavor!

My most beloved place in the whole world is: My grandparents place in Texas. It’s a 10-acre oasis in between two sprawling cities: Dallas and Fort Worth. A creek runs through their enormous backyard, where Granddad built a deck over the water. The entire place is shrouded with all types of trees (mainly pecan), blocking the Texas sun in the summer. Dusk is the best time to sit on the deck, drink a glass of ice tea and watch baby raccoons from the spring litter surround their back porch as Gram feeds them bread (no lie!). There will be dozens of raccoons eating on any given night. In the fall, my family gathers in the courtyard in front of their house for an annual “weenie roast.” Granddad lights the bonfire, and we roast dogs and s'mores. Yes, y’all, we’re from Texas!

Favorite way to get around: Well, I’m not much of a driver. I get lost easily and my tires have never come across a curb they didn’t want to get to know a little better. But, I do enjoy cruising around and listening to music. That said, I much rather explore a place by foot (with my iPod in tow) for a more intimate encounter.

View that took my breath away: Coming from Texas (where the view is wide but there’s not much to see), scenes from my new home of San Francisco never fail to amaze me. The city is a pedestrian’s dream, but don’t forget to turn around and look behind you as you meander through its neighborhoods. You won’t realize it, but you’ll be at the tip-top of a hill and the ocean will suddenly seem to be at eye level. Take a drive through the Presidio and over the Golden Gate Bridge where even more stunning views await!


Downtown Hotels

Anyone familiar with the Hotel Monaco (Kimpton) in downtown Chicago?
How do you think Hotel Monaco compares with Intercontinental Hotel downtown, in terms of location, niceness, etc. (aside from price issues). Any other suggestion for hotels in Loop or near Miracle Mile? Thanks.

Pet Friendly Hotels USA

I have stayed there and really enjoyed myself. The rooms are nice, the staff was accommodating and the location is good. I also like The James Hotel on East Ontario. Monaco versus Intercontinental? The Intercontinental could use some updating.

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