Friday, July 31, 2009

A Vacation Without Leaving the City

Our house is only moderately old, 1946, but has yet to have many fancy updates like insulation except the kitchen and dining room when we remodeled last year. So when temperatures start to climb in the summer, our house gets really hot. Even when it is only 75 degrees outside, our bedroom just roasts. I try all manner of evasive action; I keep the curtains shut, I close the window during the day, I turn a fan on us in the evening. Usually, it works out okay.

This week, not so much. With temperature threatening to reach into the hundreds, I did the smartest thing I could think of.

We checked into a hotel room.

Yet not just any hotel, I decided I want a little luxury, a little artistry and design in my 2 day staycation, my home away from home, my 15 minutes of being pampered, so I checked us into the Hotel Murano.

I love, love, love, the people that took over the Sheraton and turned it into the boutique art hotel The Murano. We have stayed at their two hotels in Portland (The Lucia and The Hotel Deluxe) and they all have lovely touches, including, not insignificantly, fabulous air conditioning.

Throw out all those green living ideals, immerse yourself in a huge carbon footprint. It was more than delightful. I would like to think the electricity in the hotel comes from large, majestic wind mill farms out on the blustery gorge on the border between Oregon and Washington, but I know better. It is so easy to drop your ideals when it comes to discomfort. I will be a good, green citizen, until I get hot. Now we have one more notch to add to our green belt; we have no A/C in our house. I was already bragging that since we don't have children we are leading the way towards a carbon neutral lifestyle, now I can throw in the fact that we don't give in to bourgeois comforts.

Except for the little part about going to the hotel for two days. That will be my little secret.

The Murano is a hotel really meant for artists, I think. Each floor is dedicated to a different glass artist and you are encouraged to flit from floor to floor and explore all of the art. The lobby is filled with fabulous pieces, including a Chuck Close portrait, a Karen LaMonte cast dress, and hands down my favorite lamp I have ever seen in my life, the Moooi Horse Lamp (retail $7,000). I have been lusting over this lamp in design magazines for several years. I already liked to frequent the bar in the lobby to get my lamp fix. Our friends Matt and Amy, were not so impressed by the lamp, but I got the impression Matt was interested in the anatomical correctness of the beast. I will say no more.

I also like the decor in the rooms. Nothing makes me gag more than checking into a middle of the road hotel with beige floral patterned polyester bed covers. Last night we pay-per-viewed State of Play (great movie, by the way) at the hotel and at one point the Jason Bateman character freaked out about the cheap hotel bedspreads and I squealed with snobbish delight because I had briefly thought about checking us into the Best Western because it was half the price and I saw a photo online of the rooms with the beige bedspreads and changed my mind.

I wanted to steal the turquoise chaise lounge in our room and the upholstered headboard, but instead, I will have to use them for design inspiration. The bedside lamps were neat too. You could light up just the bases for ambiance/night light. The room also came with an IPod radio and I forgot to bring mine and called the desk and they came upstairs with a complimentary Ipod (I chose the one loaded with classical and opera for kicks) to use during our stay. This is my kind if hotel.

The super bonus of the whole thing (except for the debit on my checking account) was that I had to get a slightly more expensive room since they were fairly booked up and we were on the top floor of the hotel with great views and breakfast was served in a lounge just down the hallway. Nice. Tell your friends to stay at the Murano!

To complete our perfect, second evening at the Murano, we opened a bottle of 2004 Le Vieux Donjon Chateauneuf-du-Pape that our friends Dave and Katy gave for us on our wedding 2 and a half years ago. We were originally saving it until we bought a second house, but that is on hold for a bit with the market and all and then we decided we were saving it until we were done with our yard remodel and as that is almost, but not quite done, and then we decided opening the bottle was a celebration in itself, so we went ahead and opened it!

I got a lot of smoky pepper and smooth tannins, a long finish and a little cherry, but not as much a fruit bomb and overwhelming as some other red wines we know, really complex in the way that everytime you took a sniff or drink, it was a little bit different. I did NOT get the tapenade or wild game on the nose that one reviewer got. I guess my palate still needs a lot of work.

We had room service bring us some, hot- out of the oven- cookies to go with the wine and the movie, and it was a perfect finish to a lovely staycation. Now I am back to reality at my messy, messy desk, a fan blowing stale air on me, and contractors pounding away on our new fence. The fence is nearly completed and I will be posting pics soon of our yard.


  1. Great idea, Jennevieve! I took a tour of some of the glass art in the Hotel, and have always wanted to stay there.

    Our house was built in the 50s with the same insulation problem so I totally relate. I wish we could have rented a hotel room, but we have our two dogs, and were looking after a friend's cat. Our house got up to 95 degrees inside -- not looking forward to that anytime soon.

  2. The reason I like French wines so much is that they AREN'T fruit bombs. Lots of Washington reds tend to be like (as my friend Matt puts it) "a bottle of barbecue sauce." Indelicate. So, even though it's unlikely that I'll ever have the occasion to get you another bottle of CDP, I will continue to bring the French reds to your place whenever I come!!

  3. Great blog, I saw this site with some useful info on Bedroom Chaise Lounge . Hope it helps.