THE IVY, San Diego, CA What a nice surprise I had after arbitrarily picking this hotel on a recent trip to the Fancy Food Show. I told everyone I spoke to back home that I did not want to come home. The style was “all me!” The room came complete with not a mini, but a full bar, (center photo) with fridge and a gournet coffee maker plus a tray of goodies that included: snacks of all kinds, chocolate, mints, useful kits, a pack of cards, and audaciously, sex toys for one and another for couples. My room was on the inside of the hotel, meaning a wall of windows opened up onto a 3-story courtyard, so you got to play voyeur—or employ the light-eliminating curtain front. The bath featured toiletries from the mindfully crafted and beautfifully packaged Greek company, Korres. The glass shower door featured a cutout that you could hang the bath mat from, but also allowed you to turn on the water before you got inside. Clever. The bed, bedspread, and pillows coaxed you to dreamland, and the satellite radio that came on one of the channels on the flat screen tv completed the chilled-out feeling of the room. I asked and was given a grand tour of the hotel and was blown away by the suites, and apartment, which had a mosaic tile bathroom that was the size of a studio apartment.
TOP NOTCH Once I discovered the Quarter Kitchen, I decided that it was THE place to be, for lunch, dinner or drinks. Chef Damon Gordon, who trained with Alain Ducasse and Jeffrey Chodorow, was in charge here, and I was extremely impressed not only at the menu, but at the friendly and faultless service and by the artful display of all the dishes, as seen in my minimalist caesar salad. Even the butter was memorable. The roof bar had a great view of the city plus nice lounging areas one of which had a really cool blue-flame-on-white-rocks fire pit, that was actually necessary and a welcome perk at night, which in January were a little chilly. There is also a pool on the roof, and a private cabana that can be accessed through one of the suites, done up mod-Morroccan style.
EXTRA PERKS I could not resist taking the free gas-guzzling Escalade service down to the convention center—it was nice to arrive in style! You can also arrange to have your own butler, to pack, iron, or perform other butler services, all included in the room price.
WEEKENDS I was told that the weekends can get pretty wild at The Ivy, and was sorry that I could not be there for the festitvities. That is when the two clubs are open. Next time!