Tag Archives: coffee maker

‘The Island Inn’, Monhegan Island, Maine — The Ins & Outs (But All Good).

by Anura Guruge


Click pictures to ENLARGE.

Attribution WILL be enforced.








Our Room; #27 on the 2nd floor.

That is Teischan waving at me from the window …




THE VIEW


The interior …


Some of the art.


Staying at ‘The Island Inn‘, on the waterfront of Monhegan Island, Maine, is, without caveats a glorious experience.

We stayed there for two nights, July 26 – 27, 2017, and loved every minute of it.

The setting, the service and the sense of serenity is exceptional.

It is not the most luxurious hotel I have stayed in, but it is hard to beat in terms of what it offers in terms of views, coziness, comfort and laid-backness.

There are really NO negatives about this ‘Inn’. The only thing that maybe they should do better is catering for kids during dinner — but then, again, I have to confess that Teischan is a fussier/pickier eater than most.

As far as I am concerned it is all good. I would go back in an heartbeat. Would love to stay there longer (but at over $400 a night (with taxes) it is quite an indulgence).

It is different, not in a good or bad way, but in interesting ways. So, my goal here is to share with you some of these interesting differences.

>> There are no TVs in the hotel, in the rooms or in the public areas. Yes, no TV. Not a problem, and quite cute — just different. [Yes, they do have TV on the island via satellite.] The Wi-Fi, despite what they say on their Website, is NOT BAD at all, at all. I have had worse, much worse in hotels — just even in the last year. So, you can, of course, check the news and watch the stock market. But, as I was chatting with a few, it must have been strange and difficult on 9/11 (since they did not have Wi-Fi at the time). It appears that that was indeed the case, especially with some New Yorkers staying at the hotel at the time.

>> The rooms have NO balconies. I should have noticed that on the pictures of the Web. But, I didn’t. The view from the window was amazing and they do have a fire escape that you can go upon to take in the scenery and take some pictures.

>> There is no coffee machine or microwave in the room, but they do have complimentary coffee, in the lobby in the morning. I did not see an ironing board, iron or hairdryer BUT I was not looking for them.

>> There are no clocks or alarms in the rooms, and the clocks on the mantle downstairs were ornamental as opposed to timepieces. Time is not meant to be of consequence while you are on the Island, though, alas, this is no longer possible since everybody (I the lone exception) is permanently tethered  to a mobile phone.

>> Our room was big enough, even with three of us and a cot. The attached bathroom was spacious, airy and had a million dollar view. [Some rooms do not have a full bathroom. Given that freshwater is scarce they send most of their laundry, in large hampers, to the mainland, daily. That is expensive.]

>> The included, full breakfast, with à la carte eggs and pancakes, in addition to a very good buffet is excellent. Really good.

>> The dinner menu is sophisticated and the food was wonderful. Would eat there every night. A bit limited for kids.

>> The service is impeccable, extremely friendly and helpful.

>> The freely available water, from their private well, in very congenial glass tumblers was always welcome after hiking around the Island.

So, now you know what to expect. IF you can you really should spend a few nights at this Inn. It will change your life, for the better.


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by Anura Guruge

“Mohegan Sun” — Staying At The New “Earth Tower”.

by Anura Guruge


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Attribution WILL be enforced.







The ‘Earth Tower’ at ‘Mohegan Sun’ (CT) is new. It was completed in November 2016. It is the second tower at Mohegan and considerably shorter and stouter than the sweeping and elegant ‘Sky Tower’. I think they can extend it upwards in the future if they see a need.

We stayed in a Double Queen room, in the ‘Earth Tower’, for 4-nights after Christmas, December 28, 2016 to January 1, 2017. When making the reservation (eventually by phone after checking it out online) I purposefully chose the ‘Earth Tower’ because it was new. I don’t think I was given an option as to ‘view’. The room assigned to us, after waiting in line for 20 minutes, was on the 3rd floor sans a river-view. If we go there again I will make sure to specify that I want a room with river-view. Also a higher floor — just for a more expansive view.

But, it was NOT bad at all. Definitely an unmistakable air of freshness, light and modernity.

The Good Things:

1.  The room was a decent size, maybe a tad bigger than average for a double queen.

2.  Good lighting, lots of light … very fresh and welcoming.

3.  Well appointed, very well lit bathroom.

4.  Tons of built in USB ports for charging devices. YES. YES. YES.

5.  ‘Earth Tower’ is much closer to the self-parking ‘Winter Garage’ than the ‘Sky Tower’ — and that was good because we used the car every day.

6.  Electronic ‘Do Not’ disturb sign.

7.  Coffee maker and fridge.

8.  Built-in (though we didn’t have a need for one and Teischan used it to keep her snacks).

9.  Good water pressure on the shower.

10.  Easy enough to get to the restaurant and shops using the ‘Winter Garage’ entrance.

[11.  They sent us a FREE chocolate cake the first night. That was a bonus!]

Not So Good Things:

1.  No exhaust fan in the bathroom (and why this is so in hotels is an eternal mystery to me even after 60 years of staying in hotels).

2.  No drawers — just shelves.

3.  Bathroom cabinetry doesn’t extend all the way to the walls — so stuff falls off on the (dirty) floor.

4.  Still the usual coffee condiment packets that result in either the sweetener or the sugar sachets from getting needlessly thrown away.

5.  The pool at the ‘Earth Tower’ is a joke (as I spelled out in this post).

6.  Inexplicably, only one call button for the 4 elevators — when there should be one on each wall as is the case at the ‘Sky Tower’.


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by Anura Guruge

Wanton Waste Of Sugar/Sweetener By Hotels Is A Crime Against Humanity!

by Anura Guruge


sugar3


I am talking about the plastic enclosed condiment kits provided by hotels as part of their coffee maker service.

My GRIPE is the fact that each packet contains BOTH a sachet of sugar and a sachet of sweetener — and in the case of the more generous ones, two sachets of sugar and two sachets of sweetener.

Though I am sure that there are some that will use BOTH the sugar and the sweetener to add taste to their coffee many will use just ONE — either the sugar or the sweetener. And, moreover, there will be those that don’t use either, but just opt for the creamer.

What kills me is what happens to the sachets that are left UNUSED.

I do NOT believe that room service collects them and recycles them. There will, obviously, be some ‘safety’ and ‘hygiene’ issues with that.

I am fairly sure that the cleaners just toss the unused sachets in the garbage.

THAT IS SUCH A WASTE.

Why can’t we have a better scheme.

I, for one, would NOT have a problem if hotels had dispensers like the ones we find at even ‘high-end’ restaurants. IF we will use them in restaurants why should we have an issue using them in a hotel room? IF they, in any way, look tampered or soiled YOU could, of course, call room service for more.

Or we can have SEPARATE sugar and sweetener condiment packages. I will just use the sweetener packages in the room and the sugar ones will remain unopened.

This is an outrage. A crime against humanity.

There are millions around the world that would LOVE this sugar/sweetener we are throwing away (and PLEASE don’t even start the debate about sugar being bad for you since that is not what this is about).

THINK. Thinking is good for you.


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by Anura Guruge

Novotel Times Square, New York — Good, BUT Poor Room Design Choices.

by Anura Guruge


Click any & all pictures to ENLARGE.

Attribution WILL be enforced.

You can’t beat the location. Just a couple of blocks north of Times Square. [The hotel is to the top left, if you haven’t spotted the vertical sign as yet.]

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You can’t beat the view either. This was our views from a “Time Square View” room on the 31st floor.

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This is what I could see, from our window, with my Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 at 400mm zoom.

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At 800mm zoom it was just like being down there with ‘them’.


We spent 3 days in New York City, prior to 2016 New Year’s Eve, staying (2 nights) at the Novotel Times Square Hotel. I booked and paid for a ‘Times Square View‘ room with 2 Queens. When we visit New York City the kids and I like a room with a ‘Times Square View’ (notwithstanding the higher cost). Deanna always says that it is a waste of money but then again always agrees that the view is ‘wonderful’ once we get to the room. In previous visits we had stayed at the Marriott and DoubleTree, both in Times Square. Having lived in Paris and with my adoptive parents having lived there from 1978 to 1992, I was no stranger to Novotel. I first stayed in a Novotel, as it happened in Paris, in 1983 when I was over there to do a seminar and my adoptive parents were in Sri Lanka.

Overall the Novotel Times Square is a great experience, modern, bright, very-hip and airy — with exceptionally friendly and helpful staff.

We could not complain about our Times Square VIEW from the room they gave us on the 31st floor (two floors from the top, in that it has 33 floors). Moreover, they gave us this room at 11:30 am when we turned up (with our baggage) though the nominal check-in is slated at 3pm. We fully expected to check-in our baggage and come back later for a room. Not so. VERY FRIENDLY. Very nice. They saw the kids. They chatted with the kids. They gave us a room on the 31st floor. Cool.

So overall NOT bad at all. We would stay there again.

The PROS
1. Great location. 3 blocks max. from Times Square and easy access to Radio City and Rockefeller Center. There is, furthermore, a McDonald’s and (discount) convenience store on the same block — which is great when you are travelling with kids.

2. The view from our “Times Square View” room definitely was of Times Square, and from the 31st floor it was quite spectacular. The view of the Hudson from the windows by the elevator was also cool.

3. Friendly, helpful and ever cheerful staff, some of them French and others that could speak French, which meant that there was a French flavor that permeated the lobby area because you would invariably hear French being spoken or that unmistakable French accent.

4. Very compelling, very modern lobby/bar/restaurant area.

5. Very fine breakfast buffet, with hot American fare and a delectable selection of European cold cuts and cheese. (Also see below.)

The CONS
1. No coffee maker (let alone a microwave) in the room. [Luckily the girls agreed that they could go and get us coffee from McDonald’s. That worked out well.]

2. The room, with two queens, was small, not cramped BUT with four of us you felt that you had to hunch your shoulders to make yourself small.

3. The lighting bathroom — from BUT one ‘low energy’ light frame around the bathroom mirror — was woeful and TOTALLY inadequate. See picture in gallery below. You can’t miss it. This was beyond a joke. It was DARK in the bathroom. You were constantly reaching out to see if there was another light switch. This was stupid.

4. The Wi-Fi was adequate BUT each time you signed-in (which was quite often) they tried, hard, to sell you an upgrade for $15/day. When I am paying $500/night for a room it kind of feels insulting to be asked to pay more to get better Wi-Fi.

5. Lobby is NOT on street level and one cannot get from room to street WITHOUT changing elevators. The Lobby is effectively 7 floors up from the street. 2 slow elevators Lobby <-> street. There were lines for these 2 elevators. To get to the stairs, you had to go OUTSIDE (in the rain) — and they were service/emergency stairs, badly maintained. That was a hassle (though I took the stairs, for the exercise, a few times).

6. Paucity of drawers, especially by the beds! Yes, very modern shelves BUT no drawers and what was infuriating was that there was clearly plenty of space, below the shelves, to fit in some nice, useful drawers. I like to have a drawer by my bed to put my wallet, glasses etc. That was again stupid. See the gallery below to see what I mean.

7. The breakfast buffet as mentioned above was very good, but at nearly $29 per adult (before tip) is expensive THOUGH the kids (under 16) eat FREE made it worthwhile for us (with our 2).

8. $1 an item check-in fee for baggage. Not unreasonable and I normally give this as a tip anyway, BUT seems ‘cheap’ to ask guests to pay this just after they have paid $1,300+ for a 2 night stay.


Click to ENLARGE.

Inside the room.


The Hotel.


More views from the room.


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by Anura Guruge