When it comes to lodging, we are unabashed fans of the Kimpton boutique hotel family. We randomly stayed at one in Chicago some years back and immediately got hooked. (In fact, we’ve rhapsodized about Kimptons before, right on this very blog.) We love that each place has its own quirky personality; we love that the customer service is always stellar; we love the wine happy hour that happens every day at 5pm, at every Kimpton. So imagine our happiness, picture our unreserved glee…when we learned that Pittsburgh would be getting a Kimpton of its own!
The Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh opened a couple weeks into 2015, and I knew we had to stay there. So, as a holiday surprise, I booked Fox and myself a room for the day after Valentine’s Day. (Because I’m a romantic, but also a deal-hunter.)
Our room wasn’t quite ready when we got to the hotel, so the folks at the desk gave us a pair of free drink vouchers to use at the hotel restaurant’s bar (more on this later, but for now, all you need to know is that its name is The Commoner). Fox had a totally delicious Enoch’s Penicillin, which was made with Cutty Sark scotch, Drambuie, lemon, ginger, and rosemary.
After our drinks, we came back up to the desk, at which point we were told, “Since you’ve had to wait, we’ve upgraded you from a King Room to a Corner King Room!”
We were pretty excited as we walked toward this mysterious upgraded room. Incidentally, I’d heard of “new car smell,” but never “new hotel smell.” This hallway smelled of new hotel smell. It is glorious; it’s sort of oaky, but not canned oak scent — like real lumber oak. Anyhow…so what does a Corner King Room look like?
After we got settled in, we went back down to the Commoner for a proper dinner. The full contents of this dinner, I won’t be sharing — not because they were bad, they were awesome, but because we ate charcuterie, and I’ll be writing that up separately tomorrow in the third installment of our Charcuterie Face-Off of 2015.
Suffice it to say that we started with a scrumptious, rich order of chopped liver mousse with rye toast, whole grain mustard, and onion marmalade. We also had an order of “roots and tubers,” with roasted baby carrots, beets, sunchokes, parsnips, and a celery root puree…
…and we ended with one of the best desserts I’ve had in a long time: the Sticky Toffee Pudding, which consisted of a perfectly tender steamed date cake topped with toffee sauce and rye vanilla ice cream.
Oh, and in between? Fox got a free glass of champagne with a bitters-soaked sugar cube in it. There was a delay of, like, 5 minutes while Fox waited for the wine she’d ordered, and “to make up for it,” our terrific server gave Fox a free other drink! Ahh, Kimpton, how do you know us so well?
And then, we paid up, packed up, and checked out to return to our normal lives. Of all the Kimptons we’ve stayed at, from Chicago to Seattle to DC to NYC, this one is our new favorite, and not just because it’s a mere bus ride away! It’s super nice, the restaurant downstairs is the best one I’ve been to at a Kimpton, and the cocktail program is really strong, too! We highly recommend that you make this hotel a destination, whether you’re visiting town from afar, or like us, just popping a few miles down the road.