Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Watch House -- London, England

This is a very cool little coffee place stuck inside, well, a watch house.  It was right on the way from my hotel to the office .. but I would have walked a couple blocks out of my way for it.  I don't know what they do differently with their coffee, but the Americanos had an amazing crema on the top.  No idea how they did it.

The place fits three tables or so, with maybe seating for seven people inside.  A clever touch is that they've got hardwired USB ports in the walls, right there, so that as you sit and enjoy that Americano you can charge your phone up.  No problem, no adapter needed.

Hand & Marigold Free House -- London, England

This could also be called the Goldilocks Pub, because it was "just right" in terms of size and atmosphere and attitude.  North of here, you're closer to the Tower Bridge area, and those bars are a little snooty -- catering to the after-work professional crowd.  South of here gets a little scummy.  This is right in the middle, down a side street.

You definitely get the "authentic British pub experience," here.  A bunch of old guys arguing, well, who knows what -- likely sports teams, or politics, or old movies.  Meanwhile, on the other side, there's a Tuesday night poker game starting up.  Couples wander in, spot the piles of board games on shelves in the back, and have a beer while playing a quick game of Clue.

This is the perfect place to sit after work and have a beer.  If you want to be alone, no one minds.  If you want to get into the discussion with the old men, we come on over.  Just right.

Hampton Inn Bellevue -- Bellevue, WA

Note to self: Definitely a good choice next time.

Definitely a place for business folk.  There's a nice big desk right in the middle of the room, so you can work yourself into an early grave.  Or you can move over to the little sofa and work yourself to death over there in a more relaxing manner.  It was nicely located to be able to get around the area, as long as you have a car.

Super 8 Berkeley -- Berkeley, CA

Note to self:  Actually, yeah, not bad at all.

You know what you expect when your corporate travel site puts you at a Super 8.  This one was special though.  The management or staff or whatever seemed to actually care.  It was more like a family-owned roadside motel than a Super 8.  Yes, definitely a Super 8, but the little touches added an attention to detail and homeyness that was really sweet.  And if you don't mind a little walk, BART is right up the street.