Friday, June 5, 2009

Vacationing and The g.

You may or may not have noticed the new widget I added to my sidebar the other day, but it's a countdown clock for my upcoming vacation to London, Dublin and Galway. To say I'm excited is a gross understatement. Dave and I haven't had a vacation in over two years. And, for the record, I don't count attending weddings, bachelorette parties, in-law visits etc. as vacations -- not because they aren't fun (they often are), but because they're often obligatory and rarely where I would've chosen to spend my precious few days off. I also haven't taken more than a week off at a time (and I've done this only three times in the past three years) since I graduated from law school in 2006.

But enough justification. The short story is that a vacation was long overdue and Dave and I decided to do it big this time and go abroad. Since Dave's only trip to Europe was a work trip to Paris last year, I thought the UK/Ireland was a good place to begin his international travels, especially since both of us are of primarily English, Irish (and Scottish) descent. Besides, while I've been to London/Southern England several times over the years, I have not yet visited Ireland and am excited to see the Emerald Isle.

One thing my husband absolutely does not understand is my love for gorgeous (and inevitably pricey) boutique hotels -- Frette linens and designer style just isn't worth the price tag to him. So this time we compromised. While in London, we'll be staying at the Holiday Inn Kensington Forum London at a steal of a price we got courtesy of Hotwire (a great option if you know the location you want to stay in, but are less picky about the exact hotel). Yes, the location is central and Kensington is one of the best neighborhoods in The City, but it's still a Holiday Inn -- no matter how many words you add to the end of the name. But once we get to Galway, we'll be spending three nights at The g. And if the reviews and photos are any indication, this place is going to be spectacular.

The g was designed by Galway-native and couture milliner Philip Treacy (whose probably most famous in the States for designing the towering green hat Sarah Jessica Parker donned at The Sex and the City movie premiere in London). If you look closely, many of the rooms at The g showcase the undulating, gravity-defying sculptural shapes that Treacy's hats are famous for.

The bespoke concierge desk in particular looks a lot like an oversized version of one of Treacy's hats. The desk is covered in white Venetian plaster, and is reminiscent of a giant seashell, which is a subtle theme that Treacy plays with throughout the hotel as a nod to Galway's location on Ireland's wild and woolly west coast. The walls and floor are black glass, allowing the desk-turned-art installation to take center stage.

The g's [in]famous Pink Salon. Yes it's crazy and something you'd never want in your own home, but it's also undeniably fabulous. With its Andy Warhol-inspired pink camouflage print chairs and black and white vortex rug, it's a contemporary reimagining of the psychedelic 60's. Admittedly a subtle detail in a not-so-subtle room, the white coral mirror is a standout here for me design-wise. In fact, I'd love to have an identical mirror in my new dining room (how great would that look against the Drawing Room Blue?).

The more formal of the two lounges, this second lounge's demure and modern color palette of creams and metallics keeps the serious furniture from looking too staid. The plush velvets and silks, combined with the mirrored tables and metallic-leafed woods make this room utterly sophisticated. The huge installation of large silver balls manages to accomplish two dueling purposes by both highlighting the dramatically high ceilings and visually filling in all that space to create a more intimate setting for quiet conversations over cocktails. This is an adult room, but one that doesn't take itself too seriously.

The bar and adjoining Blue Lounge are probably my favorite rooms in the hotel. With its dark blue walls, plush velvet chairs, gilt trimwork and stunning mirrored bar, it feels a bit old Hollywood Regency meets modern glam -- very Kelly Wearstler-esque, don't you think? I plan on spending some time here sipping on a cocktail while waiting on our table at The g's acclaimed Italian restaurant, the Matz at The g.

The guest rooms themselves are a lot more understated than the public spaces, which is a good thing, I think, if you're trying to get some rest after a day of touring. Despite the muted palette, the rooms still have Treacy's signature quirkiness -- just look at those space-age lamps (that again look rather like hats)!

Of course, there's so much to explore in Galway outside of the hotel, so I plan on taking full advantage of its burgeoning arts' scene (though, alas, we'll just miss the start of the annual Galway Arts Festival) as well as its proximity to the Aran Islands (which is a "can't miss" according to my law school roommate) and Kylemore Abbey (which looks more like a fairytale castle than a nunnery). You can be sure I'll be taking a ton of pictures to share with everyone when I get back, but for now, I'll just have to content myself with planning our trip until we leave July 2 (don't worry though, I'm going to start stockpiling posts to go up while I'm gone!).


Christy said...

Wow - awesome trip planned! I can't wait to hear all about it - from the sites you see, to the fab hotels you're staying in to the food you eat. Sounds like you're OVERDUE for a vacation to me!

I've actually stayed in that holiday inn before - via priceline. Love a good deal!

Not sure how often you've been to London, but since Matt's Welsh, we get the pleasure of going at least once a year. My favorites are Viennesse truffles from Thorntons (Matt loves their toffee), shopping at Jigsaw and Monsoon (I know you can shop at monsoon at least here, but it's so much more fun over there), and eating Cornish pasties on the street from those vendors. Delicious.

Hope you have a fabulous time, and I can't wait to hear and see all about it upon your return. What a cute little widget - I'm going to look into that for my blog too!

Liz said...

Wow, not only do you get to go on a fab trip but you get to stay in a work of art - well done!! Hope you guys have a fabulous time, and that you have lot of great tales for us when you get back!

Themis0307 said...

Wow! So jealous! I went to Scotland during law school and am dying to go back! Have fun!

annechovie said...

I have seen the G and thought it looked like the coolest place - the color palette is enough to sell me! I hope that you have a fantastic trip, Averill - sounds like such fun. Have a great weekend!

Sarah Klassen said...

Oh my! I would just love to see pics when you go -- the Pink Salon is amazing! Thanks for sharing such great spots / Hope you have a great weekend as well~

Style Redux 2 said...

I adore hats and Philip Treacy and The g looks amazing. Make sure to check out my posts on the Blue Bar and the Artesian Bar for two spots in London you must go for drinks. Sounds like a wonderful trip.

Patch said...

That place looks amazing. The pink room feels like sitting inside a giant satin-lined hatbox. I bet you'll have a fabulous time! The UK rocks.

Sanity Fair said...

WOW - Averill - this place is FANTASTIC. What a fabulous place to stay! I'm really excited for your trip - I lived in both England and Ireland. You will enjoy the hospitality in Ireland so much - you should try a night in a traditional bed and breakfast too (there are a million). The Irish are the warmest hosts.

Dumbwit Tellher ♥ said...

Averill - You lucky girl & spouse! What a fabulous trip you two have planned. The "G' looks positively incredible. The pink room is beyond words.
I dream of the day of going back to Ireland. My husband does not like when I profess my admiration of Ireland over his homeland, (Scotland) but I LOVE it. I'm thrilled for you!

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