Love Divine shipwrecked in the Caribbean off Bequia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, in 2012.
Palace New York Hotel
Formerly the Helmsley Palace and then the New York Palace, today the Lotte New York Palace, in my opinion, has neglected attention to detail, unlike the previous owners.
Lotte New York Palace Address
The Lotte New York Palace is located at 455 Madison Avenue at 50th Street, New York, NY 10022. Customers can choose between booking rooms or suites in the Palace or Towers.
When we had stayed in the New York Palace and the Helmsley Palace, the hotel lobby and rooms gleamed, and you could usually depend on excellent service.
However, last year at the Lotte New York Palace, I was disappointed when I presented my room confirmation and tried to check-in. The front desk receptionist informed us that she would return, and she exited through a door and closed it. She had left us for about ten minutes.
Though I had booked a corner room for the holiday season two months in advance, the receptionist returned and informed us that the corner room was unavailable because it had water damage. She said that they had another place for us.
When we asked to see the damage, she exited again. She returned and told us that we had to take the room that they offered, though it lacked the view of the one that we had booked.
Although we were disappointed, the management had sent a gift basket to our new room, and we appreciated the gesture.
Lotte New York Palace Towers
The next morning, one of the employees admitted that someone had reserved the entire floor that included our confirmed room. They offered to upgrade us to a Towers suite. We felt that they went out of their way to compensate us, and we loved the suite’s extra space.
In December 2017, we revisited the Lotte New York Palace. When I entered our room’s bathroom, I noticed that it smelled sour. I called housekeeping, and when we left for dinner, they freshened it.
Another disappointment was that while most luxury and non-luxury hotels provide two pillows per guest, housekeeping had supplied only one along with a decorative pillow. My husband and I felt that it made sleeping a little uncomfortable, but we didn’t bother to request more.
Though we have had some issues with this hotel, we still love the Lotte New York Palace because the location is within walking distance of Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale’s, and the iconic St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
In addition, over the years we have noticed staff members from the previous hotels still working for the Lotte Palace. One employee that we know has been working for the Palace for over thirty years. We think that makes a statement about mutual loyalty.
Lotte New York Palace Christmas and Holiday Season
People flock to see the Palace decked out in holiday décor. Lighted garland with red ribbons and gold balls frame entranceways and wrap railings. Red and gold lighted Christmas trees are displayed throughout and live classical music drifts through the lobby.
If you are in Manhattan during Christmas or the holiday season, the Lotte is a must-see.Ã
Rolf’s Restaurant Address
Three of us stood in line to get in Rolf’s German Restaurant at 281 Third Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010, in the Gramercy Park area of Manhattan. Rolf’s is renowned for their Christmas decorations and “October Fest” spectacle.
Rolf’s New York City Christmas
About 100,000 lights are twisted around garland and poles. Thousands of ornaments and icicles hang from the ceiling and walls mixed with Santas, sleighs, angels, and hundreds of dolls. Its screaming decor creates an ambiance that makes it one of the best Christmas restaurants in New York City.
When Does Rolf’s Decorate for Christmas
Rolf’s Christmas decorations are up from September to the end of May.
Rolf’s New York Reservations
Rolf’s is open every day from 12 p.m. until 10 p.m., and they accept reservations.
Our Experience with Rolf’s German Restaurant
We went to have a drink with our friends who were eating lunch inside. About 20+ people stood in line ahead of us. While we waited, it appeared that more people exited the restaurant than entered.
A man, who was waiting in line, approached the front door and announced that no one seemed to be manning the door and seating people.
Our friends inside noted to the host that a table next to them, that could seat six, was vacant. The host responded that the table was reserved. Ironically, our friends had partied for over 2 ½ hours while the table remained empty.
After 20 minutes in line, we decided to leave. Before we left, I ducked in and snapped a photo. I may be mistaken, but I wonder if Rolf’s German Restaurant keeps a line outside for appearances.
Manhattan New York
Union Square Holiday Market
Union Square Holiday Market is an Urbanspace project in Manhattan New York. Vendors sell holiday merchandise including Christmas ornaments, accessories, art, specialty food, and more. Stalls line the stone mortared paths at this world-renowned Christmas market that runs from November 16 to December 24.
My daughter and I tried on wool hats and scarves, smelled sprigs of lavender and perfume, handled jewelry and Christmas ornaments, and laughed at the pet outfits on display. Though we bought a few gifts, the vendor that we liked best was Squish Marshmallow, and it wasn’t because of their marshmallows.
Squish Marshmallow sells hand torched marshmallows that are tan on the outside and warm and gooey inside. Flavors include gingerbread, jelly donut, peppermint bark, chocolate dipped and more. We tried the chocolate dipped donut flavor that crunched, and the taste reminded us of s’mores. We enjoyed them and liked the unique concept.
But what we loved best was their hot chocolate because it tasted authentic. It consisted of cream infused with Dutch cocoa and chocolate blended with vanilla and a touch of sugar. The decadent dark drink was bursting with cocoa.
We split one, and it tasted delicious. We passed it back and forth several times, and it lasted only a few minutes. Our gluttony made me forget to photograph the drink. However, you can find Squish Marshmallow in Manhattan’s East Village.
Union Square Holiday Market
Visiting Union Square Holiday Market is an excellent opportunity to find something for everyone. If you didn’t make it this year, put it on your must-see list for 2018.
Le Bistro du Village–Formerly Crepe Du Jour
Mt. Washington, Baltimore, Maryland
The red awning hung over the bright blue and yellow restaurant front. Flower-tiled patio tables equipped with blue chairs lined the sidewalk in front of the entrance like the sidewalk cafes in Paris.
Zagat and TripAdvisor Ratings
The awards and ratings from Zagat and TripAdvisor that decorated the front door beckoned me.
French Country Decor
Inside, the French country rust-toned tablecloths topped with bright red poinsettias created an elegant ambiance. A mirror and framed French photos adorned the walls, and tied back drapes made the room feel like home.
The host seated me at a table where I could gaze out on the quiet street in Mt. Washington, Baltimore, Maryland.
Le Bistro Du Village Menu
The menu offered a variety of authentic French food like boeuf bourguignon and coq au vin, but I opted for crepes.
I started with a side salad that consisted of young spinach and red leaf lettuce, a pale tomato, and pieces of sliced onion. Crumbled feta and balsamic vinaigrette topped the greens.
The mescaline mix tasted cold, crisp and fresh. The feta and onion added a bite, and the vinegar gave it a tang. The salad was a good start.
I ordered the Crepe Paysanne for my entree. The crepe was dense and darker than I expected and slightly tough. It was folded around a concoction that included chicken, mushrooms, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and prosciutto, blended in a béchamel sauce. The mushrooms were cooked perfectly and had a distinct flavor and consistency, and the bite-size chicken tasted tender. The combination was creamy and savory.
I finished with a banana, coconut, and chocolate crepe. The pancake was also a little thicker and browner than expected. I sliced the dough and found coconut and banana in a decadent chocolate sauce. The coconut tasted fresh and crunched slightly in my mouth and mixed well with the banana that seemed perfectly ripe, not too firm and not too soft. It was difficult to not devour the entire dessert.
My Crepe Experience
My mother-in-law had introduced me to crepes, and I have also ordered them in Gustavia, St. Barthelemy; Marigot, Saint Martin; both in the French West Indies; and Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris. Those crepes were thin, lightly browned, and fork-tender. My mother-in-law’s crepes rated with those featured in the French restaurants; though she was Irish Catholic.
Despite my disappointment in the crepes at Le Bistro Du Village, I loved the ingredients inside of them, and I would recommend this lovely neighborhood restaurant.
My meal without tip totaled $28. Prices start at $7 for a salad and range to $29 for entrees. They also provide a wine and cocktail list.
Rating: 3 1/2 stars
Address: 1609 Sulgrave Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21209
Parking: Street or Valet Thursday to Sunday
Hours: Monday: 11am-9pm
**** Very Good