casablanca hotel
Day Four, my lovelies, marks the final day of the Manhattan liason! Quel horreur.

To be honest, the Hotel Casablanca both thrilled and intimidated me. The Thrill: the hotel was inspired by the romance of the movie “Casablanca” (they even have a Rick’s Cafe!) and boasted top-to-tail glamour and hospitality. The Intimidation: it is located smack dab in the middle of Times Square, and while the ‘Center of The Universe’ has a lot to offer, I wasn’t sure it was somewhere I wanted to rest my head at night.

It took me all of two minutes to change my mind. Once settled into our Premium King room, Times Square seemed islands away. With a hotel I knew I would be happy to escape to, I took a few steps outside and enjoyed the best of a tourist’s Manhattan, The Theater District, Times Square, MOMA, Radio City Music Hall, and more…

You couldn’t find any other hotel with a more convenient “New York” boutique experience.

Tel: (212) 869-1212/Toll Free: (888) 922-7225/Fax: (212) 391-7585

*The extras!
HKHotels Signature Style of Hospitality and Value included at no extra charge:
*Bountiful European style breakfast buffet
*Selection of coffee, tea, cookies, and fruits throughout the day
*Wine & cheese receptions evenings from 5-8pm (hello, Prosecco)
*Complimentary wireless high speed Internet access
*Complimentary passes to nearby New York Sports Club

Total Added Value: $110 per person or $220 per couple, per night!
* Wine and cheese is served on all evenings except Sunday at Hotel Giraffe and Saturday and Sunday at the Hotel Elysee

casablanca hotel
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Last Friday I returned to London from an extended (and much needed) vacation in the good old U.S. of A. I kid you not. It literally took one of my best friends’ weddings to remind me to take a break. Said best friend (who has only ever been called “P Sawyer”) lives in Indiana, and – as a former resident of the state – I know that it is not the most desirable vacation spot, thus organised a few days before and after my week in Indiana to be spent in New York.

546 photos and four hot dogs later, I’m in love. While I culled the photos down, there are still enough to split into two parts (and five hotel reviews – woops!).

Enjoy Part One!

First Sights of NYC

First Sights of NYC

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Jean Paul Gaultier
My love for French deisgner Jean Paul Gaultier sparked as soon as a tiny, one-digit-aged version of Lela London found out he invented the cone bra. That love grew exponentially after I read the following interview with Opening Ceremony. It is a must read, my dear.

On his pop hit from the Eighties- “How To Do That” (don’t worry, I’ve attached the video at the end!):
“I sold around 30,000 records – almost made it to the Top 50, but I think that was my last foray into the music business as a musician. I prefer to dress the stars.”

On his first impression of Madonna:
“The first time I saw Madonna was on Top of the Pops. She was singing “Holiday,” and she had a fabulous look. (I actually thought that she was English because she was so stylish.) She was into the same things that I was doing at the time, like crosses, oversized jewelry, and fishnets. The second time I saw her live was at the first MTV awards in New York at Radio City Music Hall. It must have been 1984. She sang “Like A Virgin” in a wedding dress and was simulating “self contentment” or “self satisfaction,” to put it euphemistically. The audience was mostly business people, who were horrified. There were just a few young fans–and me, who absolutely loved it. That is when I realized that she couldn’t care less what others thought of her, and I also saw how powerful she was.”

On the young Jean Paul Gaultier:
“I used to buy all the magazines, look at the collections, and then do my own. And if Dior or Cardin had 300 outfits, I would have 310. I even wrote my own reviews.”

On being an 18-year-old apprentice for Pierre Cardin:
“I learned about freedom from Mr. Cardin. There was an absolute freedom in his studio… He had assistants from all over the world — it was the first time I tried Japanese food with my colleagues from work. It was a great time, and it taught me that you have to have a free spirit to succeed.”

On the source of inspiration:
“Inspiration is never a problem; I usually have too much of it. I sometimes want to say too many things at once. Everything I see can inspire me: the cinema, theater, music.”

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget the video: