A Travellerspoint blog

Plaza vs. Waldorf (cage match)

Our first morning at the Waldorf, I woke up looked at the vaulted ceiling and said to myself, “I am at the Waldorf!” (My second thought was “Maybe now my mother in law will not think I am a such a loser.” A man can dream?)

OK, I am a Hilton junkie. I actually get a little misty eyed watching the Hilton family documentary on the Hilton welcome Channel on the guest room TV. I am also a history addict so the Waldorf Astoria has it all for me. During our recent trip to NYC we were very lucky to stay at both the Plaza and the Waldorf. (Thank you Hilton reward points). The Astoria is truly a timeless beauty. She is seasoned, smart, and beautiful. The Plaza on the other hand is gorgeous, and she wants everyone to know that she is the Prom Queen. From the guilded gold hand dryers in the lavs, to the multi-chevroned bell captains. Ok enough already, I get it, she is the super diva.

The Waldorf is encapsulated refinement. Deep rich silk carpets adorn the hallways. The woodwork is so ornate and intricate at times you feel like you are in a museum. Every step you take brings into view living history. Cole Porter’s Piano, the historic clock in the center of the inner lobby, and the spacious ballrooms. Even the hollows of the cavernous basement played host to the purchase of the Dead Sea Scrolls!

Waldorf is truly the enduring host to the powerful. Every US president since Hoover has been a guest. Kings, Presidents, and potentates have sought lodging and respite before facing the daily demands of Gotham. Songs, movies and poetry have been and continue to be produced singing praise to the Grande Dame of opulence.

The Waldorf is the place to celebrate life’s milestones. One telling observation, during our stay there was a number of 80th birthday parties and 50th wedding anniversaries being held in one of the private dining areas. Every night there were several going on at the same time. Even a couple of weddings! When the Blue Bloods of NYC, want to celebrate half a century with their spouse, they overwhelmingly chose the Waldorf.

The Waldorf Astoria defines sophistication, service and romance.

We humbly beg you to visit our travel site: www.1000fights.com.

Happy travels!

Posted by 1000fights 17:45 Archived in USA Tagged lodging Comments (0)

My first bath (Turkish)

A westerner's view of this eastern tradition

An experience that is difficult to fully describe. We chose the Cagaloglu Hamami or Turkish bath. It is medieval design. The Cagaloglu Hamami is probably the world’s most famous Turkish Bath. It’s featured in the 1000 places to go before you die book, and is reputed to have been visited by King Edward VII, Florence Nightingale, Tony Curtis and Cameron Diaz and now my wife Luci. You walk in and are greeted by two “bath guys” they give you the run down on the different bath options. We chose the bath and massage. We put down our green backs, picked out our soap and soapmit. Luci was whisked away to the women side. From what she described, I should of followed her.

Ok, they give you the key to your “compartment” and in you go. Directions from the aging gentleman were simple. “take off clothes, put on towel”. No welcome to the bath, no: you may be concerned about modesty etc… now the mens waiting room is right in front of the main entry way. So I walk out and some French girls are pointing an laughing at me. I think they thought something was funny with my towel…I don’t know.

You are escorted into the back, which opens into a huge domed room At center is a huge marble slab. It is about a 1000 degrees. 10 bathers total. One of the employees (blue towel) says: go to hot room. I am thinking, this is fairly hot. I head to back. Hot room was an understatement. I sit down careful to keep knees together. How do you girls do it? I cook for 10 minute, then my “man” comes. “I am Ali” I said, yes you are. “come”. Ali is light on words and heavy on pounds. Ali looks to be expecting twins, and has the hair from planet apes. He directs me to lay flat on the center stone. I do. Enter Turkish massage. A lot of chopping, and pulling muscle from bone, which is not as pleasant as it sounds. Ali is ingueiness in using elbows, and knees to knead soft tissue. At one point, knee is used to “soften buttocks area”. This was the most unpleasant portion of the adventure as marble was not very forgiving of my reverse side (enough said).

Once my entire body has been stretched, pulled and properly kneaded. Ali explained, “now wash”. I was directed to one of the side marble benches. being completely washed by another man is not something that i do on a regular basis. Ali puts on a sandpaper glove and begins to methodically remove 1 inch of my skin. He keeps showing me the glove. It is completely covered in skin removed. I nodded like this was great. Then he took his finger nails and removed the top layer of my scalp for 10 mins.

Enter more soap, more scrubbing. At last I look like a drowned cat. Ali says: “done”. I can’t move. I finally find my way back to my compartment and change. I take a pic with Ali. I tried to wish him luck with the twins…it didn’t translate well.

It was a once in a lifetime experience (I hope!)

www.1000fights.com

Posted by 1000fights 20:52 Archived in Turkey Tagged health_and_medicine Comments (1)

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