The gal wonders if really intelligent people have superficial contests with their other half. Take today, cycling as a pair, I said we would see six other cyclists (it was sunny). He said 20.
That meant he needed at least 14 to win. In fact we only saw four – ha ha. Next contest. He was convinced the Black Eyed Peas’ vocalist is Susie, I said Fergie (born as Stacy Ann Ferguson). I won, but I hope I know when not to gloat.
The days of superwomen per se might be over but there are some darned good females running hotel companies.
Think, in alphabetical order, of Sonia Cheng, owner of New World and Rosewood; Jennifer Fox, who will take Fairmont soaring up; and Katie Taylor, who has the enviable/uneviable task of filling the Four Seasons shoes of the iconic Isadore Sharp.
Think, if you can, about those really-top women in the biggies, Hilton, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott, Starwood… can anyone come up with a global biggie, there (what has happened?)?
Anyway, take Ivanka Trump, who is not even trying to replace The Donald. She is her own person. Having attacked the English language of her walls at Trump International’s nail spa yesterday, it is only fair today to head downtown, to SoHo New York, for lunch at Trump SoHo. No problem if you cannot find it.
It does not only dominate Spring Street but this Preferred Hotel pierces the air like a NASA rocket – the hotel owns the airspace around it, so no other developer can attempt even the measliest of skyrises. Look to the Hudson, look to the East River, look around town while you are here.
It soars up, through 46 floors. Its 391 rooms are just what anyone could ask for, with all-glass outer walls for those fabulous views. Colours are stone and dark chocolate, sleek and practical.
There is ample long hanging space, which so few hotels have these days (do owners think red-carpet stars, with their long frocks, will not be staying with THEM?).
Here, not only can you hang your frock but they will even provide one for you. Trump SoHo cleverly partners with Rent The Runway, a brilliant rental programme set up by two Jennifers (Jenny Fleiss and Jenn Hyman) when they were both students at Harvard Business School.
They have a wardrobe of over 25,000 dresses which members order online, for a cost of about $50 for four days, and the order – same day in New York, the following day elsewhere in USA – comes with a second size, free, to make sure that you have the right fit (to return, pop it in the provided envelope and send it back.
Rent The Runway is currently serving over 10,000 orders a week, wow. Sounds like a great business plan; wonder if they will be lecturing at Harvard’s Mumbai outreach campus?
Back in New York, meanwhile, Trump SoHo makes fashion-for-you even easier: the hotel liaises with Rent The Runway so your frock, and perhaps jewellery and tiara, are waiting for you in your room.
I especially liked 4304, a one-bedroom suite (one of ten, but the only one with a private terrace). I loved the fact that all rooms have, in the minibar, compressed packs of popcorn which you cook in a pull-out microwave. Loved the two-floor lobby, with full-height vertical wood shutters that turn on a whim.
The upper, mezzanine, level is a Taschen-sponsored library, with working fire and those enormous art books that make the typical ‘coffee table’ book seem like a Nespresso sachet for a Nespresso Cube (which is the machine you find here in your bedroom).
Women love this hotel – not only for the runway-type closet but the excellent room lighting, the library, the gym, the people and the boutique shopping within a few yards outside.
And then there was time, no more, to look at the spa, which is even better in summer as it is next to the outdoor pool with a deck that attracts SoHo’s art and entertainment crowd. And THEN it was time for lunch.
We headed for the two-floor restaurant, an upper-casual and lower-more-formal affair joined by green tile-covered columns. This will all change, soon. The Trumps realize when it is time to move on.
Just as Taj, which runs The Pierre way-way uptown from here, has decided to switch to Sirio Maccioni of Le Cirque fame, so Trump, which obviously runs Trump SoHo, has decided to switch to a Bangladeshi called Nick Haque who started, and runs, the KOI ‘modern Japanese’ concept.
In eight years he has done very well since opening on Los Angeles’ La Cienega Boulevard. In New York, the Bryant Park Hotel, a conversion of the American Radiator Building, opened in 2001 with an Ilo restaurant – now switched to KOI.
In Las Vegas, Nick Haque has a KOI in Planet Hollywood. KOI, he says, is Iconic and vibrant, and intimate. Haque has a conscience. As well a expanding the KOI brand he has developed ‘Just a Little’, to sponsor budding doctors. He looks forward, he says, to the improvements he will be able to make in the lives of others.
Meanwhile, until KOI comes to Trump SoHo, the luxury hotel where the show goes on, with maximum bells and whistles. The two-floor restaurant serves a deliciously healthy spinach salad, with a side order of deliciously decadent fries, and there is good olive oil to go with the bread, and the espresso, Nespresso or not, is perfect.
After that Andreas Oberoi, the German GM whom one would love to have as one’s general practitioner or ambassador, thanks you for coming, and hands you over to Vladimir, to drive you in stately fashion uptown to the next meeting. Tomorrow, meanwhile, will be a taste of what many consider the finest modern Japanese restaurant not only in New York but the whole of the USA….