Whew! I’m back in the saddle and on the road again (how many cheesy phrases can I use?). I kicked off 2017 in the Queen City – visiting one of my standbys and checking out something new. It’s one of our unspoken traditions that we spend New Year’s Eve in Cincinnati. This year was
exceptional because so many friends traveled in from afar to be there. We checked in at my Alma Mater’s hotel – Kingsgate Marriott located in the
Uptown/University Area of Cincinnati. Kingsgate is perfectly situated for access to the University of Cincinnati Main Campus and Medical Campus, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens, Xavier University and just a short ride to downtown Cincinnati. I have stayed at Kingsgate many times and it’s the phenomenal staff that keeps me coming back. Usually around New Year’s Eve it’s a quiet place, but not this year. With a wedding in house and a much anticipated Cincinnati Bengals game, the place was packed!
We checked into our corner suite to get ready for the big night out. As tradition, TJ always makes a trip down to the Bearcat Lounge for a drink
while I get spruced up for NYE. The same bartender has been on duty for 4 years running. In an industry with a lot of turnover, it’s amazing to see staff there year after year. You know this is because the hotel treats its employees well. Not only is the bartender a familiar face, but many of the banquets staff and front office team are the same.
Finally! It’s time for a night on the town! We had big plans. I love holidays and planning one in the Queen City is my forte. We met up with friends for dinner at one of my new favorite restaurants, Mita’s. Chef Jose Salazar knows how to wine & dine his guests. I could have sat there for hours, sipping bubbly, passing tapas and people watching. Mita’s is situated on the corner of 5th & Race with floor to ceiling windows. And on New Year’s Eve? EXCELLENT people watching. We shared a Cheese plate consisting of Manchego, Valdeon and Murcia al Vino. YUM. Then we passed around an Ensalad Mixta and an Ensalad Jicama Y Mango – both delicious. We opted for a round of Tapas in lieu of entrees and shared the Coles de Bruselas Asadas (brussels sprouts!); Pulpo Gallego (galician style octopus!); Arepa Con Queso Fresco Y Chorizo (Cheese & chorizo cornmeal cakes!) and the special of the evening – Blood Sausage. We each had a favorite – obviously we either all have exceptional taste or Jose only makes awesome dishes (or both!). We wrapped up the evening with an Olive Oil Rosemary Cake for dessert. If you haven’t been to Mita’s, you’re missing out. BIG TIME. And they’re open for lunch!
After Mita’s we met up with friends at 21C Museum Hotel. I’ve been to
21C before, but this time I had a chance to check out some of the aspects that make it unique including the “body art” in the shower and the beautiful art display on the guestroom floors. One of the signature’s of the 21C brand are the fun little penguin mascots.
We left 21C and headed to our final destination – a new cocktail lounge in The Banks called The Stretch. The Stretch is swanky with double bars and a narrow space that allows for an intimate atmosphere. It was packed for NYE, but the outdoor space was a nice retreat from the sweat of the dance floor with fire places and cozy furniture on a chilly Ohio winter night. I’d love to come check it out on a regular weekend night – I guarantee it’s just as busy!
Believe it or not, after a night on the town, I’m still hitting the gym in the morning. I told you before, this was not my first rodeo at Kingsgate, so when I walked into the all-to-familiar gym I was ECSTATIC at what I found. I’m a gym snob, we know this. Rarely do I come across one of my
favorite pieces of gym equipment. I love it so much that even if I wasn’t planning to run, I do. I’m totally going to geek out on you guys for a second. LifeFitness makes these super cool treadmills with courses you can run all around the world! It is seriously the coolest invention. If you haven’t been on one, try it. If you run a hotel, get one!
But honestly people, what would this trip be without a final food suggestion? I’m not much for hotel breakfasts and normally I head somewhere else, but I knew that the breakfast buffet at Kingsgate would be just what I needed on New Year’s Day. Those omelettes…OH!
If you find yourself in Cincinnati, check out one of these two great hotels and most definitely eat at Mita’s – you’d be a fool not to.
“People don’t take trips, trips take people.” – John Steinbeck