Christopher had had me set aside noon yesterday (Sunday) until noon today (Monday). And he wouldn't tell me anything about what was going on or why we were setting the time aside. I asked a few times for hints, but was pretty much stonewalled -- and got no help from any of our mutual friends.
At about Noon, I finally got him to nail down at least a timeframe for when we would be leaving the house. And, at about 2:15, we left to run a couple of quick errands. On the way "home," however, we drove past our place and headed into downtown Minneapolis. I threw out a few possibilites (and Christopher tossed out a few more which almost had me opening my door and exiting the car in traffic on the freeway), but I didn't get any actual answer until we pulled up to the Valet stand at the Ivy Hotel.
We dropped off the car and unloaded the trunk (which included, among other things, a bag which Christopher told me I was not allowed to drop), and went inside. I'd never been to the Ivy, before -- although Christopher has been to the Spa there, and the restaurant, in the past -- and it is very upscale chic. Clean lines everywhere, and a nice comfortable lobby seating area. Our room wasn't quite ready, so we went to sit in the lobby.
When the room still wasn't ready within the "5 minutes or so" we were originally told it would be, one of the staff came over and offered to get us drinks from the bar. It was almost 3:30 in the afternoon, so of course we both said yes. Almost immediately after the drinks came, our room was ready. And I'm so glad we waited!
Christopher had gotten us an "oversized" room on the 18th floor of the hotel, facing west. The room was very well appointed in creams and rich dark woods, and the bathroom was huge -- with both a large tub and a great big glassed-in shower, each of which had a view out the bathroom window.
We lounged for a bit, watching some episodes of The Muppet Show (Christopher had brought DVDs, as well as his computer and appropriate cables for hooking up to the flatscreen TV). Then, around 5, we went downstairs to the Spa, where I had my first try in a steamroom (is it just me, or is it kind of claustrophic when the steam first comes in and you can no longer see the door?), and then a soak in the big whirlpool.
Back upstairs, the sky was beginning to clear up after some afternoon showers, and our view just kept getting better and better. We could see the front of Symphony Hall, the front of the Convention Center, the plaza at WCCO-TV, and the big park area behind the Catholic Charities building. (For the record -- I never knew there was a park area behind the Catholic Charites building on top of the Convention Center parking ramp. It looks very nice from 18 stories up and a block away, though.)
Knowing that one of my favorite inventions of all time is "food that appears at your door," Christopher ordered pizza from Pizza Luce for dinner, and we settled in with wine (the stuff I wasn't supposed to drop in that bag), Pepperoni and Gorgonzola pizza, and "What's Up, Doc?" (possibly my favorite screwball comedy of all time).
Before the sun went down, our entire room was bathed in the golden light. Eventually, about the time it dipped below the horizon, the clouds turned pink and red and purple. And then the streetlights and building lights around us started to turn on. There truly is nothing like being high up in a building in the middle of a city at night. Even a small city.
This morning was incredibly leisurely. We decided to opt for more food coming to our door as we watched more Muppets. As usual, the room service prices were kind of steep, but -- for a nice change -- there was a ton of food involved. The pancakes, hashbrowns, and bacon were all delicious (although, truth be told, the eggs were kind of strangely dense). And, after breakfast, it finally dawned on me that the tower our windows looked down on was the "castle" looking thing on the side of the building. (It's in the pictures on their website.)
By the time we checked out (just moments before our Noon check-out time), we had definitely had a wonderful time. Possibly made even more special for me because I know that this has a very real chance of being my only "vacation" of the summer. And knowing that Christopher took advantage of that opportunity to make sure I had a great birthday, well, that's just icing on the cake!
OH. The cake! I forgot to mention that, when we entered the room, there was a cake box sitting on the top of the cabinet beneath the TV. Apparently Christopher had asked a friend of ours to get a cake from our favorite bakery, and had arranged to have it placed in the room. It was VERY good. Possibly even better than usual, thanks to the altitude!
I'm sure some people would say that it would get boring and commonplace if every day were hotels and room service and spas. But... gee... wouldn't it be fun to give it a try?