Ever since I started watching the "Real Housewives of New York City," an extremely guilty pleasure, I've been intrigued by the fact that Simon van Kempen (husband of Housewife Alex McCord) runs a hotel in Manhattan.
Since I was going to New York last week for a Canadian Tourism conference, I figured I'd shoot Hotel Chandler an email and see if Simon would be game for showing me around the 124-room property.
I was pleasantly surprised when I got an email back from Simon himself, happy to take me up on my offer.
As much fun as it is to moan and groan about the ridiculousness of these RH characters, I have to admit that Simon was pretty darn normal in person. He's spent 25 years in the hotel industry, he knows it well, and he's happy to chat about it.
I thought he'd balk at my request to snap a few photos of him in front of the hotel (these pseudo-celebs can get very control-freakish about their image), but he gladly complied.
Hotel Chandler is in the Midtown/Murray Hill area of Manhattan, just three blocks from the Empire State building at 12 E. 31st St. It seems like a perfectly nice place to stay, especially now that rates have been reduced to as low as $189, at times, for a standard room. Even if you don't stay here, swing by for a cheap drink in the lobby bar during the Monday-Friday happy hour from 5 pm - 10 pm.
After spending my morning last week with the 7th housewife, I think I'm on Team Simon....