Last year before the nights got too cool, my husband, Bobby, planned a surprise staycation for me. I was only expecting a date night: he started the date with really sweet letters and then took me to a tourist spot for dinner since tourists on a travel site said, “If you haven’t gone there, you haven’t visited Beijing.” After dinner, we hopped in a taxi to head to a mystery location. As we pulled up, I saw that it was Nuo Hotel. I was already familiar with the hotel as a brand and as a favorite of friends in the Lido area, but hadn’t gotten to actually have lunch or dinner at one of their restaurants.
When I stepped into the lobby I was impressed. The artwork inside is beautiful and the smell of their signature pu’er soaps and shampoo waft all around you. As I approached the concierge, I was still thinking Bobby was taking me to the O’Bar lounge for an after dinner drink. The O’Bar has a DJ every night, and hosts a variety of events. On clear nights, the location is nice because it’s open air on a terrace. I’m a fan of terraces.
But when the concierge asked for our reservation number, and Bobby responded not with, “Oh we’re looking for the O’Bar,” but instead pulling out the printed reservation, my jaw dropped. My husband is famous for what we call his “Bobby surprises.”
They’re grand surprises that started with our engagement, when he set up a picnic on an island and needed to come pick me up by rowboat with his shirt off. After that, and before our wedding day, he wrote a sidewalk chalk letter from my campus door all the way to his. He worked on it the whole night one night and finished it just an hour before I woke up and walked the letter trail. Another time he orchestrated a huge scavenger hunt across a city, involving three other couples coordinating it.
One time he told me he had a surprise for me and when he arrived it turned out to be a chocolate milkshake from Chic-fil-a. We agreed from that day on he was not allowed to say surprises unless it’s a “Bobby surprise.”
But Nuo Hotel staycation was a “Bobby surprise” for me. He had gotten all of my toiletries and clothes ready and hidden in his bookbag, which he takes to places often anyway, so I never suspected anything. He had arranged for a trusted friend to watch our children that night, (when we arrived the next day my daughter asked us to go on a date again so they could spend more time with this friend).
I swooned all over for him. We did indeed go down to the O’Bar to enjoy the rest of the evening. In the morning I slept in, enjoying the luxury of the room without children around, but it accidentally caused us to miss breakfast. When we arrived at the Western bar for the last moments of breakfast, conference guests were spilling in and we knew we wouldn’t have a table. The concierge was gracious and let us go to the VIP lounge for a light breakfast with the snacks provided there.
After we spent time together, we decided to eat lunch at their traditional Chinese cuisine restaurant, Jia. I enjoyed a light soup lunch and found the prices quite reasonable.
Then, he treated me to a couples massage. We picked the aromatherapy massage and headed to the ginormous private spa room with a nice long-cushion couch. If you’re wondering, we thoroughly enjoyed every relaxing moment, and his masseur was careful not to apply pressure to his knee where he had surgery.
I wanted to stay another night of course, but reality required us to start back home.
I’ll admit I’m totally spoiled now and ruined for hotels. We spent around RMB 5,000 for the whole of the staycation, from the first taxi ride to the taxi ride home. Every jiao was worth it since we needed to focus on our marriage and this Bobby surprise was totally unexpected.
Nuo Hotel has quite a few deals right now, which I would encourage you to check out.
Pictures: Nuo Hotel, Vanessa Jencks