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Washington, DC Weekend Vacation Getaway

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Where To Stay

Anyone can find a room in any destination, you don’t need us for that. But not everyone can find those special places with a particular charm to them. That takes time, tenacity and a special perspective. We try to find places that evoke a “wow” when you open the door to your room, places you’ll tell your friends about when you get home.

Four Seasons  |  Mandarin Oriental
Hay Adams  |  Morrison House
Sofitel Lafayette Square  |  Embassy Circle Guest House
Eldon Luxury Suites

Four Seasons
2800 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
HALL OF FAME

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Georgetown is my favorite part of the City with its quaint boutiques, bistros, bars and particularly the C&O Canal whose tow path is a great place to walk or run. The Four Seasons Hotel is perfectly located in Georgetown, right on the Canal.

One of the great things about this hotel is that all the rooms are oversized and most have excellent views. Even the lowest category rooms, Deluxe, are nearly 450 sq. feet and provide views of Rock Creek Park, the Canal or the garden courtyard. Our 800 sq. ft. two room Executive Suite was about as comfortable as a room can get. Decorated in a soothing pale green with dark wood furniture and beautiful artwork, it was a perfect place to relax after a day of sightseeing. The bed, covered in luxury linens was sublime and the marble bathroom was huge and had one of the best showers we have encountered in our travels. As with most great places, it is the details that set it apart of others. The bathroom was equipped with any toilet articles you may have forgotten; razor, deodorant, nail products, even collar stays. Plush robes with collars hung in a walk-in closet. Bottled water was left on the nightstand at turn down. A writing desk had a stapler, paper clips and a ruler.

The Garden Terrace Lounge is a delightful and very comfortable place for a cocktail, set among an indoor garden with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Canal. The hotel's acclaimed restaurant, Seasons, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and is a favorite among Washingtonians for its lavish Sunday brunch.

There is a wonderful health club, including a pool, whose windows (and treadmills) overlook the canal and the Spa is considered the best in Washington. They also have a unique Private Spa Room, where you can enjoy a massage, steam and whirlpool in total privacy.

RATES: As with most hotels, rates vary with the time of the year. We had a wonderful two-room Executive Suite in January for $395. That Suite in July was $595. Weekend summer rates are $350-$795.

WHAT OTHERS SAY...

AAA 5 Diamond

Forbes 5 Star


"Terrific" even before its makeover, this "amazing" hotel on the edge of Georgetown offers rooms, dining and service "you just can't get anywhere else"; 'every stay tops the last" say regulars who relish its feeling of "understated luxury", from the "discreet" staff to the "lovely, classical" accommodations to the sightings of "George Clooney eating at the next table"; in sum you've "got everything you need" at this "fabulous" "power" property. ZAGAT



To make your travel plans you can go to our Weekend Planner for all the contact information.

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Mandarin Oriental
1330 Maryland Avenue SW
HALL OF FAME

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I am a huge fan of the Mandarin Oriental hotels having stayed here, in NYC, in Boston and in San Francisco. While I would generally scoff at a description of “Feng Shui touches”, there is something incredibly soothing and calming about these hotels. For one thing, they have aromatherapy down to a science. Everything smells so wonderful, we even suspected they were piping fragrances into our room in New York. The elegant décor makes use of silk tapestries, stunning art reproductions, soft colors and polished hardwoods.

 The hotel is located in the heart of the district in the southwest section, overlooking the marina, the Tidal Basin and the monuments. While the location doesn’t really afford the ability to walk around the neighborhood, it is safe and has spectacular views of the monuments.

 We arrived on a rainy day and were met at the curb by a bellman with an umbrella. Our car was checked, we were escorted swiftly to the front desk in a beautiful circular lobby of marble and mahogany, centered with a huge Christmas tree. We were in our room in less than 10 minutes and our luggage arrived shortly after and was neatly set up on carts and in the closet.

The difference between good hotels and great hotels is in the details. Wonderful aromas are matched with soothing music in the public rooms and elevators. The elevators seem to come instantly upon call. The hotel offers free use of laptops. Coffee is available in the lobby at 6:30am. The showers have great pressure. The towels and robes are thick and soft. The bed linens are plush and silky. Little things that add up to a wonderful experience.

 Our room, a deluxe water view, was a picture of soft elegance made all the more dramatic by a stunning view of the Jefferson Memorial. At night it was simply breathtaking. Very adequate in size at @400sq. feet, the room had a King bed with luxurious Fili d’oro linens, a large marble bathroom with a soaking tub and separate glass enclosed shower, a flat screen TV/DVD player and all the other amenities you would expect like a morning paper, 24 hour room service and more. Next time I would opt for the Premier Water View room. Located on corners of the building, they are about 500 sq. feet, have views of the Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument and the Tidal Basin. The view from the corner soaking tub extends across the marina.

 The hotel offers a full fitness center that opens at 5:30am and is equipped with virtually anything you might want. Fragrant flowers, citrus flavored waters and scented cool towels provide more “Feng Shui touches”. A swim in the indoor pool or a stop at the luxurious Spa complete any work-out. Speaking of the Spa, this is experience you won’t want to miss, perhaps the most relaxing experience ever. Imagine total tranquility, soothing music, intoxicating aromas and magical treatments. Magical.

The hotel is home to one of the town’s hottest new restaurants, CityZen, created by Chef Eric Ziebold who was selected as one of “America’s Best New Chefs2005” by Food & Wine Magazine. Unfortunately it was closed during our last visit, so we did not have an opportunity to review it. Café Mozu is a casual restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner and the Empress Lounge in a sunken area of the lobby has a great martini/drink menu.



RATES: As usual rates vary by the time of the year. We paid $250 for a Deluxe Water View at the end of December. That room is $335 in Spring, $315 in Summer and $335 in Fall. Premier Water View rooms are $415, $425 and $445.



WHAT OTHERS SAY...
AAA 4 Diamond
Forbes 5 Star


“East meets West” in “luxurious”, “feng shui–inspired” rooms and suites with “beautiful views” of the Tidal Basin and Jefferson Memorial at this “stunning” property; a “first-class” spa, “Zen-like” vibe and “exceptional dining options” (including the “not-to-be-missed” New American CityZen and Asian-accented Café MoZU) mean some sybarites “have to be dragged from the hotel to go sightseeing” – which is just as well, since the “only real problem (other than cost) is an isolated location” that’s a “cab ride from everywhere.” ZAGAT



To make your travel plans you can go to our Weekend Planner for all the contact information.

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Hay Adams
800 Sixteenth Street, NW
HALL OF FAME

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Even the most jaded political observer would have to admit to being impressed by the view from the Hay Adams, across Lafayette Square to the White House. At night with the building all lit up, it was quite spectacular.

The historic Italian Renaissance-style hotel opened in 1928 and today has 124 rooms and 21 suites. It is one of Washington’s premier addresses and a popular place for “power” breakfasts, drinks and dinner. The hotel underwent an extensive multi-million dollar renovation in 2001 and in 2010 added an additional floor with its own elevator and kitchen to create the “Top of the Hay” a rooftop event space. It has become one of the most sought after spaces for private events in town.

The renovation updated the public spaces and guestrooms, but much of the charm remains. There are antique dial phones on each floor, the original mail chutes remain, hallways and rooms are trimmed with crown moldings and the wonderful wood paneled lobby remains intact.

Our room on the 6th floor had French doors and a balcony that looked out onto Lafayette Square and the White House beyond. It was beautifully decorated with beige striped wallpaper, tulle draperies, a canopy bed, luxury linens, elegant furnishings and fresh flowers. Mirrored closet doors made the room seem larger. The marble bath had Asprey toiletries and plush towels. 

The service is impeccable and well thought out with the guest’s comfort and convenience well considered. The hotel provides a chauffeured Mercedes for jaunts around town. You are asked which newspapers you prefer in the morning and they are delivered to your door early. Turn down includes water, chocolates, a mat next to the bed with slippers and even Molten Brown Eye Rescue, a moisture cream for tired eyes. Room service is available 24 hours and the fitness center opens at 5am. The staff is pleasant and helpful without the “in your face” customer service at some high end hotels.

Off the Record, the hotel bar is a hot spot and was called one of the “World’s Best Hotel Bars” by Forbes.com. The bar is helmed by John Boswell, 4 time winner of the “Washington’s Best Bartender” Award. Great drink, snack and lite meal menu. The bar was full when we left for dinner and still full when we returned at 10:30. The restaurant, The Lafayette, is one of Washington’s “power” breakfast spots and a highly regarded choice for an elegant dinner with live piano music, views of the White House and excellent service. No dinner on Saturday night, but a great Sunday brunch.



RATES: Weekend rates from $349.



WHAT OTHERS SAY...
AAA 4 Diamond
Forbes 4 Star


Guests immerse themselves in the “mix of politics and intrigue” at this “sophisticated” “classic” that is across from the White House and known for its “power breakfast” scene in the Lafayette Room, as well as its rooftop private venue that treats every visitor “like royalty” (“I doubt Hay or Adams would be treated better!”); the “comfortable” rooms that face Lafayette Square Park have “picture-postcard views”, leading loyalists to aver “it doesn’t get better than this in DC-unless you’re counting the Lincoln Bedroom.” ZAGAT

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Morrison House
116 South Alfred Street, Alexandria
EXCELLENT

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A wonderful alternative to staying in the District is historic Old Town Alexandria, just a few minutes from the heart of the DC. Like Georgetown, it is a great "walking around" place at any time of day or night.

The Morrison House is a beautiful brick building with an impressive entry portico and inside decorated with Federal Period reproductions. The higher level of service is noticeable from the instant you arrive. Two doormen are always stationed at the front door to collect luggage, give directions or lend an umbrella on a rainy day.

Bedrooms are elegantly decorated, many with canopy or 4 poster beds, decorative fireplaces and crystal chandeliers. Fil d'Oro bed linens and Frette towels contribute to the luxury surroundings as do Italian marble bathrooms with rainforest showers and Gilchrist & Soames toiletries. Opt for either a deluxe room or a one bedroom suite.

The Grille, the Inn's restaurant, is a DC favorite and the menu changes daily to best take advantage of seasonal ingredients. Room service is also available 24 hrs. a day.

Each evening from 5-6pm the hotel hosts a wine reception and on Thursday-Saturday nights, the piano bar is lively with local entertainers dropping in to sing a few songs. Some of the people who show up and sing are quite amazing.

The hotel is pet-friendly, so you can travel with your favorite animal.



RATES: $160-$350 depending on the season.



WHAT OTHERS SAY...
"Tucked into" Old Town, this "absolutely elegant" Kimpton boutique may be the "nicest spot in the area" - "a graceful brick abode" that's walking distance to Alexandria's shops and restaurants and has "easy access to DC"; a "hospitable, cosmopolitan" staff services the "lovely" and "dog friendly" rooms, while the attached restaurant offers a "fabulous wine list" and "great brunch" ZAGAT



To make your travel plans you can go to our Weekend Planner for all the contact information.

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Sofitel Lafayette Square
806 15th Street NW
EXCELLENT

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The French inspired Sofitel Lafayette Square is a favorite for its service, stylish rooms and price/value. With 220 rooms and 17 suites, this charming hotel is both comfortable and intimate.

I was greeted immediately upon leaving my cab and the doorman introduced himself and asked for the name on my reservation. We made our way down the marble hallway, festooned with a dozen or so Cala lilies where I was introduced to the reception clerk. Check-in was swift and I was on my way to my room in a matter of a few minutes.

The European styled bedroom, with a city view, was a good size with a writing desk, reading chair and lamp. It was decorated in colors of beige and hunter green with dark wood furniture and accents. The walls had black framed prints of France and Washington with an interesting impressionist oil painting over the bed which I took to be the coast of Normandy. The queen sized bed had a feather top, down duvet and plump feather pillows and made for a wonderful night's sleep.

French doors opened onto the bathroom which was large and done in a green and beige marble. There was a separate tub and glass shower, a vase of fresh orchids and wonderful Roger & Gallet toiletries from Paris.

The stylish Le Bar serves cocktails throughout the day and evening and is wired for wireless Internet use.

A well appointed health club which is open 24 hours and accessible with your room key.



RATES: Rates vary with the season and can be as low as $195 (August) to $600 in September.



WHAT OTHERS SAY...
A "stone's throw from the White House", this "upscale Euro" favorite satisfies with a "French flair" and "boutique ambiance" overseen by an "impeccable" staff; its "sumptuous" rooms sport a "retro, art deco design" with trendy accents and baths beautified by "Fresh orchids" and Roger & Gallet toiletries, and on-site fitness center is "top notch"; PS the "large, welcoming bar" is a local "after work" "hot spot". ZAGAT



To make your travel plans you can go to our Weekend Planner for all the contact information.

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Embassy Circle Guest House
2224 R Street, NW
EXCELLENT

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Traveling to a major city for a weekend can be very expensive. So it was with a sense of utter joy that we recently found a marvelous B&B, the Embassy Circle Guest House,  in Washington, DC that I wish the owners would clone all across the country. Located on stylish, quiet and safe Embassy Row and just steps from Dupont Circle and the Metro, the Inn was a former embassy that laid dormant for 20 years before innkeepers purchased it in 2003. After a meticulous renovation that uncovered lots of surprises, they opened the Inn in 2007.

My experience with city B&B's is that they are often dark, laden with heavy old Victorian furniture and not always equipped with modern conveniences. Embassy Circle could not be farther from this profile. The first thing you notice is how well the exterior is maintained. As you enter the hallway, the parlor and dining room to the left are bright and airy, beautifully decorated with rich fabrics, Persian carpets and antiques. The walls are adorned with some amazing and colorful artwork, much of which has been painted by guests. How cool. Many of the things that make old homes special, moldings, floors and chandeliers have been retained and
refreshed.

The 11 guest rooms are spacious by any standard and are elegantly decorated in different styles with antiques, various furniture styles, unique colors and textures. Each room has hardwood floors and a Persian carpet as its centerpiece. Many rooms have retained some of the original brick walls. Beds are super comfortable with luxury linens and plump pillows. Windows actually open to let in the fresh air. Each room has a completely modern private bath with a stand-up shower, fluffy towels and high end toiletries. Rooms have a wireless network and phones with message and wake-up capabilities.

In the wonderful southern tradition of B&B's the innkeepers host an afternoon wine and snack reception from 5:30-7pm each day and a delightful breakfast is served each morning in the dining room from 7:30am during the week and 8:00 on weekends. Coffee is available a half hour before, so you can enjoy a newspaper in the parlor. Breakfast includes pastries baked fresh daily, organic breads for toasting, hot and cold cereals, salmon with cream cheese and capers, a platter of assorted cheeses, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, orange juice, and a selection of coffees and teas. The signature dish is a delicious fresh fruit salad, which includes at least a dozen kinds of fruit every day. In nice weather you can enjoy breakfast on the rear patio.

On occasion, owner Raymond, an avowed "foodie" will whip up something impromptu for his guests. in fact, on the day we arrived, he had prepared a steak salad to enjoy with some friends and they asked us to join them. we were on our way out.....but boy it looked good.

As if all this wasn't enough, innkeepers Raymond and Laura make you feel as if you are old friends visiting for the weekend. Being in their presence makes you feel as if you have known them for years. They enjoy people, enjoy engaging their guests in conversation and love to share their knowledge of Washington and all it has to offer.

It is going to be hard to stay anywhere else when we come to town.



RATES: Varies by season. From $175 lowest to $280 highest. A steal at any price.



To make your travel plans you can go to our Weekend Planner for all the contact information.

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Eldon Luxury Suites
933 L Street
EXCELLENT

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Once in a while a hotel value comes along that we can’t wait to tell you about it. Such is the case of The Eldon Luxury Suites in Washington, DC. The restored circa 1923 building is ideally located in the heart of the District, just a block from the Convention Center, close to Chinatown, steps from a Metro station and within walking distance to Lafayette Park, The White House and other attractions.

The hotel is in a neighborhood in transition. In fact, it stands as a rose among thorns (buildings waiting to be torn down). Rest assured, however, that it is a safe area….even at night, so don’t be dissuaded by its location. Marriott has bought up all the surrounding property with a planned Marquis scheduled for completion in a few years. This area will be booming then with accompanying rates.

In the meantime, you can enjoy this little gem at unbelievable rates, making it ideal for traveling with family or friends. Spacious one, two and three bedroom suites are available at prices beginning under $200. Yes, you read that right! Now is the time for a trip to the nation’s capital with your family.

Suites range in size from 600 sq. feet to 1500 sq. feet and are decorated with amber-hued custom Birchwood walls, cabinets and millwork, with custom furnishings and polished granite floors and countertops. Original artwork splashes color across a neutral palette and each of the 50 suites is equipped with a full kitchen with stainless appliances and a breakfast bar. The spacious living room features large windows, recessed lighting and a 32” high def flat screen TV. Bedrooms, also large, have queen beds covered  with luxury linens, a down comforter and down pillows. Granite bathrooms offer multi-jet glass showers and thick, plush towels.

Other amenities include wireless Internet, valet parking, a complimentary Continental breakfast and a roof-top fitness room. The staff is friendly and helpful. We asked for directions and got a print-out with walking directions.

This may be the bargain of the year. Truly a 4 star property with 2 star pricing….for now. Don’t miss this opportunity to enjoy Washington and save your money for a good meal!



RATES:  $174-$574 mid-week. Weekend rates from $104 through March 2010.



To make your travel plans you can go to our Weekend Planner for all the contact information.

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