Travel

Bed, Bellman and Beyond The Best in Hotels in Washington

  • The Delta Shuttle Sheet
  • -
  • October, 2002

by Karen Feld

lincoln

The “best” is such a subjective concept. And yet The Sheet has never shrunk from pursuing and
then identifying what’s best in our three Shuttle cities. This time out, it’s the very best in hotels, defined by the categories you’d expect and some you probably wouldn’t. For example, do we really think that Washington Editor Karen Feld makes hotel reservations based upon the availability of goldfish in her hotel room? (You’ll have to ask her.)

And while it’s an appealing notion to think of all these “bests” gathered in one composite hostelry, we’re glad they aren’t. The choices are too much fun to debate.

Hotels are such a large subject that we’re going with the “in partes tres” approach and starting with the nation’s capital.

  • BEST BALLROOM Guests feel like Cinderella in the glamorous Grand Ballroom, with its elaborate chandeliers and side balconies, at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel. (1127 Connecticut Avenue NW, 202-347-3000;
    www.renaissancehotels.com/wassh
    )
  • BEST BAR The Blue Bar at The Henley Park Hotel offers a respite after a day of high pressure meetings. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a jazz pianist on weekdays, and live jazz on weekends. (926 Massachusetts Avenue NW, 202-638-5200;

    www.henleypark.com
    )

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  • BEST BATHROOMS Relax in a large soaking tub with top-of-the-line Roger & Gallet French bath products in the marble bathroom, which also has a separate shower, at the Sofitel Lafayette Square. (806 15th Street NW, 202-730-8800;

    www.sofitel.com
    )
  • BEST BELLMAN Repeat guests know Willie Swinson, who’s been at the door of the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel for 50 years. He greets guests by name and abides by his motto, “The guest is always right.” (2660 Woodley Road NW, 202-328-2000;

    www.wardmanpark.com
    )
  • BEST BRUNCH Sunday champagne brunch in The Colonnade at the Monarch Hotel features a
    not-to-be-missed 18-foot dessert buffet. (2401 M Street NW, 202-429-2400;

    www.monarchdc.com
    )

bellhop

  • BEST FAÇADE The exterior of the Tudor-style Henley Park Hotel is decorated with 118 gargoyles, believed to ward off evil and ensure protection of its guests. (926 Massachusetts Avenue NW, 202-638-5200;

    www.henleypark.com
    )
  • BEST BUSINESS CENTER The JW Marriott Hotel has a complete business center with secretarial services and help in any pre-presentation crunch. (1331 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, 202-393-2000;

    www.marriott.com
    )
  • BEST BED Many celebrities and heads of state, including Tony Blair, have settled into the comfy beds at the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown. (2800 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, 202-342-0444;

    www.fourseasons.com/washington
    )
  • BEST CONCIERGE The Hay-Adams Hotel’s concierge Jack Nargil can fill usual requests-getting coveted White House tour tickets-and unusual ones, helping find everything from sandals to horse feed. (One Lafayette Square, 202-638-6600;

    www.hayadams.com
    )
  • BEST POWER BREAKFAST The historic Willard Room in the Willard Inter-Continental Washington, two blocks from the White House, is where power brokers do deals over breakfast. (1401 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, 202-637-7440;

    washington.interconti.com
    )
  • BEST DINNER The restaurant Maestro at The Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner offers authentic Italian cuisine and a wide selection of wines from the cellar, with impeccable service. (1700 Tysons Boulevard, McLean, Virginia; 703-917-5498;

    www.ritzcarlton.com/hotels/tysons_corner
    )
  • BEST FAMOUS ROOMS FDR wrote his historic inaugural speech (which included the admonition “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” ) in Room 776 of The Renaissance Mayflower. Monica Lewinsky lodged in Room 860 and was deposed in the Presidential Suite by the Senate Judiciary Committee for President Clinton’s impeachment trial. (1127 Connecticut Avenue NW, 202-347-3000;

    www.renaissancehotels.com
    )
  • BEST HEALTH CLUB The Sports Club/LA at The Ritz-Carlton is a 100,000-square-foot fitness center with weight equipment for a serious workout, as well as more than 40 sports options to exercise every part of the body, mind and spirit. The Bush twins have been spotted working out here. (Hotel: 1150 22nd Street NW, 202-835-0500;

    www.ritzcarlton.com/hotels/washington_dc

Club: 1170 22nd Street NW, 202-974-6600;

www.thesportsclubla.com
)

  • BEST ENERGY The Hotel George is a classy, funky boutique hotel on Capitol Hill. Perhaps that’s why it attracts guests like Michael Jordan and Della Reese, and a host of politicians. (15 E Street NW, 202-347-4200;

    www.hotelgeorge.com
    )
  • BEST GUEST ROOMS The Monarch Hotel has bright, sunny, spacious rooms with sophisticated furnishings that stress comfort. Each lounge chair, for instance, has a floor lamp and ottoman. (2401 M Street NW, 202-429-2400;

    www.monarchdc.com
    )
  • BEST HIDEAWAY Nothing beats the eclectic Mansion on O and its discreet staff for privacy. (2020 O Street NW, 202-496-2000;

    www.omansion.com
    )
  • BEST HISTORY Swissôtel Washington-The Watergate: Need we say more? This year is the 30th anniversary of the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters, the event that brought down a president. (2650 Virginia Avenue NW, 202-965-2300;

    www.swissotel.com
    )
  • BEST LOBBY The look of the new Sofitel Lafayette Square juxtaposes Washington and Paris, combining historic late 1920s Art Moderne architecture with a modern French design. (806 15th Street NW, 202-730-8800;

    www.sofitel.com
    )
  • BEST SERVICE The Four Seasons Hotel lives up to its reputation and delivers uncompromisingly personalized service in its day spa and fitness center, dining rooms and oh-so-luxurious guest rooms. (2800 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, 202-944-2074;

    www.fourseasons.com/washington
    )
  • BEST LUXURY SUITES The Park Hyatt Washington, a jewel in Washington’s West End, is a favorite of actors Tom Hanks and Sidney Poitier. Each of its 131 suites has a separate bedroom and parlor, contemporary art and décor, and extra goodies like in-room fax machines. (1201 24th Street NW, 202-789-1234;

    parkwashington.hyatt.com
    )
  • BEST MENU Chef Gian Piero Mazzi at the Elysium dining room in the Morrison House is a walking menu: He comes to your table personally and recounts what fresh ingredients he’s picked up that day; then he returns to the kitchen to prepare a creative, tailor-made meal. (116 South Alfred Street, Alexandria, Virginia; 703-838-8000;

    www.morrisonhouse.com
    )
  • BEST SECURE PRESIDENTIAL ACCESS The Hilton Washington and Towers built a secure presidential motor entrance and elevator after President Reagan’s assassination attempt so that our head of state can more safely attend events at the hotel. (1919 Connecticut Avenue NW, 202-483-3000;

    www.washington-hilton.com
    )
  • BEST PRESIDENTIAL SUITE The Willard Inter-Continental Washington’s 3,000-square-foot presidential suite has a magnificent view down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol. (1401 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, 202-628-9100;

    www.washington.interconti.com
    )

fish

  • BEST FOR PETS At the Hotel Monaco, the newest of the Kimpton Group’s D.C. properties, pets are welcome and pampered with gourmet treats and special care. Solo guests need never feel lonely, since in-room companion goldfish are available. (700 F Street NW, 202-628-7177;

    www.monaco-dc.com
    )
  • BEST ROOFTOP RESTAURANT The Hotel Washington’s Sky Terrace has alfresco dining with views of the Mall and monuments, making it an ideal spot for a nightcap. For less seasonable nights, the Two Continents Restaurant has similar views from indoors. (Pennsylvania Avenue NW at 15th Street NW, 202-638-5900;

    www.hotelwashington.com
    )
  • BEST KID-FRIENDLY Loews L’Enfant Plaza Hotel has a Generation G package designed for children traveling with their grandparents. It’s conveniently situated between the Mall, museums and the Capitol. (480 L’Enfant Plaza SW, 202-484-1000;

    www.loewshotels.com/hotels/washington_lenfant
    )

Karen Feld, The Shuttle Sheet’s Washington editor, considers her townhouse in Georgetown the best.

-K.F.

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