With spring blooming, Washington, D.C. is on our mind–in fact, this year's National Cherry Blossom Festival is the 2012 Centennial, celebrating the 100th year anniversary of Japan's gift of 3000 cherry blossom trees to our nation's capital. But even if you don't manage to make it to DC over the next couple weeks to enjoy the festival, DC makes a great romantic or family getaway, with its moving national monuments, particularly the Vietnam Memorial and Lincoln Memorial, and the enthralling exhibits at the National Gallery, Air and Space Museum, Museum of Natural History, and more on the National Mall. After a busy and thrilling day, what better than to relax poolside or unwind with a glass of wine? Here are our top TravelSort DC hotels
With its very understated and muted beige minimalist decor, the Park Hyatt is far from showy, but is all about guest comfort. Even standard Park Deluxe King Rooms are spacious at over 400 square feet and feature plush pillowtop beds, HDTV, and marble bath with a deep soaking tub. Complimentary sedan service (upon availability) whisks you off to the museums, or you can take advantage of the hotel's bicycle valet program to take in the sights at a more leisurely pace. After a busy day, enjoy a refreshing dip in the sky lit indoor pool and soak tired muscles in the whirlpool. Don't miss one of DC's finest restaurants, the award-winning Blue Duck Tavern, which features dishes such as Roasted Denver Leg of Venison, Asian Pear, Cherry Jus and Braised Bison Shank with Cocoa Nibs and Stout.
2. Four Seasons Washington DC
If you've stayed in Four Seasons resorts in exotic locales, don't expect quite the same feeling at the Four Seasons Washington DC. It's still one of the best luxury options in DC, however, especially if you want to stay in the Georgetown area, with impeccable service as you would expect. International guests will be pleased with the multilingual staff (33 languages are spoken), fitness buffs will enjoy the well-equipped fitness center and lap pool, or even a run nearby (the concierge can provide running maps). If a massage is more your style, the spa provides some of the best in the city. Deluxe Rooms are good sized although not the largest in the city at 385 square feet, and come with a plush Four Seasons King bed, HDTV, CD/DVD player, and limestone bath with deep soaking tub and separate glass enclosed shower.
The Four Seasons is also one of the best luxury options for families. In addition to standard amenities such as crib, playpen and items to childproof rooms, small guests are provided their own child-size bathrobe, coloring book, board games to use during their stay, and a special welcome treat–perhaps a stuffed animal, or brownie dessert with their name on it.
The Mandarin Oriental flies under the radar a bit, perhaps because its location near the Tidal Basin is neither a neighborhood, such as Georgetown and the Dupont Circle Area, and there are practically no food or shopping options in the immediate area. That said, it's ideally situated to enjoy the cherry blossoms, and enjoys some of the best views of any luxury DC hotel. Deluxe Rooms vary in size from 395-558 square feet (the larger ones have an entrance hall and separate dressing area with mirror) and come with either a King bed or two Double beds. The large marble bathroom is a highlight, with its deep soaking bath and separate glass enclosed shower. Many even have a stunning view of the Washington Monument.
For a splurge, treat yourself to a Tai Pan Club Room, which grants you access to the Tai Pan Club Lounge, with its cozy fireplace, private concierge, and complimentary breakfast, snacks throughout the day and evening cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. The Mandarin is also the hotel of choice for spa aficionados, with its vitality pools, experience showers, steam rooms, zen relaxation rooms, heated indoor pool and eight treatment rooms for massages and body treatments.
If you prefer atmospheric hotels with a real history and sense of place, look to the St. Regis. It's just 2 blocks from the White House, and has the distinction of having had every American President as its guest. First opened in 1925 as the Carlton Hotel and a long-time favorite for Washington socialites and celebrities such as Audrey Hepburn, Jacqueline Onassis and Cher, it was the first hotel to share the St. Regis name with the flagship New York hotel. Rooms are uniquely appointed, and feature plush St. Regis beds with Italian Pratesi linens, Bose iPod dock, Remede bath amenities and LCD TV in both the room and the bathroom. Don't miss the 6pm nightly champagne ritual in the lobby, involving a xylophone, a sword, and a chilled bottle of champagne (don't worry, only the champagne is decapitated).
Not to worry if you want a good sized room in a centrally located, boutique hotel but don't want to pay more than about $200 for it–Hotel Rouge, a Kimpton hotel, delivers the goods, with its location just blocks from Dupont Circle and from the White House, a funky red decor, and animal print bathrobes to boot. Perks include free WiFi (just join Kimpton InTouch, which is free), nightly complimentary wine hour and morning coffee and tea, and comfy standard deluxe rooms that are 450 square feet to stretch out in or accommodate your family. Contact us to book at TravelSort Member rates.
Hotel Palomar, another Kimpton hotel, is a favorite choice for those who want a boutique hotel in the Dupont area that also has a heated outdoor pool and sundeck (seasonally open: Memorial Day through September 29). As with Hotel Rouge and other Kimpton hotels, guests enjoy free WiFi after joining Kimpton InTouch, a complimentary nightly wine hour, and the option to bring their pets free of charge. Standard Deluxe Rooms are much smaller than at Hotel Rouge, at only 280 square feet, so it's best to book an Executive King/Two Queen Room (500 square feet), or splurge on a Spa King Room, with 570 square feet of space and a great Italian marble bathroom that features a Fuji soaking tub for two and separate shower. Contact us to book at TravelSort Member rates.
While far from the most fashionable DC luxury hotel (some would even say staid), the Fairmont offers very comfortable standard Fairmont Rooms that are spacious at 400 square feet, with Italian marble bathroom, flat screen TV. The Foggy Bottom location is decent, although you're unlikely to find much in the immediate area unless you're there during the week on business. Georgetown is a 10-15 minute walk, Dupont Circle 15-20 minutes, or walk 5 minutes to the Foggy Bottom Metro stop to get anywhere in DC.
The Fairmont does have a fantastic health club, probably one of DC's best with top of the line equipment, separate spinning room, basketball, raquetball and squash courts, studios for yoga, pilates and aerobics classes, etc.-that's the good news. The bad news is that hotel guests have to pay $15 to use these facilities. The pool, however, is free.
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