Washington, D.C.—a city with distinct character filled with history and politics, museums and monuments, universities and institutions, along with a diverse mix of government, foreign emissaries, lobbyists, protestors and petitioners. We visit D.C. for many different reasons and when we do, the choices of where to stay are plentiful. Few of us realize that where we choose to stay while visiting a location determines much about our experience. The location and buzz of an area provide insight and perspective into the culture and flavors of a city.
On my recent journey to our nation’s capital, the Dupont Circle locale was my base. Once the home of socialites and the former center of D.C. society, this vibrant historical area is now the setting for embassies, galleries and shops, but continues to hold a combination of all the charm, intrigue and grandeur from a time past. One of the most famous residents was Alice Roosevelt—the wildest of the Teddy Roosevelt clan. She was sometimes referred to as the “Duchess of Dupont Circle” and the “Second Washington Monument.”
The Embassy Row Hotel in Dupont Circle, an area that’s a multicultural mix of hustle and bustle, proved to be the perfect locale, making me feel less like a tourist and more like a resident. As a former haunt of celebrities and luminaries from the Rockefellers to Denzel Washington, this gem of a hotel recently finished a $15 million renovation, redesigning itself to become a lifestyle hotel. This new trendsetting philosophy combines a fabulous site for touring or relaxing, and offers one of the city’s only rooftop lounging areas. The rooftop includes a seasonal grill and bar surrounding a heated swimming pool, not to mention stunning views. This urban resort concept allows visitors to immerse themselves into the rhythm of D.C. life and the city’s diverse culture—a bit like an upscale neighborhood gathering place.
On your next visit to D.C., make sure to remember Alice’s famous quote, “If you haven’t got anything good to say about anybody, come sit next to me.”
Can’t-Miss Foodie Tips and Treats:
Station Kitchen & Cocktails Embassy Row’s signature redesign combining a lifestyle-driven restaurant, bar and lobby where visitors and locals mix, creating a neighborhood environment. Sample chef Peter Kloiber’s creation of shared plates. My favorites: Korean Caveman Pops and Meatball Wellington; stationkitchendc.com.
KramerBooks & Afterwords Café & Grill This is an institution and cultural D.C. landmark—an indie bookstore with a bustling bar and café known for “serving lattes to the literati since 1976.” It’s definitely worth checking out; kramers.com.
Le Pain Quotidien This little bistro/bakery serves all-day breakfast and healthy bites until 9 p.m.—sample the chicken curry tartine; lepainquotidien.com.
Embassy Row’s Explorers Guide An off-the-beaten-path tour of locals’ favorite haunts. Choose from The Culture Fiend, The Night Owl, The Politico, The Foodie and The Thrifty Traveler; embassyrowhotel.com