Everyone wants to be close to clients for quick travel across downtown DC, but I've been trending toward a few hotels - both downtown and on the edges - that stand out for personalized service, often offer more spacious rooms, are usually quieter and still afford easy access to anywhere in the nation's capital. Here's why I recommend The River Inn, Sofitel at Lafayette Square and Ritz Carlton Pentagon City...
The River Inn is a longtime stalwart in the Foggy Bottom part of DC, now renovated as a European-style all-suite "luxury boutique hotel." Having been a habitue over the years of the hotel, for all these reasons, along with the comparable price and the quiet townhouse-filled neighborhood, I'd consider it a competitive choice to better-known properties like The Ritz Carlton locations.
I've moved in and out of Washington, DC at least a half dozen times over the past 30-some years, so it's more "home" than anywhere else. But what I keep experiencing when I return now on visits is that old adage, "you can't go home again." What happens when we leave and come back to favorite places? Our remembrances of the old days lock in time -- and the new experience can be terribly irritating. Let's face it, in the grip of our memories, we hate change! And then I found a favorite old haunt had not changed at all -- the restaurant, Vietnam Georgetown (read on). First I have to grouse a little about how DC has changed. To wit -- traffic: Washington is gridlock. The city has grown three or maybe six times since it took off and decided to be more than a government town in the...
Explosive growth and congestion means that getting around Washington, DC is more difficult than ever, especially if you're a business travel focusing on efficiency. Here are some ways to maneuver through the scene, including hotel choices.
Another good hotel move. A new Westin hotel will be located in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, a DC suburb that has plenty of class but needs more options in the business hotel variety. In fact, we could use some more Starwood hotels in the DC area in general.
Add more film crews to the traffic obstacles of getting around DC, as more permanent street barriers go up and the White House is less and less accessible. In July, Michael Douglas and Kim Basinger will start filming a new movie, while the Pentagon will be the locus of one of three new TV shows centered in the District this fall. Filmmakers still love the elegant dark-paneled Hay-Adams Hotel, where presidents, heads of state, actors, and other notables have temporarily lived and retreated. Its charm and cache are fashionably discreet, but with the best view of the increasingly distant White House for filmmakers' cameras, it will always hold its own.
In the nation's capital, where pressure and intensity accompany the everyday bravura of self-importance, I prefer to hold my business dinners in a more relaxed setting. Although this doesn't work in all cases, with certain colleagues we accomplish plenty by slowing down for a couple of hours, hearing ourselves without shouting and experiencing carefully prepared alternatives to predictable power-dinner menus (steaks, chops, whole fish and blah blah blah). Women particularly like this option.