20037 Travel Guide
Fantasy Friday / Ritz-Carlton Hotels / Washington D.C. Hotels / Luxury Hotels / Presidential Suites / Inauguration Hotels / POTUS Hotels / Political Hotels / → All Tags
This package is for all of you political animals out there or for those of you who may have just a wee crush on President Obama. And trust us, that goes for males and females; we hear all the sighs of jealousy when it comes to photos of him and FLOTUS.
So, it's just at the right daydreamy Friday moment that we're thinking about Ritz-Carlton, Washington's full backstage pass, so to speak, to some of the Inauguration events happening in D.C.
We hope you’re ready, ‘cause this package has lots of perks:
Ever since the landmark closed to undergo a dramatic renovation, news from the hotel has been pretty light — er, at least because we haven’t been willing to tiptoe around the place with flashlights. Back in 2007, word was that the place would start accepting guests in late 2009. But last month the hotel received a notice of foreclosure after owning company Monument Realty defaulted on its loan. The Post reports that the notice lists an outstanding $40 million balance on the loan. Whoops?
Monument fell victim to terrible timing, it seems: Fallen giant Lehman Brothers was a partner and equity investor in the property. The developer was tied up in a legal battle with neighbors over its “initial plans to turn the hotel into luxury co-ops,” explains the Post. And, well, this economy sucks, as you may have noticed.
Watergate devotees — and residents — hope the auction will mean a new owner might “revive plans to restore the hotel.” The winning bidder will have to place $1 million on the property. We’ll keep you posted on what we hear.
Bees at the Fairmont Royal York, 2008.
Last summer, we kind of got the heebies when we learned that the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto had purposely put 40,000 honeybees up on their rooftop to harvest their own honey in an effort to "enhance the hotel's culinary program." And now the Fairmont Washington D.C. has stuck three honey beehives up on its roof with the same goal, boasting a bee population totaling about 105,000 bees.
Each hive has a queen and 33,000 worker bees:
They travel up to three miles away from their rooftop home foraging for food, and always return to their respective hives. Nearby Rock Creek Park offers trees and plants with the essential nectar they must gather for their work.
Apparently, the Executive Sous Chef and Executive Pastry Chef will each take turns acting as Chief Bee Keeper, with a goal of retrieving somewhere around 300 pounds of honey within the year (um, betchya didn't sign up for this when you scored this job after culinary school, huh?) Even bee-haters can enjoy something, though: the honey harvested will be used in in recipes served in the hotel's restaurant Juniper.
[Photo: Norm Betts / Reuters]
In these oh-so-shaky economic times, you’ve got to feel sorry for graduating college seniors. And when you consider the fates of art students — you know, those creative kids who have pretty much always looked forward to uncertain job prospects — things might seem particularly dire.
In Washington DC, the Renaissance M Street Hotel is doing its part to skip the pity party and celebrate the accomplishments of local aspiring artists. A new exhibit showcases the works of contemporary art works from graduating seniors of DC’s Corcoran College of Art + Design. The artworks will change quarterly, each time featuring 8 to 12 student works in the hotel’s M Bar lobby lounge and restaurant with the goal of introducing guests to “a new generation of modern American artists.”
By most accounts, DC has more than its share of ugliness, from political jockeying to dilapidated neighborhoods. But for two weeks each spring, all is temporarily forgotten as the city transforms into a bumbling wonderland of cherry blossoms.
For those considering a springtime getaway, consider staying at the Park Hyatt Washington. The hotel’s Spring Blossom Package includes a room upgrade, pot of Cherry Blossom Green Tea from the hotel’s Tea Cellar, choice of valet parking or breakfast, and a kiddie backpack filled with sightseeing supplies and gifts. Rates start at $329 and are available through April 26.
After seeing demolition at the site of the 1 Hotel Washington DC and with Starwood Capital combining the 1 Hotel and Baccarat Hotel brands into their newly formed SH Group, we know that plans to build and open 1 Hotels are still alive, if not moving slowly.
And today, more news affirming the existence of 1 Hotels arrived--we found more renderings of the 1 Hotel Washington DC on the architect's website. (Yes, we know. We are nerds for caring so much.)
If drowning your recession woes in booze isn’t tickling your fancy, perhaps a chocolate buffet will do the trick. And what better place for a chocolate buffet than Chocolate City? That's right, the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C. has transformed its Lobby Lounge into what we’d like to call choco-pocalypse.
Each Friday and Saturday evenings this month and then again in February, pastry chef Jerome Giardot is whipping up a Chocolate Decadence Buffet of “candy, cakes and tarts galore,” yours for the gorging for $35 (that's for five items). More specifically, we’re talking Black Forest cake, Opera cake, white-chocolate-lemon crème brulee and Gianduja crème brulee; a selection of chocolate caramels, dark and milk chocolate bouchees, housemade truffles, warm chocolate-caramelized banana bread pudding, chocolate blinis, and more.
And…decadence doesn’t end there! (After all, how can you be expected to enjoy chocolate of such magnitude without the pairing bubbly?) Well fret not, for the Ritz is nothing if not in touch with the worries of the common man. Alas, the Champagne Flights of Fancy (an additional $38) include Moet & Chandon White Star, Moet & Chandon Rose Imperial, Moet & Chandon Nectar Imperial, and Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label.
Sure, this all might sound a bit lavish, what with a global economic crisis, blah blah. Still, we’re going to have to go Liz Lemon on this one: We want to go to there.
Even though all construction on Starwood Capital's 1 Hotel and Residences thoughout the country have been put on hold, we came across new photos and demolition activity on the site of the 1 Hotel Washington DC.
Perseus Realty, LLC, the developer of the 1 Hotel Washington DC recently posted a new rendering (above) of the hotel on their website and changed the project status to "Current Projects." Up until now, we've only seen pictures of a small corner of the hotel and it's been listed as under development since earlier this year.
Who knew Fairmont Hotels was 100 years old?
The Canadian-based luxury hotel chain celebrated its "Century of Distinction" last Tuesday, October 23 at the Fairmont Washington D.C. with a black and white themed affair that included dinner and live entertainment. The live entertainment was this woman walking around like a table! We kid of course.
An elegant and edible 10-foot tall birthday cake (behind table-woman) was created in honor of the milestone which was attended by 230 association execs.
· Fairmont Hotels [HotelChatter]
[Ed. Note: Hotel Maven Barbarab has the scoop on this infamous D.C. Hotel.]
The Watergate Hotel is closing this summer for renovations. Details - how major? how long? -- are sketchy. The hotel's website currently is not taking reservations past June 30. The front desk confirms as much by phone.
The hotel, part of the complex known round the world as the scene of the crime that brought down Richard Nixon, nearly closed for good several years ago. In 2004, D.C.-based Monumental Realty acquired the hotel and announced it was converting its 250-some rooms to 100-ish luxury condominiums. The deal fell through after current condominium residents protested.
Long a favorite with celebrities, especially artists performing at the nearby Kennedy Center, the hotel has been languishing in a scandal-cachet funk. Décor has relied on a mix of Georgian-inspired furniture in some rooms, cleaner, more contemporary lines in others. Upscale and sumptuous but not hip, the play-it-safe sensibility fit Washington to a T.
The focus of the room is on the open kitchen with its wood-burning oven. Executive chef Brian McBride puts it to good use, cooking up comfort food-ish cuisine that celebrates American farmers. (It is the capital after all.)
As for the menu, Conde Nast loved the duck au jus and the beet salad with goat cheese. We'd be a little more apt to tuck in to the braised lamb shank with a side of fava beans and morel mushrooms. But we all agree nothing's more American than the apple pie.
[Photo of Pecan Pie Ice Cream: flora and flying's photos]
[Ed. Note: Welcome to our Good Rate/Bad Rate feature where we look at hotel prices in the same city and decide which one most deserves your hard-earned benjamins. Rates quotes here were captured April 9, 2007 and are subject to change. Enjoy.]<
Al Gore is getting almost as much press as the people who are running for president and green is starting to look like the new gold. Something tells us this year's April 22 Earth Day event in Washington D.C. is going to be even more of a media event than usual.
If you still don't have a hotel, we'd recommend this week's Good Rate, the Hotel Palomar in Dupont Circle with the dancing doormen. Expedia is running a $184 per night deal for April 21 and 22, including an option with two queen beds. So you can save electricity by sneaking four bodies in the room (not that we'd condone that of course), maybe even showering together for good measure. You only get two bathrobes though--in leopard and tiger prints.
It's a Kimpton Hotel, so after marching at Earth Day, you can watch for yourself on the news on your 42-inch flat-screen TV and blog about your experiences using the free Wi-Fi. Just do us a favor and don't buy any $4 plastic bottles of water from the "gourmet honor bar" to carry to your Earth Day celebration, okay? D.C. may be scummy in more ways than one, but you can fill up your Nalgene bottle and drink the tap water there, we promise.
· Bad Rate:: A Lot of Green on Earth Day at J.W. Marriott D.C. [HotelChatter]