Weirdly, DC was short on true boutique hotels until now. The folks behind The NoMad (reviewed here) just opened this stunning stay, housed in the renovated Christian Science Church in the happening Adams Morgan neighborhood. I lucked out with a preview price ($120!!) and checked in for a few days. It’s haute hipster with rooms sporting massive partner desks, vintage side tables, fluffy down-draped beds, and intriguing art (including a hilarious 80’s ish candid photo of all the first ladies). Marble bath, bleached oak floors, aged brass fixtures, and an alluring mini bar make for a cozy stay. A Nespresso machine is a particularly nice touch. (photo of The Line lobby and Brothers & Sisters Restaurant above).
But there’s lots more to this hotel than the room. The lobby hosts Brothers & Sisters, a popular restaurant and lounge (the locals have moved in), plus a tempting coffee shop for cafe au lait, croissants, kombucha, and heavenly looking breakfast sammies. For a birthday treat, my daughter and I headed upstairs to what is quite literally the choir loft for A Rake’s Progress, helmed by James Beard Award-winning chef, Spike Gjerde. High drama is happening here, with an open kitchen featuring a wood-fired oven and rotisserie, a chandelier crafted from the organ pipes, and a staff-to-guest ratio that appeared to be 2 to 1. A massive slab of grilled and buttered sourdough started us off, followed by more delicious gluten in the form of gougeres on our charcuterie plate. I chose the grilled trout with tender gnocchi, but it was a toss-up with the rotisserie chicken for two that swanned by my table. But let’s cut to the chase: a crazy mini croquembouche for dessert! It’s difficult to surprise a diner these days (moi), but that certainly did. A tower of teeny cream-puffs, with bits of gold and tiny pansies made for a fitting birthday cake. Brilliant. I loved it here.
The Adams Morgan neighborhood has lots of other fun stuff to offer: Ramen! Empanadas! Bottomless Mimosa Brunch! And it’s where all the twenty-somethings spend their nights out. It’s a bit out of the way from the Smithsonian museums, The Mall and Georgetown, but it’s such a fun stay it made each Uber ride (averaged about $10) worth it.
Mason & Rook
We’ve stayed at several other Kimpton hotels in DC, and they’re all reliable (love those yoga mats in the room!), but this new one in Logan Circle is the best of them. While not necessarily “boutique,” they are on the small side with sweet touches and an accommodating staff that make you feel right at home.
You’ll find largish but cozy rooms, with the requisite marble-lined baths and fluffy duvets. The lobby offers up coffee and tea in the morning, a hot chocolate bar in the afternoon, and free wine and hors-d’oeuvres in the early evening. You can take a Shinola bike out for a ride, or belly up to the Radiator Bar for craft cocktails mixed up by highly skilled bartenders. For foodies, it’s an amazing location right off 14th street, with tons of restaurants in the ‘hood, and walkable to the monuments and museums.
I always search through Tablet to see what’s available, and Tablet Plus members (worth the $99 a year if you travel a lot) get an upgrade when available (loved the giant bathtub!), late checkout, free continental breakfast, and a cocktail a day.
If you’re staying around Dupont, we like the Kimpton Palomar, too. And if you’re looking to save on meals out, the recently renovated Glover Park Hotel has some kitchenettes, a huge gym and an easy reach to Georgetown or American University.
If you’re willing to pony up the bucks, you can stay smack in the middle of Georgetown in the quiet elegance of the Graham. Lovely service (everyone remembers your name), an upgrade to a king suite, and a hidden speakeasy on the lowest level, besides access to everything Georgetown has to offer made for a lovely overnight. Check around for rates, as you’re paying for location here. Marble bath, extra large shower, and plenty of room to stretch out, plus I have to say, whoever chose the lamps did a fine job!
Looking for a boutique retreat in Georgetown? Try The Avery. Disclaimer: I have NOT stayed there yet, but I did walk by, and it’s a cute one. Well-priced, in a quiet residential neighborhood but right off M Street, it’s fresh and modern with a few family suites available.
These digs, yes on Embassy Row, near the Dupont Circle metro, have a lot going for it. Number one: you can usually get a very good rate. And the rooms are updated (sorta Palm Beach modern?), the lobby sports a fun coffee shop with lots of local treats and plenty of space to hang with your laptop. Oh, and Saturday nights feature a Silent Disco. Yes, you read write. Grab a pair of earphones and dance the night away to a duo of DJ’s. It’s very popular so reserve in advance. Rooftop pool for summer visitors and an underground playground tricked out with ping pong, foosball, and air hockey.