The newly 27-million-dollar-renovated property in the West End neighborhood has taken on a D.C. glamour look, with its expansive entrance lobby and lounge area shiny with golds, silvers, and grays playing off the polished marble. Highlights include complimentary access to a full-on gym, the inviting garden courtyard with fire pits, and original D.C.-inspired art commissioned specially for the hotel. Mostly a convention and business property, it’s beginning to stretch its purview with family programming (and tons of weddings).
YOU SHOULD KNOW The restaurant is under renovation through mid-2018, with promises to emerge as a fine-dining destination. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will still be available, served in the Loggia lounge.
Decorated in a modern classic, somewhat eclectic style, with a palette of relaxing grays and blues punched up with purple and red accents, the recently renovated rooms are fresh and clean. A chaise lounge replaces a desk chair, and the table works as both a work and dining space. Special touches include built-in nightlights in the headboards, Keurig coffeemakers and teapot, and hints of D.C. (an artsy strip of presidential signatures over the bed, a reimagined, monochromatic flag, a pop-art depiction of a quarter, etc.). The exclusive Gold Floor has an exclusive lounge, private concierge, breakfast buffet, all-day snacks, and evening cocktails. All rooms have been updated with an abundance of power outlets and USB ports.
The courtyard rooms are quieter. If you want a balcony, be sure to request one, since all rooms don’t have them. Also, join the Presidents Club for free and get benefits at any Fairmont property including free WiFi.
For a luxury hotel, the bathrooms feel small and standard hotel issue (except for the suites, of course). Highlights include marble floors, tub/shower combos (the Gold Floor rooms have stand-up showers), and luxurious La Labo bath products.
The large, contemporary lobby, with its mix of marble and metallics, reaches out and grabs you the second you walk through the front door. Straight ahead is the well-designed, contemporary bar and lounge area, with plenty of places to sit, sip a specialty cocktail, or just hang out; the bar itself curves beneath a TV screen. The Loggia lounge, just beyond that, is a relaxing place for an evening cocktail; a pianist provides live music in the evenings. And beyond that is the courtyard’s lovely garden space, with more tables and chairs. The reception desk is to the left of the entrance, down the marble hallway. Everywhere are subtle hints of D.C., from the custom-made rug at the entrance with a woven aerial view of the city and river; to the metallic geometric shapes dangling from the lounge’s double-height ceiling to represent a skyline; to the somewhat abstract, tiled map of D.C. behind the reception desk. With an advertised happy hour, small bites (like lobster grilled cheese), and specialty drinks, this lobby is a D.C. destination not only for guests but for neighborhood office workers as well.
Afternoon tea is offered Friday through Sunday with a contemporary twist on the traditional: the goodies are served in a Bento box.
The saltwater pool is indoors, but skylights keep it bright and airy; there’s also an adjacent hot tub.
The hotel has an agreement with 16,0000-square-foot Balance Gym, located within the same building, that allows guests to use the gym free of charge; this is an amazing perk, because the full-size gym has a separate weight room, cardio equipment, and a full schedule of classes (including yoga, spin and zumba).
The current hotel restaurant is under renovation through mid-September 2018.
The Fairmont is located in the West End, a quiet neighborhood of office buildings and other luxury hotels, with Georgetown’s bustling shops and restaurants within a couple blocks. The White House and major monuments and museums are a long (but nice) walk away, or it’s easy enough to grab a cab. Valet parking is your only option; if you can leave your car behind, all the better. The Metro is your best bet for public transportation; the nearest station is Foggy Bottom, an easy eight-minute walk.
The Michelin-starred Blue Duck Tavern, across the street, is famed for its fresh, seasonal American fare (and the best apple pie around). Rasika (5-minute walk) serves Indian food that people are talking about.
Quadrant at the Ritz-Carlton West End (5-minute walk) is a mixology experience, where classic and original culinary cocktails derive from the kitchen--meaning, everything is made from scratch. Also acclaimed is the Rye Bar at the Melrose in Georgetown (14-minute walk), where rare rye whiskeys and hand-crafted cocktails are served in a dark and intimate space overlooking the historic canal.
WHY WE LIKE IT
In a neighborhood of office buildings and other luxury hotels, the Fairmont is a refined refuge in the middle of the city. Its beautiful courtyard is unexpected in such an office-dense neighborhood, complete with an ice skating rink in winter, blooming flowers in summer. The bar and lounge are inviting and comfortable. The staff is gracious and friendly, offering impeccable service. The original, D.C.-inspired artwork is stunning, with each piece deserving a close look.