A destination unto itself, this luxurious, eccentric, maze-like hotel/museum/events center is one of those places you have to see to believe. Established in the Dupont Circle neighborhood in 1980, the ensemble of four Victorian row houses comprises more than 100 creatively themed rooms (connected by secret doors and Escher-like staircases) on four floors. Nearly every space is crammed with artifacts, fine art, books, and yard sale finds (most of which are for sale, some quite collectible). Thanks to its über-privacy, the Mansion is popular among the jet set, politicians, CEOs, rockers; even Rosa Parks stayed here. Long-term stays are welcome.
The O Mansion also offers concerts, brunches, lunches, dinners, and special events (including their popular Tea), all of which must be booked online. The mansion is open to the public on Sunday, Monday, and holidays, when self-guided tours are available.
Imagination reigns in the quirky assortment of rooms and suites—with luxury being the common trait (the sheets are Natori, for example). Just pick your mood: Safari, log cabin, French Renaissance, Mrs. Rosa Parks, Lennon, Graceland, Speakeasy, and James Bond--and that’s just for starters! Not to mention, with more than 30,000 books at your disposal and Gibson guitars to play, you'll never be bored.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Because of the rambling nature of the many hallways and staircases, some of the rooms are quite dark.
Even though guest rooms and suites might be a compilation of several rooms, every accommodation has its own private bathroom. And each one is as unique and individual as the rest of the house, with jacuzzis and steam showers available. The Gilchrist & Soames bath and body products are indulgent.
Of course, in an eccentric place like this, there is no official lobby. But you will be well taken care of when you arrive. Just be sure to remember the way back from your room … it’s easy to get lost in this place.
Only private dining for groups is available. You can also take a breakfast tour, which includes a continental breakfast and tour of the house.
The Mansion is located just south of Dupont Circle, meaning you have more than 25 resaurant options within a one-block radius of the mansion—and many more beyond that. Dupont Circle’s offerings include the fabulous Phillips Collection, just on the other side of the circle from the Mansion. The Dupont Circle Metro station is a short, easy walk, with the White House and the National Mall a couple stops away.
CIRCA (8-minute walk) is a trendy and fun neighborhood bistro, with New American cuisine, a buzzing patio and popular Happy Hours. Bistrot du Coin (8-minute walk) is a bustling Dupont staple for classic French bistro fare: buckets of mussels, onion soup, and, of course, steak frites. Julia’s Empanadas (8-minute walk) is a walk-in empanada joint serves up the best meat pies around.
Eighteenth Street Lounge (8-minute walk) is a bar occupying a rambling Victorian town house with different floors offering a different vibe: speakeasy with plush chairs and couches; sports pub; and breezy rooftop patio bar. The dance floors are popular. At Tabard Inn (9-minute walk), enjoy a specialty cocktail in the cozy parlor of this historic town house (it’s also a primo restaurant and hotel).
WHY WE LIKE IT
We love the surprise nature of this hotel, the sense of wonder it offers in its jam-packed, flea-market-like, creatively designed rooms. You never know what you’re going to discover—whether it’s John Lennon’s guitar, original sculpture by Frederick art, a signed Lord of the Rings film script, or a wooden hot tub. It’s been described as part Alice in Wonderland, part Downton Abbey, and that’s exactly what it feels like--this is not your typical hotel. And yet, despite its eccentric nature, you’re guaranteed all the luxuries and comforts of a first-rate hotel. And all the privacy and anonymity anyone could ever want.