Harmony comes to mind upon entering this sparkling historic boutique inn surrounded by blooming trees and shrubs in the heart of DC. Originally occupying two townhouses dating from 1864, it emerged from a $14 million expansion in 2013 (which incorporated a Chinese church) as an eclectic combo that beautifully interweaves Victorian traditional with Asian modernism. That is, gleaming Italian marble floors and wrought-iron ceiling medallions coexist with a Chinese Chippendale porch and Shanghai roof. Interesting. And beautiful.
You have your choice of contemporary or Victorian style. Either way, each room features warm, rich colors, armoires, and desks, Frette linens, and some have marble fireplaces and private balconies.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The courtyard rooms tend to be noisier than the interior rooms.
The bathroom sizes are a little hit-or-miss, due to the hotel’s historic layout. You'll feel pampered with the bathrobes and Bath and Body Works amenities.
The two-story lobby occupies the sanctuary of a former Chinese church, one of the buildings incorporated into the hotel’s design. It gleams with warm woods and lustrous furniture, and red-tasseled chandeliers add punches of color. Ceramic kimonos by a local artist hang from behind the reception desk.
In-room spa treatments include massage, manicures, and pedicures.
The small fitness center suffices in a pinch.
The Morrison-Clark Inn Restaurant has won awards for its contemporary American cuisine with regional accents in an elegant setting: Italian marble fireplaces, gilded mirrors and floor-to-ceiling windows.
The courtyard and veranda porch are the places you want to be when the weather is fine.
The cozy Lobby Bar & Lounge offers craft cocktails, exceptional wines, and creative small bites.
The Morrison-Clark is conveniently located near the Washington Convention Center. You’re also near the bustling Penn Quarter neighborhood, full of restaurants and bars (as well as the excellent Smithsonian American Art Museum and Portrait Gallery). That said, the National Mall and all of its monuments and museums are just a few Metro stops away. The Metro Center station is a 5-minute walk. Another transportation option is the DC Circulator, a bus service that runs along K Street (2 minutes from the hotel) for $1 per person.
Chef Mike Isabella’s ambitious Arroz (2-minute walk) is his latest restaurant foray, with contemporary interpretations on Spanish and Moroccan dishes (including snack carts that are rolled around the dining room); save room for dessert. The Michelin-starred Dabney (3-minute walk), by Jeremiah Langhorne, revives mid-Atlantic cooking in a former row house near the Convention Center.
Maddy’s Tap Room (4-minute walk) is a cozy space with an endless supply of craft beers on tap. Brasserie Beck (2-minute walk) is Robert Wiedmaier’s Belgian-style brasserie with more than 100 beers on offer; the mussels are a local favorite.
WHY WE LIKE IT
We’ve known the Morrison-Clark through the years, and we love its recent transformation from a rather fussy Victorian-style property to one that still retains its historic charm, but sparkles with modern flair. Surrounded by blooming flora, it’s airy and bright, providing a true urban retreat. Its location near some of DC's latest up-and-coming restaurants is a plus.